Relaxed requirements for children travelling abroad gazetted

A few months after it was announced that the country's visa regulations would be relaxed, the revised conditions have been published in the Government Gazette. 

On Wednesday, the department announced that the revised conditions were contained in the Government Gazette titled "Draft First Amendment of the Immigration Regulations, 2014 made under the Immigration Act". 

Spokesperson Siya Qoba said that, from the beginning of December, certain categories of child travellers would be exempted from producing documents at ports of entry.

He elaborated that children who are from countries where visas are required will no longer have to carry supporting documents because they would have been required to provide these during the visa application process.

However, he said children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are not required may be asked to produce supporting documents upon entry, even though it is no longer compulsory.

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He added that in cases where countries endorsed the particulars of parents in their children's passports, or other official identification documents, this would be sufficient to establish the identity of the minor's parents.

South African children's requirements

South African children travelling abroad may be requested to produce supporting documents at ports of entry.

Children with passports that detail their parents' names will not be required to carry birth certificates when travelling. However, a parental affidavit may be required.

"These requirements are meant to give effect to the Children's Act, 2005 which stipulates that minors travelling in or out of the country must do so with the consent of both parents," said Qoba.

The department says it has trained immigration officials to implement these changes.

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These amendments were made in terms of Section 7 of the Immigration Act, 2002 after consultation with the Immigration Advisory Board.

"The amendments took effect on December 1, ahead of the festive season when many families will be going on holiday.

"They reflect some of the Cabinet-approved reforms to the visa regime and are in line with economic recovery plan and stimulus announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in September," Qoba said.

The changes to the country's travel requirements came about after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in September that there would be changes to visa requirements as part of the economic stimulus and recovery plan.