TRAVELLING WITH A CHILD? NEW VISA REGULATIONS TAKE EFFECT 1 JUNE 2015

Posted on: August 20th, 2015 by Chloe Dippenaar

The infamous amendments to the 2014 Immigration Regulations, now fully operational, took effect 1 June 2015 and raised issues debated by many.

The objects of the amendments are aimed at curbing the high rate of child trafficking in and out of the Republic; however some argue that this will only run the problem deeper underground as those running child trafficking operations definitely do not do so via legal channels.

There has been reports from the South African Tourism Services Association and the Department of Tourism that these new provisions severely influence the South African Tourism Industry as many foreigners will be put off by these stringent regulations. It is further argued that foreigners will rather flock to the seashores of other popular southern hemisphere countries to enjoy their annual vacations which may encourage disinvestment by foreigners and lead to a decline in the economy.

This crux of the amendments now place a legal obligation upon every adult traveller, foreign or not and travelling into or out of the Republic, to be in possession of an original Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC), issued by the Department of Home Affairs, in respect of every accompanying minor child in their care. Additional supporting documentation is necessary, the requirements thereof specifically related to individual circumstances of the child and parent relationship. Where only one parent is travelling with a child, the supporting documents include:

  1. Parental Consent Affidavit, signed by the non-travelling parent which authorises the adult traveller to enter or depart South Africa with the child he or she is travelling with;
  2. The Court Order, in terms of which that adult traveller holds full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of that child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child;
  3. A Death Certificate, where one parent who is registered as the child’s parent on the UBC, has passed away;

We will need to keep an eye out to see what the effects of this will be, however, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba ensures that the amendments are here to stay and travellers must comply with the Regulations to avoid the possibility of being turned away from the Director- General of the Department of Home Affairs at each point of exit and entry within the Republic should they not be able to produce the required documentation.

Please contact our Family Law Department for more information.

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