International minors travelling to South Africa no longer require Unabridged Birth Certificates or consent letters when travelling with their parents.
The Unabridged Birth Certificate waiver has been welcomed and is expected to boost tourism, after negatively impacting international visitors’ accessibility to South Africa for a number of years.
StatsSA recently released new tourism figures, showing a drop of 2% in overseas tourist arrivals from January to August this year. This is even further down after we saw a 1.3% drop in overseas visitors from January to August 2018.
Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane called it a “positive development ahead of the festive season when the country sees an increase in inbound travellers”.
The directive, signed by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday, 8 November was followed by an official announcement on Sunday at the Lilizela Tourism Awards ceremony in Pretoria.
Although intended to curb human trafficking, The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) estimates the country’s travel, tourism and hospitality industries lost hundreds of millions of rands over the past five years as a direct result of the restrictions and how they were implemented.
“This is a welcome relief and will help South Africa regain its competitive position as an attractive tourism destination,” remarked AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal.
“Reforms such as this waiver will help to strengthen the entire sector and contribute towards the economic rejuvenation of South Africa and the region. This is a good start, but there are still other corrective interventions to be made and unnecessary red tape to be slashed”, added Mr. Zweigenthal.
“All ports of entries, as well as the airline and maritime industries, have been informed following the signing of the waiver,” says Kubayi-Ngubane.
“We believe that this announcement will go a long way in helping us to attract more tourists to South Africa as a destination of choice.”
“The news will certainly be welcomed by all in the tourism industry, both in South Africa and around the world,” says South African Tourism acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini.
“In all our markets, family travel is a key driver for arrivals and we compete with many other destinations for the share of family travel. The waiver announcement will allow us to proactively and aggressively market South Africa as a family-friendly destination again. There is an abundance of fun to be had in South Africa for families travelling with children of all ages and certainly enough experiences to leave lasting memories in both parents and children.”
“To completely rescind this requirement is a win for tourism, as the work continues to bring over 21million targeted international visitors by 2030 to boost tourism and turn around our economy,” says Kubayi-Ngubane.
New passports rules for SA minors: How to apply for your child’s passport
South Africa has crossed a major stumbling-block requirement of unabridged birth certificates for travelling SA minors – and its new passport in place for children also goes a long way in protecting South African minors when travelling.
The Department of Home Affairs has previously ruled that passports for minor citizens will now have both the details of the mother and father included in it.
So what’s the process of applying for your child’s passport?
The Department of Home Affairs lists the following criteria for ‘Tourist Passports: Persons under 16 years’:
These passports are issued to SA citizens who are 15 years or younger. The passports are valid for 5 years and are not renewable. Once the validity period of a passport expires you will have to submit a new application for a passport.
To apply for the passport you must submit the following documents:
- A duly completed passport application Form DHA-73
- If the parents are married, the passport application form must be signed by both parents and the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted.
- Please note that the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted to the nearest Home Affairs office or SA Mission/Consulate. If a parent cannot be in attendance, a letter of consent and a copy of ID will no longer be accepted.
- If divorced and sole parental rights and responsibilities in regard to guardianship have not been granted to one parent, the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted and both must sign the application form.
- If a parent is deceased, his or her death certificate and a copy thereof must accompany the application for the passport
- In the case of minors born out of wedlock, the biological father’s consent will also be required if any of the circumstances as outlined in section 21 of the Children’s Act, 1995, are applicable, the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted.
- If the applicant is in the care of a guardian other than the parents, proof of the High Court’s appointment must accompany the application.
- If a parent cannot be located or refuses to consent, or a dispute concerning consent arises, the matter should be referred to the Children’s Court. The Court’s decision must be submitted with the application for the passport.
- The child’s South African birth certificate and a copy thereof
- Two colour passport photographs that comply with the Passport and ID Photograph Specifications (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally)
- Payment of the prescribed passport fee.