Travelling with your kids: the 411

South Africa recently introduced a change in laws governing travelling with children, primarily to curb child trafficking across South African borders. The new legislation comes into effect today (June 1, 2015) and ONLY applies to children under the age of 18, travelling either to or from South Africa. It is not applicable travelling domestically i.e. within South Africa.

So, here it is – the basic documents required are an unabridged birth certificate, birth certificate, VISA (if necessary) and a valid passport. In addition:

Child travelling with both parents: 

* Unabridged birth certificate

* Valid passport

Child travelling with one parent:

* Affidavit granting permission to travel from absent parent and/or court order giving travel parents full responsibility

*Legally separated parents provide a court order when other parent does not give consent

* Death certificate if one parent is deceased

Child travelling with guardian only: 

* Affidavit from the parents or legal guardian stating child is allowed to travel – name guardian

* Contact details of the parents or legal guardian

* Copies of the identity documents and passports of the parents or legal guardian

* If both parents deceased, the Director General must approve guardian to accompany child

* If adopted provide adoption certificate

Child travelling unaccompanied: 

* Affidavit or court order with contact details signed by both parents or legal guardian giving permission to travel

*Contact details, certified copies of the identity document or passport of the person the child is staying with (necessary if person receiving child is not the same person the child will be staying with)

* Letter from the person receiving the child (to include contact details and physical address)


The above stipulations apply when travelling by car, aeroplane or boat. All supporting documents must be no more than three months old original, or certified. All certificates not in English must be translated into English by an official entity in the country of origin.

Still a bit confused? Contact South African Home Affairs on: +27 11 461 9252 (international) 0800 60 11 90 (local) or email Or, visit their website

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