Delayed visa rules for travelling with minors widely welcomed

2014-09-17 09:54
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Cape Town -The delay in implementing two of the new immigration regulations on travelling minors was widely welcomed by the tourism sector.

Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba announced on Tuesday that the new requirement of an unabridged birth certificate for all children travelling to and within South Africa's borders has been postponed until June 1, 2015.

Also see: New visa rules for children put on hold

The original implementation date was set for 1 October 2014.

According to Sapa, the portfolio committee on home affairs said the postponement will enable the department to ‘fine-tune’ their processes.

"This will ensure that those citizens who have already made travel arrangements for the upcoming festive season holidays will not be inconvenienced," committee chairperson Lemias Mashile said in a statement.

Travel agents, tour operators and the aviation sector also expressed their approval of the decision.

"We are pleased that the department of home affairs has come to this decision to postpone the enforcement of the new regulations for travelling with minors," managing director of Flight Centre Andrew Stark said in a statement.

"As we know the application process for an unabridged birth certificate is relatively simple. However it can take over six weeks to process, which puts a lot of pressure on travellers."

The extension would ensure customers were better prepared once it did come into effect in 2015.

Also see: New visa rules - bio-metric requirement to stay

Die Burger reports that Western Cape MEC of tourism Alan Winde said he was extremely pleased with the decision, as the possible negative impact these specific new regulations would have on tourism to South Africa, in general, and the Western Cape specifically had not been investigated in enough depth.  

He added that he would ensure a proper impact study was done and handed over to Gigaba before the rules are implemented in June 2015.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Gigaba expressed the department’s willingness to continue working with tourism stakeholders to ensure that the best possible regulations are put in place effectively.

Watch the full media briefing here:

Traveller24 readers also expressed their relief on social media streams shortly after the announcement was made:

Chase Cameron -  My advice to everyone is, don't sit back now. Home Affairs is the most useless dept in SA (and that's saying alot). It takes over a year to get a certificate, unless you know someone on the inside or use an agent.

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