Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Thu June 18 2015

New App Helps Parents Prepare for South Africa Entry Requirements

Destination & Tourism | David Cogswell | June 18, 2015

New App Helps Parents Prepare for South Africa Entry Requirements

When the South African travel industry learned that the government was putting in place strict new anti-trafficking rules for people entering the country with underage children, the industry went through a giant collective panic over what the new regulations would do to tourism.

The industry railed against the new regulations and even secured a delay in the implementation of the regulations. But in the end, the efforts to stop the initiative failed. The regulations are here to stay.

Originally set to go into effect last October, the implementation was delayed, but as of June 1, the law is in effect. So the industry must now turn to educating visitors as to how best to work through the new regulations.

In short, the new rules require tourists with children under 18 years of age to present copies of unabridged birth certificates upon entry into the country. “Unabridged” means that both parents' names appear on the birth certificate.

Single parents have to present an affidavit of consent from the other biological parent.

Help is on the Way

The Discover Africa Group has created a new app to help travelers prepare and make sure they have the proper documents to gain entry into the country with children. The app can be accessed online.  

The South African Child Visa Checklist app asks questions to ascertain the circumstances of the user and then makes recommendations as to what documents are required.

At step one the app presents a choice of four categories: child traveling with both parents, child traveling with one parent, unaccompanied child or child with adult that is not a parent or guardian.

After selecting the appropriate category, the app then asks other questions. If the child is traveling with both parents, the app asks if they are the biological parents, the adoptive parents or legal guardians.

If a child is traveling with one parent, the next stage of questions asks if the parents are married or divorced. Does the child have a legal guardian? Is the parent widowed? Is the parent single? Or are the parents not married?  

After answering the three questions, the app produces a list telling exactly what is needed.

For example, if a child is traveling with both parents, who are not married, but whose names both appear on the birth certificate, the documents required are:

• a valid passport

• a valid visa, if required (not for U.S. travelers)

• an unabridged birth certificate

plus one of the following:

• a parental consent affidavit

• a court order granting sole parental rights to the accompanying parent

• a Letter of Special Circumstances issued by the Department of Home Affairs.

When one parent of a married couple is traveling with their own child, what is needed is:

• a valid passport for parent and child

• an unabridged birth certificate

and one of the following:

• a Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than three months from the other parent

• a Letter of Special Circumstances issued by the Department of Home Affairs.

For more information, see Child Visa Checklist by Drive South Africa.


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