What new birth certificates mean for travel

South African Department of Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni on October 28 announced that unabridged birth certificates for minors will now be streamlined by changing the name of the certificate from “unabridged birth certificate” to “birth certificate”. Details of both the minor’s parents will still be included, as has been done since the launch of the unabridged birth certificate in 2014.

Prior to 2013, minors were issued an abridged birth certificate. From 14 March 2013, an unabridged birth certificate was provided at birth, carrying the details of both the child’s parents. From 1 November 2016, however, children will be issued with a birth certificate doing away with the previous two versions. Children younger than the age of 18 who have the abridged certificate will still need to apply for the new birth certificate to ensure smooth travel in and out of the country. Minors from countries that do not issue unabridged birth certificates will also need to apply for them well in advance as part of their required travel documentation to and out of South Africa.

“International travellers with children who plan on visiting South Africa from countries which do not automatically provide unabridged birth certificates will have to apply for one well before their departure dates,” said Apleni.

The director-general also said that the validity of the parental consent affidavit would be extended from three months to six months. The changes come in as part of the department’s efforts to simplify travel for both domestic and international travel, following a decrease in inbound travel.

READ MORE: SA’s Visa Reforms To Make Life Easier For Tourists

The web-based South African Child Visa Checklist app, launched in June 2015, can be accessed by local and international travellers to check if they have the required documentation. Based on three questions, the app determines which documentation is needed by the traveller.

In an interview on The John Robbie Show on radio station 702, on 16 November, South African Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom spoke of the country’s growth potential and that, while there were some challenges still remaining, the department had good interaction with home affairs and that they would continue to engage with each other to grow the tourism sector.

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