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Department of Home Affairs Relaxing Legislation on Children Travelling to/from South Africa

Travelling Abroad with Children? Check with the South Africa Department of Home Affairs on latest legislations


Please check with your South African Embassy or on the DHA website for the exact detail related to your situation and the latest information incase of changes.

The amendment to the Immigration Act Regulation 6 requires, in summary, 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 (read the DHA leaflet - This policy was implemented in June 2015, but according to Department of Home Affairs is shortly due to change and be relaxed so that rather than a requirement it will become a recommendation.

The requirement was part of a number of child travel laws introduced in June 2015 to curb child trafficking in South Africa. However, falling tourism numbers and criticism from the travel industry have forced Government to amend certain requirements and there has been talk of the South African Government scrapping the requirement for unabridged birth certificates for children travelling into and out of South Africa. Instead, South African parents' details will be printed in their minor child's passport.

Travelling with minors Home Affairs requires that minors travelling in or out of the Republic do so with the consent of both parents as required by Section 18(3)(c) of the Children’s Act. As indicated by the President, the Department of Home Affairs are simplifying the rules on travelling minors who are foreign nationals to minimize disruption to legitimate travellers without compromising the safety of minors and the rights of their parents. They have stated that they will issue an international travel advisory before the end of October 2018, after consultation with the Immigration Advisory Board (IAB).

The key changes will be that rather than requiring all foreign national travelling minorsto carry documentation proving parental consent for the travelling minor to travel, they will rather strongly recommend that travellers carry this documentation. Immigration officials will only insist on documentation by exception – in high risk situations – rather than for all travellers, in line with practice by several other countries. Rather than denying entry where documentation is absent, travellers will be given an opportunity to prove parental consent. South African minors will still be required to prove parental consent when leaving our borders. These changes will be implemented in good time for the festive season when many people would be travelling with children.


THE RULES MAY CHANGE AT ANY TIME - PLEASE CHECK FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION. Before travelling, it's highly recommended that you consult the South African embassy in your home country, in order to ensure that you meet all relevant criteria or visit the Department of Home Affairs South Africa website: 

Updated by Greta 12/11/2018

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