Unabridged Birth Certificate for Minors:
All You Need to Know

Since 8 November 2019, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa has changed the Unabridged Birth Certificate rule for foreign minors travelling to South Africa. Foreign children under the age of 18 can enter the country without carrying additional documents such as birth certificates and consent letters, if they’re accompanied by their parents. However, South African children still require the Unabridged Birth Certificate.

What is an Unabridged Birth Certificate?

An Unabridged Birth Certificate is a document containing information of both biological parents or legal guardians. Unaccompanied passengers under the age of 18 require them in addition to the other required documents (passports, visa stamps, etc.) when entering or exiting South Africa.

Who needs an Unabridged Birth Certificate?

South African children (under the age of 18) require the Unabridged Birth Certificate. The same rule applies to unaccompanied foreign children flying to South Africa.

It is the responsibility of passengers to ensure their children have the correct documents or stand the risk of being denied boarding. The law is being enforced by airlines and immigration officials across the board (land, sea and air). Although airlines and travel agents are doing everything to keep passengers informed, ultimately it is passengers’ responsibility to know all the requirements.

In cases where the Unabridged Birth Certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned.

How do I get an Unabridged Certificate?

If you have a child under the age of 18, and still need to get an Unabridged Birth Certificate, you can apply at your preferred Department of Home Affairs branch or a South African embassy, mission or consulate. The application fee is R 75.00.

The documents you will need include:

  • The Identity Documents of the parents and the child’s ID number
  • All documents need to be original or certified copies

When a child is born, parents need to register their child’s birth within 30 days from their date of birth. After you have submitted your registration application, you will receive an Unabridged Birth Certificate at no additional cost. According to the Department of Home Affairs, you will receive the certificate a day or so after you have submitted your application.

Applying for an Unabridged Birth Certificate for travel

The process can take up to eight weeks. If your intended travel date is within this period, inform the Department of Home Affairs of this, and they will give you an official letter to use in place of the Unabridged Birth Certificate.

Please note

If your infant was born after 14 March 2013, you should have an Unabridged Birth Certificate.

Certified copies of documents are usually only valid for six months.

Minors travelling in school groups or with their grandparents are not exempt from the requirement

After April 2016, the Department of Home Affairs changed the term Unabridged Birth Certificate to Birth Certificate.
All birth certificates issued after April 2016 contain the information travellers require to exit or enter South Africa.

All birth certificates issued after April 2016 contain the information travellers require to exit or enter South Africa.

South African Travellers

If one parent is travelling with a child/children

The child will need to have an Unabridged Birth Certificate, as well as the following:

  • Affidavit granting consent from the other parent (no longer than three months before the intended travel date) or;
  • A court order granting the parent full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child or;
  • A death certificate of the other parent.

South African and Foreign National Travellers

If a child is travelling without his/her parents

The following is required:

  • Proof of consent from both of the child’s parents or legal guardians;
  • Copies of the Identity Documents or passports of the parents or legal guardians;
  • Letter from the person receiving them, including copy of host’s ID/ passport.

If only one parent gives consent, he or she needs to additionally supply the following documents:

  • A court order which grants the parent or legal guardian full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child;
  • The contact details of the parent or legal guardian.

Who is exempt?

The new law does not apply to children travelling domestically. For example, between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Contact Information

You can contact the Department of Home Affairs for all Unabridged Birth Certificate information.

Contact number: 0800 60 11 90

Email: hacc@dha.gov.za


For more information, visit the Department of Home Affairs birth certificates page.


All information on this page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of information from this website.


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