Law regarding Minors travelling internationally


SOUTH AFRICAN REQUIREMENTS FOR MINORS TRAVELLING INTERNATIONALLY

Pursuant to the 2011 amendments to the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No 13 of 2002) and the subsequent Immigration Regulations promulgated on 22 May 2014, guidance material was revised to accord with the new provisions.

Aspects related to the immigration requirements as they pertained to minors were held in abeyance until 1 June 2015. The following main categories of travel cases are discernible:

NO.DESCRIPTIONREQUIREMENTS
1Child in alternative careValid Passport
Valid visa, if required
Letter from the Provincial Head of Department of Social Development where the child resides authorising his or her departure from the Republic as contemplated in section 169 of the Children’s Act.
2Minor accompanied by both of his or her parentsValid Passport
Valid visa, if required
and Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) or equivalent document
3Minor accompanied by one parent where parents are neither divorced nor is travelling parent widowedValid Passport
Valid visa, if required
Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document
and Parental Consent Affidavit
or Court order granted in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act, 2005
or Letter of Special Circumstances.

Note:

In the case of single parents, where only one parent’s particulars appear on the Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document, no Parental Consent Affidavit is required.
In the case where parents were never married but both parents’ particulars appear on the Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document, the consent of the non-travelling parent is required
In the case of same sex parents appearing on the Unabridged Birth Certificate, it may be accepted (e.g. 2 mother or 2 fathers).
4Minor travelling with one parent who is divorced or legally separated and who has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights (previously called – sole custody) or full legal guardianship in respect of the minor.Valid Passport
Valid visa, if required
Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document
Court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights (previously called sole custody) or full legal guardianship in respect of the minor.
5Minor travelling with one parent who is divorced or legally separated and who has been granted specific parental responsibilities and rights (previously called – joint custody) or legal guardianship in respect of the minor.Valid Passport
Valid visa, if required
Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document
Court order granting specific parental responsibilities and rights (previously called joint custody) or joint legal guardianship in respect of the minor; and
Parental Consent Affidavit
or Court order granted in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act, 2005,
or Letter of Special Circumstances.

NOTE:

Where the accompanying parent presents a Parental Consent Affidavit and both parents’ names on the Unabridged Birth Certificate correspond with the names on the Parental Consent Affidavit and the travelling parent’s passport, a court granting specific parental responsibilities and rights or joint legal guardianship may be dispensed with.
6Minor travelling with widow or widower parentValid Passport
Valid visa, if required
Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document
Death certificate of the deceased parent
7Orphaned minor where no formal order of guardianship or adoption has been granted as yetValid Passport
Valid visa, if required
and Letter of Special Circumstances.
8Minor accompanied by a person who is not his or her biological parentValid Passport
Valid visa, if required
Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document
Parental Consent Affidavit
or Letter of Special Circumstances.

Where a Parental Consent Affidavit is presented
Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the minor
and Contact details of the person in whose care the minor will be in South Africa.
9Minor accompanied by his or her adoptive parent(s)Valid Passport
Valid visa, if required
Unabridged Birth Certificate of the minor reflecting particulars of adoptive parent(s),
or Pending the issuance of the Unabridged Birth Certificate containing the names of the adoptive parent(s), a court order confirming the adoption of the minor by the adoptive parent(s) accompanying him or her.

NOTE:

Where only one of the adoptive parents is travelling with the minor or where such a minor is travelling unaccompanied, the Parental Consent Affidavit will still be required by the absent adoptive parent(s),
or, in the case of a deceased adoptive parent, a copy of such parent’s death certificate.

Where either or both adoptive parents are unable to issue a written consent due to recent death or incapacity a Letter of Special Circumstances may replace the Parental Consent Affidavit.
10Unaccompanied Minor (this category includes a minor accompanied by another minor)Valid Passport
Valid visa, if required
Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document
Parental Consent Affidavit or Letter of Special Circumstances
Letter from the person who is to receive the minor in the Republic, containing his or her residential address and contact details in the Republic where the minor will be residing
Copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the minor in the Republic;
and Contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the minor. (This may be contained in the Parental Consent Affidavit.)
 

GENERAL NOTES:

1.All documents must be either original or copies certified as a true copy of the original by a commissioner of oaths or equivalent commissioning authority, should commissioners of oath not be a practice in the country concerned.

2.The Affidavit must be dated within 4 months of the first arrival or departure travel date. The same affidavit will still be valid for the departure or return in relation to the same journey regardless of the period of the journey. The “first travel” date is the date of first presentation for travel at the Port Of Entry (POE) for a journey that will be completed when the traveller returns or departs to or from the Republic. Minors who started their journey before 1 June 2015 would not be required to produce the documents if the return leg thereof takes place after 1 June 2015.

3.Different combinations of the travel cases could occur, e.g. when dealing with a minor accompanied by a person who is not his or her biological child, the requirements relating to divorced or deceased parents must also be taken into account, where applicable. Minors accompanying school tours must also be dealt with in terms of this category of travellers.

4.The following types of Court Orders may be granted:

  • Court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights (previously called “sole custody”) or legal guardianship in respect of the minor: In this instance the consent of the other parent is not required;

  • Court order in which both parents are granted responsibilities and rights in respect of the minor: The consent of the other parents is required; and

  • Court orders that are silent on the parental responsibilities and rights: The consent of the other parent is required.

5.Visas

  • Where a child applies for a visa inside South Africa or at a South African embassy abroad it shall be standard practise for all supporting documents to be submitted prior to the visa being issued.

  • Should authentic visas be produced by the minor but any other supporting documents be unavailable, it may be assumed that all supporting documents have been provided.

6.Exceptions

  • Diplomatic/ consular representatives accredited in South Africa travelling with his or her children: - An accreditation card issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) containing the particulars of the children may be accepted in lieu of the supporting documents. Where such a child is travelling unaccompanied or with the other parent who is not a diplomat the same card may be produced;

  • An Unabridged Birth Certificate should not be required in the case of countries that endorse the particulars of parents in children’s passports, e.g. India;

  • Minors accompanying VIPs were Protocol Officer is present at Port Of Entry. (No supporting documents will be required in these cases);

  • No supporting documents will be required by persons in direct transit at an International Airport.

Download Document: Parental Consent Affidavit.pdf

KVN Newsletters View latest Newsletters »

KVN Immigration News View All Articles »