South Africa introduces new rules when travelling with children

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If you are travelling to South Africa with children, you should be aware that from June 1, there are additional documentation requirements. These documents, which vary depending on individual circumstances, will need to provided and will be checked by airlines, prior to flying to South Africa.

Broadly speakimg, anyone arriving in South Africa with a child will have to prove parenthood or guardianship. Lone adults flying in with their children will need to be able to show that the non-travelling partner consents to the travel. The new rules apply to all visitors travelling to South Africa or transiting through the country with children under the age of 18.

The rule change was originally slated to come into force in October last year, but was postponed to June. The motivation for the change is an attempt to counter child-trafficking operations that exist on the African continent. Govenrment estimates suggesr 30,000 children are trafficked into South Africa annually, often for prostitution or labour. The figure, is, however disputed, with opposition parties, human rights groups and tourism firms say the true figure is much lower.

The new rules from the Department of Home Affairs require minors travelling with both parents to have an unabridged birth certificate with full details of both parents, as well as a passport and visa.

It gets more complex for complex for children travelling with a single parent, or with adults that aren’t their biological parents. In these cases, additional documentation will be required.

Airlines carrying people to South Africa will need to verify the documentation prior to travelling to South Afrrica.

Qantas has updated its website, outlining the various possible documentation requirements.

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