Entry and Exit Requirements for Children in South Africa

This message serves as a reminder that on June 1, 2015, the South African Department of Home Affairs will institute new immigration regulations for the entry and exit of minors in South Africa, regardless of nationality.

The Department of State has updated the “Entry, Exit, & Visa Requirements” information for South Africa on Travel.State.GovWe urge all U.S. citizens contemplating travel to South Africa, to read this information carefully.

South Africa issued new immigration regulations effective on June 1, 2015. The following guidance is based on those regulations.  All travelers should visit the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) website and check the latest requirements with the nearest South African embassy or consulate before traveling. If traveling by air, you may also wish to consult your airline.

Rules for Children – To be enforced on 01 June 2015

These rules apply to children who are entering or departing South Africa. Therefore, the required documents should be retained in all circumstances throughout the stay of the child in South Africa.

The South African regulations use the term “unabridged birth certificate.” The exact contents of unabridged birth certificate vary among the different jurisdictions that issue birth certificates (countries, states, counties, cities, etc.), but the key distinction between an “abridged” and “unabridged” birth certificate is that an unabridged birth certificate identifies the parents of the child.  All documents must be original or copies certified as a true copy of the original by a commissioner of oaths or the equivalent commissioning authority.

  • Where BOTH parents are travelling with a child, parents must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.
  • In the case of ONE parent travelling with a child, he or she must carry an unabridged birth certificate and:

(i) Consent in the form of an affidavit (issued no earlier than 3 months prior to travel dates) from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child authorizing him or her to enter into or depart from South Africa with the child he or she is travelling with (see sample affidavit of consent);

(ii) Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child;

(iii) A court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child; or

(iv) Where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate,

  • Where a person is travelling with a child who is NOT his or her biological child, he or she must produce:

(i) A copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child;

(ii) An affidavit (issued no earlier than 3 months prior to travel dates) from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child (see sample affidavit of consent (PDF 71.6 KB));

(iii) Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child; and

(iv) The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child,

(Note: Where the parents of the child are both deceased, and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to the child or the child’s parents, the South African authorities have the discretion to approve such a person to enter or depart South Africa with the child.)

  • An unaccompanied minor must produce:

(i) Proof of consent from one or both his or her parents or legal guardian, as the case may be, in the form of a letter or affidavit (issued no earlier than 3 months prior to travel dates) for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa.  In the case where one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms of which he or she has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child (see sample affidavit of consent (PDF 71.6 KB));

(ii) A letter from the person which is to receive the child in South Africa, containing his or her residential address and contact details where the child will be residing;

(iii) A copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the South Africa; and

(iv) The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Botswana. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Gaborone is located at the address below. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, outside of business hours, contact the U.S. Embassy in Gaborone at the emergency number listed below.

U.S. Embassy Gaborone, Botswana
Embassy Drive, Government Enclave, Gaborone, Botswana
Phone: (+267) 373-2222
Email: ConsularGaborone@State.Gov