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New regulations for children travelling to and from South Africa

With effect 1 October 2014, South African Airways (SAA) will comply with new regulations relating to children who travel to and from South Africa. These new regulations were widely known in terms of the South African Immigration Amendment Act of 2010 and define children as persons under the age of 18.

In terms of the new regulations, when parents are travelling with a child they need to produce an unabridged birth certificate that shows the names of both parents. In cases where the certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned.  

When a child travels with only one parent, additional documents should include an affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the absent parent. The affidavit should be no more than three months old, from date of travel.  

In the case of a child travelling with a person other than a parent, the unabridged birth certificate must be supplemented by affidavits from the parents or legal guardians confirming that the child may travel with that person, copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian, and the contact details of the parents or legal guardian.  

Similarly, a child travelling as an unaccompanied minor would have to produce not only the unabridged birth certificate, but also proof of consent from both parents, or legal guardian and contact details, plus documentation relating to the person receiving the child in the Republic. The latter documentation should include a letter stating the person’s contact details and residential address and contact details where the child will be residing, plus a copy of his or her identity document, passport or residence permit.  

All documents must either be original or certified as true copies of the original, by a competent authority. Documents not in English must be accompanied by a sworn translation.  

“These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of children and should thus be welcomed,” says SAA’s spokesperson, Mr Tlali Tlali. “As from 1 October, we will not be able to check in all travellers who cannot produce the necessary documentation in terms of this Act.”  

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