11 June 2014

South Africa: Good News for Parents Travelling With Children

Pretoria — The Department of Home Affairs has provided a grace period to allow children to travel with parents or guardians without an unabridged birth certificate, until end of September 2014.

This means that families will be able to travel with children even for the coming school holidays, as some would have made the necessary arrangements ahead of the commencement of the Immigration Amendment Acts of 2007 and 2011 and the new Immigration Regulations.

The Amendment Acts and the new Regulations came into effect on 26 May 2014.

The amendment to the Immigration Act Regulation 6 requires anyone travelling to or from South Africa with children under the age of 18, to be in possession of a fully unabridged birth certificate, in addition to a valid passport.

"From 1 October 2014, the requirement for an unabridged birth certificate for children travelling with parents will come into effect for the safety of children, including their protection from child trafficking, abduction and kidnapping," the department said.

The department has urged citizens and foreign nationals to heed the call to apply for unabridged birth certificates for their children.

Up and till mid 2013 parents of new borns were issued only with a birth certificate which stated the mother's information.

Parents had to apply for an unabridged birth certificate separately. Since August, parents had the option to apply at birth for a fully-fledged unabridged birth certificate that has both parent's info on the document.

A birth certificate takes a few days, while an unabridged birth certificate takes 6 to 8 weeks.

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