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Travelling with Minors: It’s final; South African children still need supporting documents

South African children will only be allowed to cross borders if accompanying adults are able to produce the correct supporting documents but this rule no long applies to foreign children entering South Africa.

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If you are planning on travelling over South African borders this Christmas holiday you will still need supporting documents for every child traveling with you.  Announced earlier this week by the Department of Home Affairs, anyone crossing a border with a South African child will STILL be required to produce the child’s travel documents including a valid passport, the minor’s original unabridged birth certificate and a letter of consent signed by a biological parent in the case where the child is not travelling with both parents.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday, confirmed that although he had waived the need for parents of foreign children entering the country to produce the controversial travel documents South Africans will still have to produce the correct documents.

I response Otto de Vries CEO of ASATA said, "ASATA has for several years called for a thorough consultation process with industry to develop requirements that balance the need for security with economic growth delivered through travel and tourism.

“Although the South African government started to roll out a new child passport which includes parents' details, this appears to be inconsistently applied and is not an adequate solution."

The rule, which was instituted in 2014 by then Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba created confusion and frustration for anyone entering or existing the country with a minor child. In some cases tourists were turned away at entry points thereby forfeiting their holiday.

The rule, which was intended to protect South African children against child trafficking, generated so much negative press that the word quickly spread to other countries.  The result was four of the worst tourist seasons in recent history which is when the Department of Tourism stepped in demanding the rule be waived for foreign travelers.

Research by BDO estimates that - conservatively speaking - SA lost about R10bn per year since 2015 due to the unabridged birth certificate requirement.

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“This improvement in our admissions policy builds on the work the department has been doing to contribute to economic growth and investment. As of Friday, 8 November 2019, foreign children can enter and depart the country without being required to provide birth certificates, consent letters, and other supporting documents relating to proof of parentage,” Motsoaledi said in the statement.

“As of Friday, 8 November 2019, foreign children can enter and depart the country without being required to provide birth certificates, consent letters and other supporting documents relating to proof of parentage.

“We anticipate that this change will have a positive impact on tourism as we approach the holiday season,” he added.

Minister Motsoaledi on Friday signed the new waiver which stipulates that foreign children would not need an unabridged birth certificate and other supporting documents to enter the country but said that South African children were still required to provide supporting documents when they left the country.

 

Source: EWN, Fin24

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