Understanding South Africa's new child visa regulations | Western Cape Government

Understanding South Africa's new child visa regulations

father-and-sons-child-passport-travelWith an estimated 30 000 children being trafficked every year in South Africa, new travel regulations have been introduced that aim to improve children's safety while travelling.

This now means that all children will need an unabridged birth certificate and their passport before they are allowed on a plane.

If you’ve applied for an unabridged certificate, you will need to wait 8 weeks before it's issued. You can apply for a letter from the Director General at the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to travel without one.

These regulations apply to all children under the age of 18 who are travelling alone, with one parent, with a guardian or both parents.

Travellers who are from countries, who do not need a visa when travelling to South Africa, must supply an unabridged certificate.

Here’s what you need to know.

Travel arrangement


Travelling with parents

Parents need to provide the unabridged birth certificate and passports for their children.

Travelling with one parent

If a child is traveling with one parent, he/she must provide the following documentation:

  • an unabridged birth certificate,
  • a passport,
  • a court order (in the case of a custody agreement) or death certificate, and
  • affidavit confirming that the parent can travel alone with the child.

Travelling with a guardian

The guardian should provide the following documents:

  • unabridged birth certificate,
  • a valid passport,
  • a court order (in the case of a custody agreement) or death certificate, and
  • affidavit confirming that they can travel alone with the child.

Travelling alone

If your child is travelling alone they must provide the following:  

  • proof of consent in the form of a letter from both parents,
  • a court order (in the case of a custody agreement),
  • a letter with the contact details of the person who’ll receive the child in the country and a certified copy of their ID or passport, and
  • the full contact details of the child’s parents.



What is an unabridged certificate?

An unabridged certificate provides the full details of both parents. Find out how to apply here.

Do I need to translate my certificate or documents?

Where translation is required, it will be provided at no cost at South African embassies abroad. You’ll however need to translate your certificate to English in your country of origin. 

What if my child is adopted?

You’re required to provide an official adoption certificate.


What do I need if my country does not issue unabridged certificates?

Your country of origin will need to provide a letter that meets South African legal requirements regarding unabridged birth certificates.                           

I am a single parent, can my child travel?

If your unabridged certificate only has your details, your child will be able to travel. If however, you’re separated from your partner whose name appears on the certificate, you’ll need to get an affidavit.  

 More information

DHA have provided the following numbers if you need assistance with your unabridged certificate application:

  • 072 634 0589
  • 072 634 0614
  • 073 567 6208
  • 073 567 5968

If you’re calling from outside South Africa, you can dial +27 1 461 9252. If you’re living in South Africa, you can call 0800 60 11 90 for more assistance or read more about the new regulations

The content on this page was last updated on 2 June 2015