Minister relaxes birth certificate travel rule
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UNABRIDGED birth certificates may have left parents in a tailspin after they were implemented as child travel requirements last year, but Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba yesterday announced the highly contentious law would be relaxed.
The simplified requirements for under 18s travelling into the country accompanied by a single parent or a guardian are expected in March, after months of review.
“Where a birth certificate has been applied for and cannot be produced or obtained at the time of travel, an official letter stating this can be obtained from the nearest Home Affairs office before travelling through a port of entry,” Gigaba said.
The minister also advised South African parents to apply for birth certificates when they applied for child passports as, in future, details of parents would be printed in the passports. This would mean birth certificates would not be required when travelling with their children.
This is in addition to the requirements for valid passports, and visas, where applicable. It also applied to affidavits confirming parental consent to the child’s travel in the event that one parent was not travelling.
The change comes after a public outcry over visa requirements for children travelling into the country from visa-exempt countries.
For people from countries not requiring visas, like Britain, Gigaba said Home Affairs would in future issue a “strong travel advisory which says ‘you are strongly advised to provide a birth certificate for this child’.” This was because the department needed to establish the relationship between the minor travelling with the adult.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the influx of holidaymakers, the department has deployed 92 additional staff at OR Tambo International Airport from today until January 14, considered the busiest period.