Cape Town - Would-be travellers can now quickly and accurately determine which documents they’ll need when travelling in and out of South Africa with children, thanks to the Child VISA Checklist App created by local travel company Drive South Africa.
The app - launched as South Africa's new child visa regulations came into play - removes the fear and uncertainty faced by parents trying to work out exactly which documents they need when travelling with their youngsters.
Complex, vague and with glaring errors
In an effort to help the tourism trade understand the new regulations, and share these new requirements with travellers, the Department of Home Affairs issued a standard operating procedure summary document.
In an e-mail sent to all members of the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), David Frost, SATSA CEO, said that he found the summary document “shockingly complicated”.
Apart from the document’s complexity, it is riddled with basic errors (the document title misspells the word 'travelling' as 'TAVELLING'). The document is vague (the word "should" is frequently used where "must" or "required" would be far more definitive) and it is filled with legal jargon from the various Acts, with little or no practical examples provided.
How the South African Child VISA Checklist App works
According to Andre Van Kets, creator of the Child VISA Checklist App, there are “15 different documents and 37 unique scenarios for children travelling in and out of South Africa”.
The web tool simplifies the process of determining which documents are needed, by asking users of the Child visa app two or three simple, multiple-choice questions.
The questions cover:
Who the child is travelling with
- Parental status (married, divorced, legally separated etc.)
- Any other special circumstances (adoption, foster care, whether both parents are still alive, etc.)
Once the user has selected the relevant options, a list of required documents for that traveller’s specific scenario is displayed on screen.
The interactive tool -which works on desktop and mobile -also provides links to official documents from the Department of Home Affairs and answers frequently asked questions in layman's terms.
App aims to remove fear and uncertainty
“We applaud the intentions of the South African Government and Home Affairs in their commitment to preventing child trafficking” said Van Kets, co-founder of Drive South Africa.
“But the way they’ve gone about the implementation is impractical. It creates complexity and uncertainty for families contemplating a holiday to South Africa. We hope the Child VISA Checklist App will remove the fear and uncertainty surrounding the new regulations.”