SOUTH AFRICA: Requirements for Travelling with Children Eased

Effective 1 December 2018, the "First Amendment of the Immigration Regulations, 2014" eases the requirements for parents and legal guardians travelling with children through South African ports of entry, which were first introduced in 2015.

Changes have also been made to the rules on spouses, work visas and residence, while many more proposed changes to the visa rules are expected to be introduced in the coming months, but were not included in this amendment.

Child travel

Where both parents are travelling with a child who is not a South African citizen, they no longer need to present the child’s birth certificate.

One parent, guardian or other person travelling with a child who is not a South African citizen, and without the other parent(s) or guardian(s), may be required by an immigration officer to produce a birth certificate, and is strongly advised to be in possession of the same documents required before this Amendment, as applicable:

  • A letter of consent from the absent parent(s) or guardian(s) of the child, or a court order granting parental responsibilities;
  • The contact details, a copy of the passport and/or a copy of the death certificate of the absent parent(s) or guardian(s), or other evidence of the reason for their absence.

Nothing has changed for a child who is a South African citizen, who must still travel with a birth certificate or passport containing details of the parent or parents of the child. The requirement of an affidavit has been dropped, but a letter of consent is still required when travelling alone or with one parent only.

Life partnerships

Applicants in a permanent relationship may now be interviewed when submitting their visa. (Previously the regulations stated that they “must” be interviewed). The legislator is following the current practice of the administration.

Work visa

The amended regulations replace the previous Department of Labor certificate recommending a work visa application with a letter issued to the prospective employer, again in line with current practice. The employer thus knows if the Ministry of Labor’s recommendation is positive or negative before submitting the work visa application.

Residence based on a South African relative

The amendments also seem to allow a minor child who is a South African citizen to be considered willing to support and maintain a foreign parent applying for a visa, where previously it was considered that they couldn’t be legally willing.

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected by these changes are encouraged to consult their Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to South Africa, please email us at enquiries@newlandchase.com