The new Passport and Travel Documents Act officially took effect from today, 1 June 2015.
- Under the new legislation, South Africans and foreign nationals travelling with children under the age of 18 are required to produce Unabridged Birth Certificates.
- The implementation of the new legislation is part of government’s commitment to safeguard the best interests of children and prevent child trafficking.
- Last week, the Department of Home Affairs said parents who needed to travel with their children and couldn’t get Unabridged Birth Certificates in time, would be able to leave the country with a letter indicating that they had applied for the documents.
- Under the new law, all minors under the age of 18 years will be required to produce, in addition to their passport, an Unabridged Birth Certificate (showing the particulars of both parents) when exiting and entering South African ports of entry.
- According to the department, 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 event 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 ID or passports of the parents or legal guardian, and the contact details of the parents or legal guardian must also be provided.
- In the event where a child is travelling as an unaccompanied minor, not only the Unabridged Birth Certificate, but also proof of consent from both parents or legal guardians and contact details, and documentation relating to the person receiving the child in South Africa, would have to be produced.