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Confused About Unabridged Birth Certificates? This Tool Is A Life Saver

Latest update: As of the 4 December 2015 the Department of Home Affairs has put plans in place to assist travellers travelling with minors during the festive season. It will be in effect from December 10 to January 16.

Outbound travellers

Outbound travellers with children are still required to produce:

The Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni, has said there is a team in place to rapidly respond to issues regarding the unabridged birth certificate and to ensure that the certificate is issued within the specific period.

“It takes eight weeks to apply for and be issued with the UBC – which is required for each traveling child,” Mkuseli said “Those whose applications have exceeded eight weeks and have not received the certificates are advised to visit their Home Affairs office where they will be given a letter to use in the place of the UBC. This is only in the event that they need to travel.

Children under the age of 18 who already have passports:

The Department has done a pre-modification so that Home Affairs offices are able to issue them with the UBC on the spot.

“Where there are problems with the application, sms messages will be sent to the applicants concerned, encouraging them immediately to go to the office where they had applied, to receive assistance so that officials may issue the certificates timeously,” eTWN reported Mkuseli said.

Going forward:

Details of parents will be printed in children’s passports meaning that parents whose particulars were printed would not be required to carry birth certificates when travelling with their children.

Extended office hours at selected ports of entry during the busy festive season. Find out more here.

Dedicated phone numbers for travellers requiring assistance with the unabridged birth certificates:

072 634 0614 / 072 634 0589 / 073 567 6208 / 073 567 5968.

Good to know:

From April 2016:

The term Unabridged Birth Certificate will be changed to Birth Certificate.

Enter this tool – the Child Visa Checklist App. Developed by Drive South Africa, a subsidiary of The Discover Africa Group, the web app simplifies the complexity of the new South African child visa requirements by distilling 15 different documents and 37 unique scenarios for children travelling in and out of South Africa into an easily digested format. The tool asks three pointed questions to help travellers:

Have you travelled to/from South Africa with children since 1 June 2015? Please complete our Unabridged Birth Certificates feedback survey and help us monitor the situation.

Non-South African Citizens travelling to SA

It will still be required that original birth certificates and, as necessary, parental consent or certified copies are submitted during the visa application process.

For visa-exempt countries a strong advisory will be issued, with travellers advised to have proof of relationship and consent from the absent parent/s or guardian/s, in case they are asked to provide such on arrival. The status quo will remain until such time the Department of Home Affairs has provided a legal instrument for this category of travellers.

It has been recommended by the US Embassy that US citizens (and other visa-free travellers) should carry an authorisation letter that is notarised. You may not be asked for this but in the meantime it seems like the best possible insurance against complications at the border.

When a child is travelling alone to South Africa the child must carry a letter from the person that will be receiving them in South Africa, containing the person’s address and contact details, as well as a copy of the host’s identity document or passport (in this case it is probable that no birth certificate will be required).

How it works

After inputting the scenario appropriate information users are directed to a list of required documents for that traveller’s specific scenario (e.g. Child is travelling with both parents) is displayed on screen.

The tool works on desktop and mobile devices and provides links to downloadable documents from the Department of Home Affairs, as well as answering frequently asked questions in layman’s terms.

Try the app now.

Unabridged Resources:

Have you travelled to/from South Africa with children since 1 June 2015? Please complete our Unabridged Birth Certificates feedback survey and help us monitor the situation.

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