Parents travelling with children

The Department of Home Affairs has encouraged parents and guardians to apply for unabridged birth certificates for their children even if they do not have plans to travel abroad. This was a legal requirement, the department said in a statement.

The Department of Home Affairs has provided a grace period to allow children to travel with parents or guardians without an unabridged birth certificate, until end of September 2014.

The Amendment Acts and the new Regulations came into effect on 26 May 2014.

The amendment to the Immigration Act Regulation 6 requires anyone travelling to or from South Africa with children under the age of 18, to be in possession of a fully unabridged birth certificate, in addition to a valid passport.

“From 1 October 2014, the requirement for an unabridged birth certificate for children travelling with parents will come into effect for the safety of children, including their protection from child trafficking, abduction and kidnapping,” the department said.

The department has urged citizens and foreign nationals to heed the call to apply for unabridged birth certificates for their children.

A birth certificate takes a few days, while an unabridged birth certificate takes 6 to 8 weeks. –

What is the difference between Abridged and Unabridged Birth Certificate?
  • Abridged birth certificate shows personal details of an individual such as identity number and date and day of birth along with place of birth, whereas an unabridged birth certificate additionally carries details about both parents also.
  • While both abridged as well as unabridged birth certificates are computer printouts, both birth certificates can be apostilled or legalized.   
  • Abridged birth certificate is issued within minutes or hours, whereas it takes between 6 weeks to 6 months to issue an unabridged birth certificate.
  • While both abridged and unabridged birth certificates are valid documents, there are many circumstances when it is vital to have unabridged birth certificates.
As of October 1 this year parents who are travelling with a child parents must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.

Provision is also made for one parent travelling with a child and where one parent or both parents are deceased or the child is travelling with a relative or another person.

Certified copies of unabridged birth certificates and parental consent where applicable will be acceptable when travelling with children. The regulation applies to children under the age of 18 years.

The application can be made at any home affairs office, by the parents or guardian, who should take along their identity documents and the child’s abridged certificate.

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