SOUTH Africa government has delayed implementation of the requirement for children under the age of 18 to present an unabridged birth certificate until June 1, 2015.
In the instances where children are travelling with one parent, the government has also postponed the written permission required under the new regulations until June 1.
But the requirement that visitors apply for visas in person will stay in place and there is no postponement for this requirement, said the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba at a media briefing held recently.
Gigaba said this requirement, which is due to come into effect on October 1, is not unique to SA and is required of visitors by other countries.
His announcement follows a meeting last week with industry associations, including International Air Transport Association (Iata), Association of South Africa Travel Agents (Asata) and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).
Gigaba said that, since the regulations were announced, the department had made it clear that it was open to engagement. He thanked industry representatives who had engaged the department on new regulations. He said different stakeholders had drawn the department’s attention to challenges around the requirements for children travelling.
Industry associations – including SATSA, BARSA, ASATA and IATA – have spent the past two months actively lobbying for a postponement of the new regulations to allow time for them to be effectively communicated and systematically implemented.
Under the new regulations, individuals travelling to South Africa on a visa are required to apply for the visa in person. Parents travelling with children under the age of 18 are required to produce an unabridged birth certificate for each child. In the case where only one parent is travelling with the child(ren), consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered is required. Alternatively, either a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or a death certificate of the other parent must be produced.
The regulations also require that people apply in person for visas to allow for biometric intake. Minister Gigaba suggested last week that this regulation was already in place and called on missions abroad to start implementing this requirement.
Reacting to the decision, Vice President National Association of Nigeria Travel agencies (NANTA) and MD All States Travel and Tours Limited, Alhaji Saleh K. Rabo, said the postponement is a welcome development, wondering why South Africa needs to introduce further restriction on travelling, while it is seeking tourism growth.
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Child Travel Rules: South Africa Delays Implementation
Posted on September 25, 2014