South Africa Car Rental: New Entry Rules for Children

cheap car hirePlanning a family holiday to South Africa? Lucky you! Just be sure you are prepared for the country’s strict laws on entering and leaving the country with children. Since October 1, 2014, no child (defined as a person under 18 years of age) will be allowed to leave South Africa without producing the child’s unabridged birth certificate.  Read on for further details:

Children Travelling with Both Parents

It’s the holiday of a lifetime, one you’ve all been looking forward to for ages, so make sure it doesn’t end on a sour note. Ensure that each child has his or her full birth certificate containing the details of each parent, in addition to a valid passport for each. You will be required to produce this on leaving the country. This applies even if both parents or travelling. Both South African citizens and foreign nationals must comply with this rule.

Children Travelling with One Parent

If a child is accompanied by just one parent, that parent must be able to produce an unabridged birth certificate, as well as a court order that gives the accompanying parent full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship of the child. If the other parent is no longer alive, the birth certificate must register the death certificate of that parent.

Children Travelling without a Parent/Legal Guardian

Unaccompanied minors must bring proof of consent in the form of a letter or affidavit from both parents/legal guardians that they are allowed to travel into and out of South Africa, and they must also produce a letter from the person who will be taking care of them in South Africa, with that person’s full contact details and a copy of their passport or ID book. The letter must detail the child’s accommodation arrangements and full information on how to contact both parents/legal guardians.

Why All the Regulation?

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs claims that the strict new laws will make travelling in the country safer for children, specifically by protecting them against child trafficking and kidnapping.

Those in the travel industry worry, however, that the regulations will discourage families from holidaying in South Africa. The level of paperwork required could take some time to complete, particularly as unabridged or full birth certificates may have to be applied for and then take weeks to arrive.

Separated parents in particular could face considerable headaches in complying with the regulations. The new rules are likely to face considerable opposition, but, if you plan  to travel to South Africa with children in the near future, you would be wise to start getting your paperwork in order now!