June 17, 2014

The New Immigration Act - travelling with children


Since the Department of Home Affairs announced new regulations for child travellers this year, there have been numerous questions raised. Sure Travel has been flooded with questions regarding the enforcement of this regulation from many an anxious parent. We hope this will help answer some of these questions.

Latest update as of 16 September 2014: It has been announced that the new immigration regulations, due to come in to effect on 1 October 2014, have been deferred until end May 2015.

The Act stipulates: Under the new regulations parents travelling with children are required to produce an unabridged birth certificate for children under the age of 18. This is in addition to the child passport. The new regulations will be implemented end May 2015.

While these comments don't address all the queries and questions, it does address some of the more common questions about applying for an unabridged birth certificate.
Hopefully more answers from the department will be forthcoming soon, for now, this might help:

Q: Do the new regulations apply to outbound travel only?
A: The new regulations apply to all travel across South African borders: inbound, outbound and transit.

Q: Does it apply for domestic travel as well?
A: No. The Immigration Act applies to those travelling across South African borders, including land and sea.

Q: What documents do parents need to apply?
A: Mother’s ID, father’s ID and the child’s abridged birth certificate. Although, when applying for an unabridged birth certificate at the department, eTNW’s journalist did not have to produce any documentation. She was only asked to fill out the relevant forms.
Home Affairs has advised that application forms will no longer be available on the DHA website and that SA citizens would need to visit their nearest Home Affairs office to obtain original application forms.

Q: What is the cost of applying for an Unabridged Birth Certificate?
A: R75

Q: How long will it take, after application, to receive an unabridged birth certificate?
A: According to the DHA, six to eight weeks.

Q: Can clients travel with certified copies of unabridged certificates or do they need to carry the original?
A: A certified copy will suffice.

Q: What documents do travellers need if they are…
a) one parent travelling with a child?
A: An unabridged birth certificate and:
(i) consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child authorising him or her to enter into or depart from the Republic with the child he or she is travelling with;
(ii) a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child; or   
(iii) where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate; Provided that the Director-General may, where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, approve such a person to enter into or depart from the Republic with such a child.

b) an adult travelling with a child who is not his/her biological child?
(i) a copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child;          
(ii) an affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child;
(iii) copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child; and
(iv) the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child, Provided that the Director-General may, where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, approve such a person to enter into or depart from the Republic with such a child.

c) an unaccompanied minor?
(i) proof of consent from one of or both his or her parents or legal guardian, as the case may be, in the form of a letter or affidavit for the child to travel into or depart from the Republic: Provided that in the case where one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms of which he or she has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child;
(ii) a letter from the person who is to receive the child in the Republic, containing his or her residential address and contact details in the Republic where the child will be residing;
(iii) a copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the Republic; and
(iv) the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.

Q: Will additional immigration officials be employed to handle the additional processing and prevent longer queues at immigration?
A: "Our staff capacity is being looked at to deal with the processing and also to gear them not to become a stumbling block in processing travellers speedily,” Ricardo Abramse, a Spokesman for the DHA said.

Q: What platforms did the Department use to engage the industry before making these amendments?
A: The regulations were published for public comment early in 2014 to allow industry to raise concerns. There was public consultation on the Immigration Act and regulations prior to it being enacted and most of the comments that we have received did receive attention. We have received a lot of information that is very helpful from tour operators and the industry and we are setting processes in place to meet with the industry to provide guidelines around how we will implement these processes and not to burden travellers are not unnecessarily burden travellers with areas that can be dealt with expediently when they visit our missions,” Ricardo Abramse, a Spokesman for the DHA said.

Q: How will immigration officials at the airport verify unabridged birth certificates that are in foreign languages?
A: A person’s name is spelled the same on a passport and birth certificate, regardless of the language. The unabridged birth certificate is to ensure that the child is travelling with the awarded parents or guardians. For this reason, if a letter has been written to give approval for a child to travel with another adult, this documentation should be provided in English.

Information as of 18 September 2014.
Source: eTNW

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