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Visiting South Africa with Kids Just Became Easier – Here’s What You Need to Know


South Africa is a great holiday destination for families, and a recent announcement by government that it has eased the requirements for children entering the country has been widely welcomed.

We discuss the documentary requirements which have applied until now, the extent to which they have been waived, and the restricted application of that waiver.

We end off with a useful Department of Home Affairs table which conveniently and clearly sets out exactly what documents are required to enter South Africa for both South African children and for foreign children in a variety of circumstances.

“We’re all going on a summer holiday…” (Cliff Richard)

With the Festive Season (and our Summer Holidays!) well and truly upon us, you may be inviting family or friends to visit you from overseas with their children, or perhaps you are a foreigner planning a family trip to South Africa. Either way here’s some good news in the form of a welcome concession from government in regard to the documentation you will need to produce on entry.

In a nutshell foreign children until now have only been able to enter the country with unabridged birth certificates and consent letters. That requirement was waived – for accompanied children only (check the full details in the table below) – from 8 November 2019.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) says it has communicated this very welcome new development to all role players, most importantly to the immigration officials at ports of entry who are tasked with enforcing the rules, but if you do happen to have documentation handy it can’t hurt to bring it along in case of any queries. If you need visas to visit you will anyway have to produce the documents when applying.

South African children (and unaccompanied foreign children) must still provide a list of required supporting documents – see below.

Note that the above is just a summary – it is extremely important that you check the DHA table below for full details, and that you ask your lawyer for help if you think any exemptions may apply, if you have any difficulty in understanding what is required, or if you cannot get the necessary documentation together.