SA's visa rules for children to change again - report

2015-02-23 09:35 -
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Cape Town - Tourism Update reports the department of home affairs says South Africa’s immigration regulations now require unabridged birth certificates or a country’s equivalent thereof for travelling minors, to be in English.

Many breathed a sigh of relief when the Department of Home Affairs agreed to delay the implementation of an unabridged birth certificate requirement for children travelling to, from or through South Africa until 1, June 2015 – but questions remained for the unique criteria which inadvertently overrides the use of an international passport, to a certain degree. 

The SA immigration requirement for an unabridged birth certificate, which names the child’s mother and father – or the equivalent thereof from their country of origin is said to be a means to curb child trafficking across SA's borders.

But the criteria has in turn badly affected inbound tourism from South Africa's key source markets such as China, with the Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba and the Minister of Tourism opting to add a reprieve in that the unabridged birth certificate would not need to be in English. 

Also see: Changes to be made to new visa rules to minimise impact – Hanekom

However, according to the report this is no longer the case.  In the report department spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete says the birth certificates would have to be in English so that “South Africa’s customs officials could read them”.

Tshwete reportedly also says “most countries supplied birth certificates in English”, including India and China.

According to Tshwete, the change is said to be due to the department realising that the untranslated document was "not going to be feasible and that the translation is going to have to happen, despite what the rules say". 

No official announcement has been made as yet, nor is any statement available on the department's website.

As previously state by Hannekom, the departments have been looking to reduce the negative effects of the immigration regulations, by addressing the number of visa facilitation centres, specifically looking to address the situation in major cities outside of Shanghai, Beijing, Deli and Mumbai for example.

At the time Hannekom said South Africa needs to find the right balance between appropriate measures to protect its boundaries, combat child trafficking and to do it in such a way that it has a “minimal negative impact on tourism”.

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