South Africa scraps controversial birth certificate rule

Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has signed a waiver which allows foreign children to enter the country without carrying additional supporting documents such as birth certificates and consent letters.

The rules, which were first introduced under former Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba, required all people travelling with minors (under the age of 18) to produce an unabridged birth certificate, and a letter of parental consent if the child is not travelling with both parents, when departing from and arriving in South Africa.

In a statement, the Department of Home Affairs said that the waiver applies retroactively from Friday (8 November) following the minister’s signature.

“This improvement in our admissions policy builds on the work the department has been doing to contribute to economic growth and investment,” said Motsoaledi.

“As of Friday, 8 November 2019, foreign children can enter and depart the country without being required to provide birth certificates, consent letters and other supporting documents relating to proof of parentage,” he said.

He said that his department has communicated the changes to immigration officials at the country’s ports of entry and to the airline and maritime industries.

He added that South African children are still required to provide supporting documents, in line with the requirements of the Children’s Act. The same applies to unaccompanied foreign children.

However, foreign children who require a visa for South Africa do not need to carry the supporting documents for inspection at a port of entry since these would be processed together with their visa applications.

“It is significant that we have completed the policy changes in the week in which President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted the second Investment Conference,” said Motsoaledi

“We anticipate that this change will have a positive impact on tourism as we approach the holiday season.”

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South Africa scraps controversial birth certificate rule