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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)

  • Alan says:

    The kid restrictions seem bonkers, although the blank pages seem less of an issue nowadays, with no stamps for EU (for now), Oz, USA I’ve got some pretty empty passport pages despite lots of travels!

  • Daniel says:

    I wouldn’t say the 2 pages rule is rigidly enforced, I flew in earlier this year with just 1 page and it wasn’t a problem.

  • Russ says:

    Sorry but complete OT, I’ve nabbed the last business cabin award seat on a QR flight next weekend but need another. The cabin’s still pretty empty according to expert flyer, do QR usually release more space or am I going to have to buy a ticket?

    • Rob says:

      Before you pay I’d look at redemption options from Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and possibly Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and other easy to reach places. Will be pricey otherwise for a short notice ticket.

  • Tracey says:

    I have a UK passport with lots of blank pages, none say ‘visa’ or anything else at the top. Can anyone confirm that it will meet South Africa requirements?

    • Rob says:

      I don’t think that any UK passport versions have this, so I assume you must be OK – as long as you have blank pages outside of the endorsements bit.

  • krys_k says:

    OT. Any recommendations for top quality hotel in Malta for October. Ideally looking for somewhere close to see rather than in town. Many thanks.

    • Neil says:

      Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands every time!

      • Chris says:

        Slight bias as they’re a client but 100% on Golden Sands. No question for me, been a bunch of times to a bunch of properties on the Island

    • Depends on how you categorise “top quality” what your preferences are, and whether you’re allied to a particular chain (loyalty benefits etc). You’re limited to a reasonable number of mid-range hotels on the Island. Intercontinental is in the town, Hilton is close-by, but based in a Marina (Portomaso). There are two Radisson properties, Golden Sands is beach/seaside, whereas the St Julian’s is on the coast, but no beach access (rocky). Westin Dragonara is coastal, next to the Hilton again, limited rocky beach here.
      Based on your limited scope, I’d say the Radisson at Golden sands seems to suit your requirements.

  • paulm says:

    Just to follow up on my comment yesterday about the hotel indigo lower east side and their destination fees, emailed them and they have come back overnight and agreed with my comments and credited them back. Just at the same time I got a survey from them on my recent stay!

  • BJ says:

    OT: Offer on Lufthansa app for 5x bonus miles up to 50000 between Europe and North America. Economy only I think.

  • signol says:

    South Africa. The way I read the new rules, they are only relaxed for foreign passport holders. So my kids, dual nationals who enter on SA passports, still need everything…