Immigration update - Children into or via South Africa


Minors younger than 18 Years, to/from South Africa:

  1. With both parents, if the minor’s surname is not the same as both parents, must hold an original or a copy of a birth certificate or a passport containing the details of the parents?

  2. With 1 parent, must hold an original or a copy of a birth certificate and a parental consent letter from the absent parent or legal guardian containing a copy of his/her passport or identity document and his/her contact details. Alternatively, the following will be required:

  • A letter of special circumstances

  • A court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or full legal guardianship to the present parent.

  • In case the other parent is deceased, then a death certificate will be required.

  • In case the name of 1 parent only (Mother or Father) is on the birth certificate, then the parent must hold an original or a copy of a birth certificate containing information about the parent only.

  1. With an adult other than a parent, must hold an original or a copy of a birth certificate and parental consent letters, copies of identification documents and his/her contact details or a letter of special circumstances, a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or full legal guardianship to the present parent. In case the other parent is deceased, a death certificate. In case the name of 1 parent only (mother or father) is on the birth certificate, the adult must hold an original or a copy of a birth certificate containing information about the parent only. Documents of parents/legal guardians will include the contact details of parents/legal guardians and contact details of the person in whose care the minor will be.

  2. When travelling as a primary or secondary school tour with a teacher or a trainer, a letter of consent from the school principal is required, confirming that consent letters from all parents are held by the school, together with an ID/passport copy of the accompanying teacher or trainer.

  3. Unaccompanied minors must hold an original or a copy of a birth certificate and a parental consent letter containing a copy of his/her/their passport/s or identity document/s and his/her/their contact details (or consent from one parent together with a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship or death certificate) A letter from the person receiving the minor in South Africa will also be required, containing address and contact details as well as a copy of the identification document of the person receiving the minor, including visa/residence permit (if required).

Passengers arriving without the required birth certificate will be granted a period of 24 hours to obtain it. All documents must be in English, except for the birth certificate. The parental consent letter must be issued within 6 months prior to the date of travel.

Adopted children who do not have a birth certificate containing the information of the adoptive parents must hold an adoption order.

This does not apply to South African minors travelling to South Africa:

  • This does not apply to holders of a valid visa

  • This does not apply to holders of a temporary residence permit issued by South Africa

  • This does not apply to minors in transit in South Africa


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