Travelling abroad with minors: understanding the new South African travel laws

To be completely honest, I’ve been postponing this post for over six weeks, because of how technical and confusing it seemed when I first got to read and hear about it! I’m so relieved to have finally got it done!

In summary, here is what you need to know about the new immigration regulations:

  • The new immigration regulations became effective on the 1st of June 2015.
  • The changes have been brought about because of the increase in the number of children that have been victims of child trafficking. There are about 30 000 minors reported to be victims of human trafficking through the South African borders, every year.
  • In addition to passports and any other visa documents applicable to the location in which you’re travelling to, children under the age of 18, are required to have an unabridged birth certificate. An unabridged birth certificate is one that that reflects the details of both parents of the child, when entering or leaving South Africa.
  • You can apply for a birth certificate at Home Affairs for approximately R75-00. You will need your ID book to do so.
  • If the child is only travelling with one parent, you will need the unabridged certificate, a letter of permission to travel with the child and an ID copy; as well as the telephone number. These documents should not be older than three months. Only original or certified documents will be accepted. 


Single parents need to note the following:

  • If your name is the only one that appears on the unabridged birth certificate, you do not require consent from the absent parent.
  • If both parents’ details appear, the other parent must give you their consent for you to travel with the child in an affidavit / court order / letter of guardianship.
  • If you are unable to trace the child’s other parent, you would need to apply for a letter of special circumstances.
  • If the other parent has passed away, you will be expected to produce a death certificate.


Disclaimer: Please note that this is not a concise list, but merely a summary based on my research and understanding. For the full details of the regulation and more information, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website

I hope this was simple enough for you to understand, it really took a while for me!

Modern Zulu Mom

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