Don’t ditch the birth cert just yet…

South African parents should carry an Unabridged Birth Certificate for their children under the age of 18 until passports for minors in South Africa are issued with both parents’ names in them.

Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Director-General Mkuseli Apleni announced last week that the department would introduce new passports for South African minors with parents’ details which would become accepted documents and replace Unabridged Birth Certificates for children travelling internationally. An exact date has yet to be announced for the roll-out of the new passports, although Apleni is ‘hopeful’ this will be from October 31 this year.

Clients, who have already applied for an unabridged birth certificate or already have one in their possession, will not be required to apply for a new passport for their children immediately. They can use the birth certificate as a form of travel identification and only apply for a new passport for their children when the passport needs to be renewed.

Besides the UBC, all other consent and affidavit forms also still apply when only one parent is travelling or the minor is travelling alone. The good news on this front is that the DHA will be extending the validity period of Parental Consent Affidavits from 3 to 6 months.

For school tours, the DHA has also made some additional concessions: A formal template will be made available on the website, allowing principals to confirm that permission for children to travel on school tours.

For international travellers, the issue of immigration regulations as they pertain to the requirement for Unabridged Birth Certificate is equally confusing. Airline check-in staff are no longer required to ensure that foreign passengers carry an unabridged birth certificate (UBC) when travelling with a minor. International visitors who have applied for a visa to enter South Africa, will no longer be required to present a UBC at all when entering South Africa, whereas parents from visa-exempt countries are ‘strongly advised to travel with the birth certificate’.

Despite this, reports indicate that airlines are still checking that all passengers under 18 carry a UBC, as they say they have not received any notification from the DHA.

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