What documents you need when travelling to or from SA with a child
Travelling with kids across SA's borders? Here's everything you need to know about travel documents for minors.
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In 2014, South Africa's new travel regulations were amended to curb child trafficking. So what do you actually need when you're going overseas, or visiting South Africa, with kids? 

If you're married and travel with your biological kids, things are quite straight-forward. But while it's not impossible to send your child on an overseas school trip if you're a single legal guardian, for instance, you would have to have more paperwork in place.

Also read: SA's new travel laws: 2014

So here goes. We'll break it down into 4 main sections: 

  • When the child is travelling with both parents;
  • When the child is travelling with one parent;
  • When the child is travelling unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian;
  • When the child is travelling with an adult who is neither parent nor legal guardian.

LIST A

In all circumstances, the parent/legal guardian and child must present these documents:

  • Valid passports of everyone travelling, including child;
  • Valid visa if required; and
  • Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) (or equivalent document if country of residence does not issue a UBC), reflecting particulars of biological or adoptive parent(s), where applicable. (Exceptions below.)

In addition, certain other documents may be requested, as set out below.

1. WHEN THE CHILD IS TRAVELLING WITH BOTH PARENTS

a. Biological parents

The documents in List A.

b. Adoptive parents

The documents in List A plus ONE of the following:

  • Court order confirming the adoption of the minor by the adoptive parent(s); or
  • Adoption Certificate.

c. Legal guardians

The documents in List A plus: 

  • Guardianship Order

child travelling with one parent

2. WHEN THE CHILD IS TRAVELLING WITH ONE PARENT

Hold on, there are quite a few different scenarios here. We tried to set it out as clearly as possible. Please ensure you read through everything and pick the correct category so you have the correct documents.

a. The parents are married

* i. Biological parents whose names are both are on the UBC:

The documents in List A plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

* ii. Adoptive parents:

The documents in List A plus ONE of the following:

  • Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) or equivalent document reflecting particulars of adoptive parent(s) or biological parent(s); or
  • Court order confirming the adoption of the minor by the adoptive parent(s); or
  • Adoption Certificate.

PLUS ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Guardianship Order; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

b. The parents are divorced or legally separated

* i. With equal/specific parental rights and responsibilities:

The documents in List A plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Court order granting FULL parental responsibilities and rights to the travelling parent; or
  • Court order granted in terms of section 18(5) of the Children's Act, 2005; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

* ii. With full parental rights and responsibilities:

The documents in List A plus: 

  • Court order granting FULL parental responsibilities and rights to the travelling parent.

c. The parent is a legal guardian

* i. Joint legal guardianship:

The documents in List A plus:

  • a Guardianship Order.

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

* ii. Full legal guardianship:

The documents in List A PLUS: 

  • Guardianship Order.

d. The parent is widowed

* i. Biological parent:

The documents in List A plus: 

  • Death certificate of the deceased parent.

* ii. Adoptive parent:

The documents in List A plus: 

  • Death certificate of the deceased parent.

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) or equivalent document reflecting particulars of adoptive parent(s) or biological parent(s); or
  • Court order confirming the adoption of the minor by the adoptive parent(s); or
  • Adoption Certificate.

e. Single parent (only one parent on UBC)

To be confirmed. Kindly check with Home Office.

f. Parents not married but both parents' names appear on the UBC

To be confirmed. Kindly check with Home Office. 

children travelling unaccompanied

3. WHEN THE CHILD IS TRAVELLING UNACCOMPANIED

In all cases where kids are travelling alone, these documents in list B must accompany the child.

LIST B:

  • Letter from the person who is to receive the minor in South Africa or foreign country; containing his or her residential address and contact details where the minor will be residing.
  • Proof of identity of the person who is to receive the minor in South Africa or foreign country; either copy of the identity document, or valid passport and visa, or permanent residence permit.
  • Contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the minor.

a. The parents are married

* i. Biological parents and both parents' names are on the UBC:

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B 

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Court order granting sole parental rights and responsibilities; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

* ii. Adoptive parents:

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B 

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) or equivalent document reflecting particulars of adoptive parent(s) or biological parent(s); or
  • Court order confirming the adoption of the minor by the adoptive parent(s); or
  • Adoption Certificate.

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Court order granting sole parental rights and responsibilities; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

b. Parents are divorced (or legally separated)

* i. With specific/equal parental rights and responsibilities:

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Court order granting FULL parental responsibilities and rights; or
  • Court order granted in terms of section 18(5) of the Children's Act, 2005; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

* ii. With full parental rights and responsibilities:

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B 

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Court order granting FULL parental responsibilities and rights.

c. The child has a legal guardian(s)

* i. With joint legal guardianship:

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B 
  • Guardianship Order

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

* ii. With full legal guardianship:

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B 
  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months
  • Guardianship Order

d. The parent is widowed

* i. Biological parent:

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B
  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months
  • Death certificate of the deceased parent

* ii. Adoptive parent:

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B
  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months
  • Death certificate of the deceased parent

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Court order confirming the adoption of the minor by the adoptive parent(s); or
  • Adoption Certificate.

e. Single parent (only one parent on UBC)

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B
  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months.

f. Parents not married but both parents' names appear on the UBC

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Court order granting sole parental rights and responsibilities; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

g. Child in alternative care (foster home, youth care centre, temporary safe care)

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B
  • Letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child resides, authorising his or her departure from the Republic as contemplated in section 169 of the Children's Act.

h. Child is an orphan, without legal guardian or adoption yet

  • The documents in List A
  • The documents in List B
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

travel documents for children travelling without p

4. WHEN THE CHILD IS TRAVELLING WITH AN ADULT THAT IS NEITHER PARENT NOR LEGAL GUARDIAN

Is your child going abroad on a school trip or sports tournament? Read what you'd need to get ready here.

a. Parents are married

* i. Biological parents and both parents' names are on the UBC:

The documents in List A plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

* ii. Adoptive parents:

The documents in List A plus:

  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

b. Parents are divorced (or legally separated)

* i. With specific/equal parental rights and responsibilities:

The documents in List A plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Court order granting FULL parental responsibilities and rights; or
  • Court order granted in terms of section 18(5) of the Children's Act, 2005; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

* ii. With full parental rights and responsibilities:

The documents in List A plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months
  • Court order granting FULL parental responsibilities and rights

c. Child has legal guardian(s)

* i. With joint legal guardianship:

The documents in List A plus:

  • Guardianship Order

Plus ONE of the following:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
  • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

* ii. With full legal guardianship:

The documents in List A plus:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months
  • Guardianship Order

    d. Parent is widowed

    * i. Biological parent:

    The documents in List A plus:

    • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months
    • Death certificate of the deceased parent

    * ii. Adoptive parent:

    The documents in List A plus:

    • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months
    • Death certificate of the deceased parent

    Plus ONE of the following:

    • Court order confirming the adoption of the minor by the adoptive parent(s); or
    • Adoption Certificate.

    e. Single parent (only one parent on UBC)

    The documents in List A plus:

    • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months

    f. Parents not married but both parents' names on the UBC

    The documents in List A plus ONE of the following:

    • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 4 months; or
    • Guardianship Order; or
    • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

    g. Child is in alternative care (foster home, youth care centre, temporary safe care)

    The documents in List A plus:

    • Letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child resides, authorising his or her departure from the Republic as contemplated in section 169 of the Children's Act.

    h. Child is an orphan, without legal guardian or adoption yet

    The documents in List A plus:

    • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

    Source: Department of Home Affairs.

    Disclaimer: We made every effort to represent the information correctly but cannot take responsibility for anything that is incorrect here. Please double-check with and direct all enquiries directly to your local Home Affairs office.

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