On Monday the 1st of June 2015 the new South African visa laws kicked into full effect. The controversial new rules are the latest government efforts to reduce child trafficking. However, many people in the tourism industry fear that the strict policies will have a negative effect on South Africa’s tourism industry.
If you are planning a trip to or from South Africa, here is all you need to know about the new visa laws.
- Foreigner who want to visit South Africa need to apply for visas in person at the South African embassies abroad. The visa applicant must also have their fingerprints captured.
- Children under the age of 18 must carry an unabridged birth certificate indicating the names of both parents.
- South African children traveling abroad need to carry an original birth certificate.
- If both parents are not traveling with the child, more documents are needed to enter the country. When only one parent is traveling with the child the other parent need to provide a copy of their identity document or passport and an affidavit giving consent to the child traveling with the other parent.
- In the case of divorced parents, legislature is not clear on what documentation needs to be provided. Attorneys advise parents in these cases to carry a certified copy of the divorce certificate along with the affidavit of consent and the copy of the other parent’s identity document.
- In cases where one parent has refused to give consent, a court order will be required by the other parent.
- If one of the parents has died, a certified copy of the death certificate will need to be provided.
- When the father of the child is unknown, the mother will need to an affidavit to show that she is the sole guardian of the child.
- When traveling without his or her parents, a child needs to have an affidavit from the parents confirming that they have given the child consent to travel without them as well as copies of the parents’ identity documents and contact details. In the instances where a child is traveling with a relative or another adult, a copy of the unabridged birth certificate can be used.
- When a child is traveling alone to South Africa, the host has to provide the child with two documents. A certified copy of their identity document and a letter containing the person’s address and contact details.
In a statement the Department of Home Affairs states that the new laws are aimed at establishing the principle that all children must have the consent of their parents when traveling into and out of South Africa. More information about applications for unabridged birth certificates please visit the official website of the Department of Home Affairs. If you are planning on traveling with minors in the future please make sure that you have all the necessary legal documentations to avoid any inconveniences during your trip.