Requirements When Travelling with Children To South Africa

As of November 2019, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa has issued the below regulations for all children under 18 years of age who are travelling to, from or transferring through South Africa irrespective of arriving by air, sea or land.

The documents listed below must be produced at a port of entry by South African children entering and leaving the Republic, as well as by unaccompanied minors, regardless of their nationalities.

Foreign children who apply for a South African visa at any mission or VFS service point must submit, as part of the applications, the documents required below prior to such visa being issued.

Documents required for travelling through a port of entry of South Africa:

Foreign visa exempt children only require a valid passport if:

  • child accompanied by both parents
  • child accompanied by one parent
  • child travelling with person who is not his/her biological parent

Unaccompanied Minor:

  • a valid passport
  • a birth certificate of the child
  • consent from one or both of the parents/legal guardian in the form of a letter or affidavit, for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa. If only one parent is able to provide proof of consent, they must also have a copy of a court order granting the full parental responsibilities
  • copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the minor
  • a letter from the person who is to receive the minor in South Africa, containing his or her residential address and contact details of where the minor will be residing
  • a copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the minor in South Africa
  • contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the minor
  • where applicable:
    • copy of a death certificate of the deceased parent, parents or legal guardian
    • copy of an adoption order
    • copy of a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights / legal guardianship in respect of the child

Child in Alternative Care:

  • a valid passport
  • Letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child resides authorising his or her departure from South Africa

Exemptions: 

  • South African children travelling on South African passports may travel to South Africa without birth certificates
  • Supporting documents are not required where children are in direct transit at an international airport
  • Children in possession of valid South African visas are not required to produce the documents already submitted as part of their visa applications when travelling through port of entry of the Republic
  • A child presenting a passport which contains the details of his or her parents or parents is not required to produce a birth certificate/equivalent document

South Africa’s Government Website: 

Please take the time to thoroughly read this webpage if you are travelling with passengers below 18 years of age. If you do not produce these required documents, you may be refused entry into South Africa.