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South Africa overhauls its ludicrous visa rules for children

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In an attempt to reverse a decline in tourism, South Africa is to scrap the incredibly restrictive rules on tourists who wish to travel to the country with children.

At present, it is tricky to enter South Africa with a child even if both parents are travelling.  We covered this story back in 2015.  If only one parent is travelling then you might as well not bother.  If one of your children is actually your step-child, then forget it.

These are the rules in place today.  Note the requirement for an affidavit – a simple letter will not suffice – and the unabridged, not short form, version of the birth certificate:

Where both parents are travelling with a child who is under 18:

All parents travelling with children under the age of 18 to or from South Africa must produce an unabridged birth certificate of each child which shows details of the parents of the child.

Where one parent is travelling with a child, they must produce:

an unabridged birth certificate

and either

consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate, authorising them to enter or depart from South Africa with the child

or

a court order granting them full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship or where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate

Where an adult is travelling with a child, who is not their biological child, they must produce:

a copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child

an affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that they have permission to travel with the child

copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child

Children travelling alone must produce:

consent from one or both of the parents/legal guardian in the form of a letter or affidavit, for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa. If only one parent is able to provide proof of consent they must also have a copy of a court order granting the full parental responsibilities

a letter from the person who is to receive the child in South Africa, containing their residential address and the contact details where the child will be residing

a copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in South Africa

contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child

You can find out more on the changes hereBritish Airways confirms what I wrote above on ba.com here.

Unfortunately there is no sign of the rule over the number of consecutive blank pages required in your passport being changed.  At present you must have two consecutive fully blank pages and they must be marked ‘Visas’ at the top.  Any page marked Endorsements, Amendments or Observations does not count.  (EDIT: there is some discussion in the comments about the need for two blank pages and, whilst you will read both versions on official websites, the view is that one blank page is enough.)

Comments (128)

  • KSB says:

    OT but Marriott/SPG related, I have a 2 night SPG reward stay booked and have decided that I need to stay another night (which I am happy to pay cash for)

    Does anyone have experience on whether you keep a nicer room for the reward nights if you pay cash for a higher grade of room the first night? I suspect it depends on the hotel, but interested in other people’s experiences. I am guessing choosing a room grade just 1 or 2 higher than the standard room would be more likely to succeed than picking the best room in the hotel.

    • S**mo says:

      It can work… but they can also be in their right to ask you to swap rooms!
      Add the booking ref in your new booking

  • Leighton Sharpe says:

    Hey there Rob,

    Have you by any chance flown Garuda Business class?

    It definitely sounds like a great deal!

    Thanks,

  • This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me.

    Kudos!

  • david says:

    Imagine Rob my surprise when we arrive in Johannesburg with my one 4 year old last year. Get to the immigration to be told in no uncertain terms that we will need a birth certificate to leave the country. Our mistake of course but we have travelled around the world with him so this took us aback. We had to have our landlord (lovely chap) go into our property, search our docs, scan it and send it to us to leave 3 weeks later. Loved the place but not enough to stay forever, luckily it came through but now we carry with our passports a birth certificate. Dodged a bullet.