SA delays implementation of controversial regulations for child travellers

Posted: September 29, 2014 in general

Tsathe Department of Home Affairs of South Africa has delayed implementation of the seeming controversial requirement for children under the age of 18 to present an unabridged birth certificate until June 1, 2015. Furthermore, in the instances where children are travelling with one parent, the written permission required under the new regulations would also be postponed until June 1.

Making the announcement at a press briefing midweek, Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, however, said requirement that people apply for visas in person will stay in place as there is no postponement for this requirement, adding further that this requirement was not unique to South Africa as it was required of visitors by other countries.

Gigaba’s announcement follows a meeting last week with industry associations, including IATA, ASATA, and the TBCSA.

Gigaba emphasised that, since the regulations were announced, the department had made it clear that it was open to engagement. While thanking industry representatives who had engaged the department on new regulations, the minister said different stakeholders had drawn the department’s attention to challenges around the requirements for children travelling.

Industry associations – including SATSA, BARSA, ASATA and IATA – have spent the past two months actively lobbying for a postponement of the new regulations to allow time for them to be effectively communicated and systematically implemented.

Under the new regulations, people travelling to South Africa on a visa are required to apply for the visa in person. Parents travelling with children under the age of 18 are required to produce an unabridged birth certificate for each child.

In the case where only one parent is travelling with the child(ren), consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered is required. Alternatively, either a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or a death certificate of the other parent must be produced.

The regulations also require that people apply in person for visas to allow for biometric intake.

Gigaba suggested last week that this regulation was already in place and called on missions abroad to start implementing this requirement.

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