South Africa’s Stringent New Immigration Regulations

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South Africa, a developed nation with a net migration rate of -6.27 migrants per 1,000 people, has enacted a series of stringent new immigration regulations that went into effect on May 26. These regulations address traveling with children, yellow fever laws, and passport validity; new laws specifically concerning children will not go into effect until October 1, 2014.

Children and those traveling with them must now produce certain documents that meet specific requirements, depending on the relationship of travelers escorting the children and their final destination. Refer to the Traveling With Children annex (below) for more details.

New laws regarding yellow fever apply to all travelers entering South Africa via yellow fever-designated countries, even if a flight is stopping at an airport to refuel and no travelers deplane. Travelers must be prepared to produce an original yellow fever vaccination card; South Africa will no longer provide vaccinations at ports of entry, so travelers must obtain a vaccination no less than ten days before arriving there.

Finally, expatriates and others working in South Africa must return to their respective countries of origin to apply for a new visitor’s visa (including a renewal application for an expired visa). This includes anyone who seeks to transition from a visitor’s visa to a resident visa.

Annex:  Traveling With Children

Beginning October 1, South African customs will require parents traveling with one or more children to comply with the following regulations regarding their child(ren):

  • When both parents are traveling with a child, they must produce an official birth certificate for the child.   Click here to review the South African standard for birth certificates.
  • When one parent is traveling with a child, he/she must produce an official unabridged birth certificate for the child and one of the following items:
    • An affidavit from the other parent, registered on the birth certificate, authorizing the traveling parent to enter or depart South Africa with the child.
    • A court order granting the traveling parent full legal guardianship of the child.
    • A death certificate for the other parent (if deceased); also, the deceased parent must be registered as one of the child’s parents on the child’s birth certificate.
  • When a traveler accompanies a child but is not the child’s biological parent, he/she must produce the  following items:
    • A copy of the child’s unabridged birth certificate.
    • An affidavit from the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the child that grants the traveler permission to travel with the child.
    • A copy of the identity document(s) and/or passport(s) of the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the child.
    • Contact information for the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the child.
  • An unaccompanied child must produce:
    • An affidavit/letter from the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the child that grants the child permission to enter or leave South Africa.
    • A letter from the person in South Africa receiving the child, including both a residential address and contact information.
    • A copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person receiving the child in South Africa.
    • The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.

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