The Minister of Home Affairs and his Department have been doing a dance on this one. They made all the right noises and publicly declared in October 2016 that the requirement for an unabridged birth certificate (UBC) will become a mere recommendation for visa exempt travelers, and fall away for those who hold valid visas for South Africa, but so far this has not been implemented – at least not consistently.

According to Southern Africa Tourism Services Association Satsa, on average, 40 people a day wishing to enter South Africa are turned away because of continued confusion surrounding the requirement for UBC for minors. There are regular reports of school groups and families having to cancel trips due to Home Affairs not implementing its own decisions.

As a consequence and until further notice, children travelling out of or into South Africa should still carry the following documents with them – the UBC, consent affidavits (they are now valid for 6 instead of 4 months) and certified passport copies of any parents or legal guardians not travelling with them, as well as certified ID or passport (with valid visa) copy of person receiving the child in South Africa (if other than a parent). According to Home Affairs, the parental consent affidavits can be replaced, in the case of school tours by an affidavit from the school principal, and in the case of sports teams by an affidavit from the sports federation. We cannot confirm at this stage how reliable these processes are.

For template parental or principal’s consent affidavits, please contact the IMCOSA consultants.