Back in June 2015, new South African immigration law came into effect. It stated that all foreign minors (anyone below 18 years old) had to produce an Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC – showing the particulars of both parents) together with a valid passport (and visa if required) upon entering and exiting the country. The decision was immediately opposed by tourism associations across the country as the new red tape had a devastating impact on family tourism to South Africa with immediate effect.

Several key industry associations, including the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), have lobbied fervently for the removal of this travel requirement since its implementation – a misguided attempt to combat the worldwide problem of child trafficking.

Last week, the South African Department of Home Affairs announced that UBC requirements have now been scrapped for foreign minors travelling to South Africa. Only a valid passport (and visa where necessary) is now required. This applies when a foreign minor is travelling with one parent, both parents, or someone who is not their parent. Unaccompanied minors, however, require additional accompanying documents, one of which is a copy of his/her UBC.

You can click here to read the full advisory as per the Home Affairs website:



Travel information for South African minors

According to this advisory, there are however different requirements in place for South African children travelling locally within the country. These vary according to who the child is travelling with.

It’s best to check with your local consulate / Immigration Department before travelling with children to ensure your documentation complies with requirements so you don’t run into difficulties en route.

For more information visit the Home Affairs website:

 The information on this page is a guide to assist people with new South African immigration laws. The information was correct at the time of publishing and Portfolio Journeys takes no responsibility for any of the information being out of date or incorrectly noted.