SA minors' passports to change from February 2017

2016-12-07 14:12 - Selene Brophy
Post a comment 0

Cape Town - Visa regulation concerns might not be as bad as they were last year this time - but still a few hiccups exist, as SA prepares for a bumper summer season - with international arrivals up by 5.5% in the last quarter. 

The Director-General of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni and his Tourism counterpart, Victor Tharage met on Wednesday to discuss the latest concessions on immigration regulations.

Two main concerns are the implementation of biometrics collection and clarity around travel requirements for minors.

SEE: SA's visa rules in review: 5 key developments to keep an eye on

Passports for minors

On Wednesday the DHA tweeted confirmation that South African passports for minors "will include parental details from February 2017".

The DHA has done away with the Unabridged version of SA's Birth Certificate and now only issues Birth Certificates detailing both parents' particulars - with the minor's passport set to be the main travel document.

The industry has however complained about long-standing confusion over South Africa's travelling minor visa requirements - specifically for minors coming from visa-exempt countries.

According to the TBCSA, the regulation states that parents "may be required’’ to present Birth Certificates on arrival into South Africa. However there was no clarity regarding the 'vague' wording of the regulation as raised by TBCSA, which it says is open to interpretation and leads to even more confusion on the ground".

SEE: UPDATE: SA to introduce new passport measures for minors

According to a tweet by the DHA, the birth certificate is required. Therefore it cannot be assumed that having a minor's passport does not exempt the need to travel with the minor's birth certificate. 

Travellers from visa-exempt countries are advised to err on the side of caution and have all the necessary documentation in place to avoid any disruptions to their travel plans. 

Biometric collection

Biometrics collection for first-time visiting foreign nationals has been in effect since January 2016 at SA's four major airports - Lanseria, OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports. The process initially caused severe backlogs and delays - at OR Tambo specifically - as too few immigration officers were on duty to facilitate the volume of passengers.

SEE: Biometric data bottleneck to cause OR Tambo 'festive season havoc'

Following an outcry over the lengthy biometric capturing process in October, Apleni reiterated that the collection would continue, despite a peak season increase.

Measures have since been put in place to ease traffic flow and levels of congestion for the peak festive season period, including plans to make travellers more comfortable in the queues as well as using ushers to manage flow of passengers who urgently need to board.

SEE Biometric Delays: 3 quick-fixes to ease festive season spike at SA airports

On Wednesday the DHA again confirmed via twitter from the briefing session that biometrics collection would continue adding, "Between now and March 2017, we will be implementing the biometric system at high volume land ports of entry."

The six land-based border posts to receive the biometric data capturing are Kopfontein, Maseru Bridge, BeitBridge, Lebombo, Oshoek and Ficksburg.

The DHA also announced on Wednesday that a new  Visa facilitation centre would be opening in  in 2017.

Traveller24 has asked the DHA for full details on the briefing and is awaiting a response.

What to read next on Traveller24

Biometric Delays: 3 quick-fixes to ease festive season spike at SA airports

EU unveils new security check system for travellers

Travel alert issued for South Africans heading to Europe this festive season