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TThe Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announced on 5th December 2018 that it would relax some of the regulations for children going through South African ports of entry.

As of 1 December 2018, certain categories of child travellers will be exempt from presenting supporting documents at ports of entry.

This comes ahead of the Festive Season when many families will be going on holiday with children.

The announcement follows a DHA press briefing held in September this year when former Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, announced that changes to child visas were afoot.

The DHA has confirmed trained immigration officials will implement these changes.

It said the amendments reflected the Cabinet’s approved reforms to the visa rules and are in line with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic recovery plan.


New feature for South African child passports

South African child passports that are issued from 1 December will now contain details of the parents as a standard feature. This means children possessing such a passport and travelling with both parents would not need to carry supporting documents.

However, children travelling on older passports would still need to produce an unabridged birth certificate with the details of their parents.

In addition, South African children not travelling with both parents would need to carry additional documents, including consent letters, adoption orders, custody or guardianship papers and death certificates. The consent letter no longer has to be on a DHA template or be an affidavit. Copies of documents are sufficient and do not need to be certified.

The key change is that child travellers and accompanying adults will only be stopped and questioned – and possibly be required to provide additional paperwork – in exceptional cases where there may be grounds for suspicion or in “high risk situations”. 


Travel requirements

Requirements for foreign children coming to South Africa have been changed in the following ways:

  • Children from countries where visas are required will no longer have to carry supporting documents. This is because they would have been required to provide these and a copy of a birth certificate during the visa application process.
  • Those from countries where visas are not required may be asked to produce supporting documents upon entry. DoT has said that copies of original documents are sufficient and do not need to be certified. Consent and authorisation can be in the form of a letter. It does not need to be notarised or be an affidavit.
  • Passports – or other identification documents – that contain the details of parents are sufficient.
  • If surnames are different, carrying proof of parental relationship is advised.
  • If children are travelling alone, additional documents are needed.
  • If children are travelling with an adult other than their parents, they would need to carry supporting documents.   


For South African children leaving the country, the following applies:

  • Minors travelling in or out of the country must do so with the consent of both parents.
  • South African children travelling abroad may be asked to furnish supporting documents at ports of entry.
  • Children with the new passports detailing parents’ names will not need to carry birth certificate. A parental affidavit may be required.


Issued on behalf of South African Tourism:

For further information, contact:

Altaaf Kazi at South African Tourism                 

Tel: +27 11 895-3046                                           

Email: OR 


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