HA scraps unabridged birth certificate rule for updated passports for minors

Cape Town – The departments of home affairs and tourism have finally announced that the controversial visa laws – which required all minors travelling to or going out of SA to have an unabridged birth certificates – will be scrapped in favour of an updated passport for minors with printed details of both parents.

Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni addressed media on Friday to relay the progress made since the announcement of the amendment programme outlined by the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) at the end of October last year.

Despite much upheaval from the tourism industry about the DHA taking the full three months allowed to the department in order to put the IMC changes into effect, Apleni said at the briefing, “We are indeed on course”.

Appleni said the the DHA has outlined the following priorities to be address within the next three – 12 months, specifically stating that the it is looking to accept passports with the details of both parents in it so that they do not have to carry unabridged birth certificates.

Additional priorities to be addressed in the next three months include:

- Add visa facilitation centres, including in Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates and Botswana.

- Consider a visa-waiver for India, China, Russia and other countries.

- Look at issuing visas on arrival for persons travelling to SA having in their passports valid visas for the UK, USA and Canada or any other country that applies stringent checks on visitors to their countries, to ease travel for tourists.

- Consider granting a certain category of frequent travellers (business and academics) from Africa a 10-year Multiple Entry Visitor’s Visa. This priority has already been partly achieved with the implementation of the long-term Multiple Entry Visa, the DHA said.

- Open two Business Visa Facilitation Centres in Durban and Port Elizabeth, in addition to the centre recently opened in Sandton.