Unconventional family? Here’s how to navigate SA’s rules for travelling minors

BY SUPPLIED - OCTOBER 1, 2015

The regulations governing travelling children recently implemented by the South African Department of Home Affairs were put in place to prevent child trafficking.

The regulations are fairly simple to follow if have a regular nuclear family with married parents that’s travelling through an airport together – everyone in the family needs valid passports and visas (if they’re required), and an unabridged birth certificate that names the parents of the children.

But what are the implications if your family is a little more unusual in structure – but just as excited about travelling abroad?

Cheapflights.co.za did the data crunching on some tricky travelling scenarios using a great online app, to help you navigate your way through the visa and unabridged birth certificate requirements so that you can enjoy a stress-free trip through immigration.

 Scenario 1:

A child is travelling with one parent, where parents are divorced or legally separated, with specific parental rights and responsibilities described by a court.

Documents required:

  • Valid passports for the travelling parent and child
  • Valid visa, if one is required
  • Unabridged birth certificate for the child
  • One of the following: a Parental Consent Affidavit, a Court Order granting full parental responsibilities to the travelling parent, a Court Order granted in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act of 2005, or a Letter of Special Circumstances issued by the Director General of Home Affairs

 Scenario 2:

An adopted child is travelling with their widowed parent.

Documents required:

  • Valid passports for the travelling parent and child
  • Valid visa, if one is required
  • Death certificate of deceased parent
  • One of the following: unabridged birth certificate or equivalent document that shows the details of the adoptive or biological parents, a court order confirming the adoption, or an adoption certificate

 Scenario 3:

An unaccompanied child who is in a foster home or temporary safe care.

Documents required:

  • Valid passport for the child
  • Valid visa, if one is required
  • Letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child lives, authorising them to leave the country
  • Letter from the person who will receive the child in their destination country
  • Proof of identity of the person who will receive the child in their destination country
  • Contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child

 Scenario 4:

An orphan who does not yet have a legal guardian, or who has not yet been adopted.

Documents required:

  • Valid passport for the child
  • Valid visa, if one is required
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by the Director General of Home Affairs
  • Letter from the person who will receive the child in their destination country
  • Proof of identity of the person who will receive the child in their destination country

 Scenario 5:

A child who has parents or legal guardians but is travelling with an adult that is not their parent or legal guardian.

Documents required:

  • Valid passport for the child
  • Valid visa, if one is required
  • Unabridged birth certificate
  • One of the following: a Parental Consent Affidavit that is not older than four months, or a Letter of Special Circumstances issued by the Director General of Home Affairs if the parents are incapacitated or deceased, and no legal guardian has yet been appointed