South African Regulations – Children Younger than 18 Years

by Alessia Andretta

All documents must be in English, except birth certificates which may be in another language. The parental consent letter must be issued within 6 months prior to the date of travel.    

Minors younger than 18 years, traveling to/from South Africa must carry the following documentation when travelling:  

a. with both parents, must carry a copy of a birth certificate or passport containing the details of the parent or parents of the child; 

b. with 1 parent, must hold a copy of a birth certificate, a parental consent letter from the absent parent or legal guardian containing a copy of his/her passport or identity document and his/her contact details; or a letter of special circumstances; or a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or full legal guardianship to the present parent. - In case the other parent is deceased, a death certificate. 

c. with an adult other than a parent, must hold a copy of a birth certificate, parental consent letters, copies of identification documents of parents/legal guardians, contact details of parents/legal guardians and contact details of the person in whose care the minor will be. 

d. when traveling as a primary or secondary school tour with a teacher or a trainer, must hold a letter of consent from the school principal, confirming that consent letters from all parents are held by the school, together with a ID/passport copy of the accompanying teacher or trainer. 

e. unaccompanied, must hold a copy of a birth certificate, a parental consent letter/s containing a copy of his/her/their passport/s or identity document/s and his/her/their contact details (or consent from one parent together with a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship or death certificate); letter from the person receiving the minor in South Africa, containing address and contact details; copy of identification documents of the person receiving the minor, including visa/residence permit (if required).  

f. who are children of diplomatic and consular representatives accredited in South Africa, must hold an accreditation card issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation containing information about the child. 

g. if in alternative care, shall produce: a valid passport and a letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child resides authorising his or her departure from the Republic as contemplated in section 169 of the Children’s Act (Act No. 38 of 2005).    



  • This does not apply to South African minors traveling to South Africa.  
  • This does not apply to holders of a valid visa.  
  • This does not apply to holders of a temporary residence permit issued by South Africa.  
  • A full birth certificate is not required if the information of both parents is included in the passport or other official travel documents of the minor.  
  • This does not apply to minors in transit in South Africa.  
  • Pending the issuance of a birth certificate containing the information of the adoptive parent(s), an adopted child must hold an adoption order - “Parents” include legal guardians. 

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