South Africa set to scrap strict children travelling rules

There years ago South Africa introduced strict rules to govern travelling with kids in an attempt to curb child trafficking. Unfortunately, these new regulations become a burden on many foreigners and since then numbers of families travelling to South Africa have stagnated. 

The tedious and stressful process of remembering to have the attaining and having the correct documents at hand will soon become a thing of the past. South Africa has announced plans to scrap rigid rules on entering the country with children in an attempt to encourage more families to visit.

Rules are set to change

The head of South Africa’s tourist board Sisa Ntshona told Telegraph Travel the “quite stringent” rules influenced the lack of growth in the number of visitors from the UK since 2015, which prompted the Government to look again at the regulations.

With David Frost, chief executive of Southern African Tourism Services (SATSA), stating that as the only country with such rules, travellers did not expect to require the necessary documentation.

In order to springboard tourism and get foreign money back into the country changes needed to be made to make South Africa more attractive to families looking to travel. 

Travelling to South Africa with minors has been a painful process for many 

Why was it the rules there in the first place?

These stringent rules were introduced three years ago to tackle human trafficking and required parents entering South Africa to carry an unabridged birth certificate for each of their children, and, when just one parent is present, an affidavit to prove consent of their non-travelling partner.

Following this, several families complained of being refused boarding, some blaming airlines and tour operators for not being made aware of the requirements. In 2017, a member of Emirates airline staff told Nikki Teideman, writing for Telegraph Travel, that families were being turned away three times a day.

What does this mean?

This means that the last page of the child’s passport will contain the details of the parents, meaning that parents will no longer be a requirement to travel with an unabridged birth certificate.

When applying for the passport of the child, the system will automatically go into the National Population Registry – confirming the details of the child’s parents, making the process for it to be printed at the back of the passport efficient and simple.

This also means parents or unaccompanied minors will no longer need to carry a birth certificate.

However, travellers into South Africa will regrettably still have to carry their children’s birth certificates if the parent’s details are not printed on the child’s passport.

Lastly, instead of being denied entry when documentation is absent, travellers will be given the opportunity to prove parental consent.

What you need to bring?

Children travelling into the country with both biological parents must travel with:

  • Valid passport of travelling parent and child
  • Visa, if required
  • Birth certificate listing both parents (note: these must be the original documents or certified copies of the originals).

A child travelling with just one of the parents listed on his or her birth certificate must also present:

  • Parental consent affidavit not older than 4 months or
  • Letter of special circumstances issued by the director-general of home affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

For full details of requirements for travel to South Africa, please see

Making travel a little easier

With the Department of Home Affairs finally normalising their standards to the rest of the world, travelling into South African with your children has become easier to adhere to. If you’re still unsure about sorting out your legal travel requirements then put your trust in the hands of a professional immigration lawyer. 

Speak to a professional

We are able to help you with all Visa Applications in South Africa. We also feature a Free Online Assessment to help you determine your current status and which steps to take next. Contact Le Roux Attorneys today to assist you in applying for your South African holiday visa.

Contact Le Roux Attorneys, South African Visa specialists about your visa application. Start by selecting one of the enquiry options below


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