Unabridged Birth Certificate For Travelers Under 18 Years Old

Effective from the  1st June 2015, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa will require all passengers under 18 to travel with an Unabridged Birth Certificate.

What Does This Mean?

Travellers flying to or from South Africa should be aware of a new immigration law, effective from June 1st 2015. This new law is not only applicable to flying but also to passengers arriving by boat or travelling by motor vehicle across South African borders. Any traveller under the age of 18 years that does not possess an Unabridged Birth Certificate plus the required documentation will not be granted entry into South Africa or be allowed to exit South Africa.

The South African Department of Home Affairs has instituted new legislation to assist in reducing the heightened increase of human trafficking across the globe. Through South African borders alone, as many as 30,000 minors are annually forced into the slave trade, with half of these being under the tender age of 14 years!


By law, all passengers under the age of 18 will be required, as from June 1st, to produce their passport and an Unabridged Birth Certificate that will detail particulars of each parent. It is the passenger’s responsibility to ensure that this documentation is on hand to avoid being denied boarding an aircraft or ship. Should the ‘Unabridged Birth Certificate’ be written in another language, it must have an attachment of a sworn translation, issued and authorised by an applicable official of that country.

Children Travelling Without Legal Parent

If the child travelling is accompanied by someone who is not one of its parents, the Unabridged Birth Certificate must have included with it, an affidavit from the parents or legal guardians of the child, stating that the child has their permission to travel with that particular person as well as copies of either ID documents or passports and relevant contact information of the parents or legal guardians.


Children Travelling Alone

Children travelling alone will have to produce an Unabridged Birth Certificate as well as documentation, from each parent or the legal guardians, consenting to the child travelling and their contact information including documentation related to the person receiving the child in South Africa that must include the receiving persons contact information, residential address, copies of their ID document, passport or residence permit and significant details of where the child will be staying.

Children Travelling With Only 1 Legal Parent

A child that is travelling with only one parent must produce an affidavit that states the absent parent has granted permission for the child to travel, a court order that grants full parental responsibility or legal guardianship for the child or a death certificate of the parent that is not present. These sworn statements cannot be older than three months from the date of travel.


If you have travel plans for your child, don’t delay in applying for this necessary documentation as there is a possible waiting period of eight weeks or longer from the time of your application. The cost of obtaining an Unabridged Birth Certificate is R75.00.


To obtain an ‘Unabridged Birth Certificate’ you should go to a Home Affairs office nearest to you, in order that your Biometric data may be verified. Necessary documents required are your ID book and the child’s ID number. These documents must be originals or copies that have been officially certified, bearing in mind that certified copies of documents are normally only valid for a six month period.
As Unabridged Birth Certificates have automatically been issued to newborns from 14th March 2013, if your child was born after that date you should be in possession of one.

Who Is Exempt

  • Minors travelling within South Africa, such as from Cape Town to Johannesburg or Port Elizabeth to Cape Town etc;
  • Children travelling as part of a school tour. A letter from the Principal of the school covering all minors travelling, will be acceptable by the Department;
  • Children under 18 years who are passengers on board a ship that is sailing for example, from Cape Town Harbour and returning to Cape Town Harbour or from Durban Harbour, sailing to Cape Town Habour.

Contacts To Remember

  • Department of Home Affairs
  • Department of Home Affairs New Immigration Regulations
  • Department of Home Affairs toll free hotline: 0800 60 11 90
  • We suggest you take the above steps as soon as possible to obtain Unabridged Birth Certificates, and any other documentation required, to avoid any unnecessary and frustrating delays at the airport.
  • The information on this page is a guide to assist people with new South African immigration laws. The information was correct at the time of publishing; domesticflights-southafrica.co.za takes no responsibility for any of the information being out of date or incorrectly noted.
  • Please send us your comments and share your experiences should you have any information to expand this page.