International minors travelling to SA no longer require unabridged birth certificates

International minors travelling to South Africa no longer require unabridged birth certificates or consent letters when travelling with their parents.

Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Motsoaledi said that foreign travellers to South Africa will not need a copy of their children’s unabridged birth certificates.

‘Not at all. We have given the instruction that it is no longer wanted. You don’t have to carry it. You don’t have to produce it.’

As of last November 8 2019 the government has effectively scrapped its controversial unabridged birth certificates rule for foreign minors travelling to South Africa. Regulations around unabridged birth certificates for travelling minors have been in place since 2015 and has caused significant harm to South Africa’s inbound tourism sector, reportedly costing billions of rand in foreign earnings.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said in a statement that he had signed a waiver on Friday which allows foreign children to now enter the country without carrying additional supporting documents such as birth certificates and consent letters.

“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, November 8, 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,” he said.

The Department of Home Affairs has communicated the changes to immigration officials at ports of entry and to the airline and maritime industries. It noted that foreign children who require a visa for South Africa do not need to carry the supporting documents for inspection at a port of entry, since these would be processed together with their visa applications.

Motsoaledi said it’s significant that government had completed the policy changes in the week in which President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted the second South African Investment Conference.

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

Tourism industry bodies and Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane have hailed the move.

“This is an audacious move by Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi that will clear all the confusion around travel requirements and ease travel for tourists coming into South Africa,” says Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).

“We are delighted with this move because it is another step in the right direction. The TBCSA has been working closely with the Department of Home Affairs in identifying and removing barriers to entry into South Africa. The department has shown a great interest in supporting tourism growth while securing South Africa’s borders and the TBCSA is very pleased with the speed at which they are working to improve ease of travel.”

Meanwhile, Tshivhengwa notes that the decision will go a long way in opening up South Africa as a family-friendly destination.

“We wish to continue to encourage government to prioritise improving ease of travel into South Africa as this will help unlock growth in our sector. The tourism sector’s potential is enormous in this country and, given the necessary space to grow, it will stimulate the economy and create more jobs,” he says.