How do I plan for smooth travels in and out of South Africa over the festive season? What documents are needed if I come or go with my kids? And what do I take if I am a permanent resident?

  • Because every international traveler has to provide so-called “biometrics” (fingerprints) on arrival at OR Tambo and Cape Town International airports, long queues build up at passport control and travelers are forced to wait for many hours before being allowed into the country or onto their connecting flights. Please allow for sufficient time between connecting flights. When picking up visitors, let them contact you once they are through passport control to avoid long hours of waiting.
  • When traveling with children, take all the required documentation along:
    • A recently certified copy of his or her Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC), including sworn translation into English if relevant.
    • Should the child be travelling with only one or no parent or legal guardian, original consent affidavits (valid for 6 months) and certified passport copies of any parents or legal guardians not accompanying them.
    • Should the child be received in South Africa by a person other than his or her parents or legal guardians, a recently certified ID or passport (with valid visa) copy of such person.
  • For template parental consent affidavits, or further information on the process, please contact the IMCOSA consultants.
  • If you hold permanent residence for South Africa, take your original permanent residence certificate along. You will not always be asked for it, but can avoid a lot of trouble if you do and have it at hand. Keep a few certified copies in a safe place at home, and guard the original with your life.
  • If you or your visitors come in on a “tourist” visa, please take the time to look at the hand-written date on your entry stamp. This is the expiry date for your visa. If you intend to stay beyond that date, you will have to make an application for extension. Overstaying a visa results in a declaration as “undesirable” and an inability to come back for at least 12 months! Note that extensions are regularly issued with the wrong expiry dates, after which the applicant has to apply for rectification. Contact the IMCOSA consultants for assistance, so that you and your guests can enjoy your holidays!