Birth papers respite

2014-06-11 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A grace period of three months has been allocated so that under 18s can travel across SA borders without an unabridged birth certificate.

The new immigration rules were announced last week by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba with the aim to stop child trafficking and abductions, and were supposed to have come into effect from July 1.

The new regulations require parents who arrive to, travel from or are in transit in South African with children to have an unabridged birth certificate to show at border posts.

This certificate must include the details of the travelling child’s father as well as the mother.

This applies even when both parents are travelling with their children and it applies to foreigners and South Africans alike.

Home Affairs yesterday announced the date on which the new rule come into effect had been postponed to October 1.

This reprieve means parents who had booked holidays to neighbouring states or overseas destinations months ago, will now still able to travel through SA customs border posts with their children during the June the school holidays without having to show an unabridged birth certificate for each child under 18.

Discussions on forums indicate it takes about eight weeks to get the certificate from Home Affairs.

The Board of Airline representatives of South Africa (Barsa), yesterday warned South Africa stood to lose more than R6,8 billion in tourism income due to the new immigration regulations.

Barsa pointed while it was a noble idea to try and stem child trafficking, the new immigration regulation had for more unintended consequences.

Barsa said South Africa would be the only country in the world to demand an unabridged birth certificate with the biological parent’s details and permissions.

Barsa said these regulations would not only cause huge confusion and disruption for tourists and domestic travellers, but would also require airlines to deny parents from flying with their families if the parents cannot furnish the necessary unabridged birth certificate or court documents.

Barsa said apart from the billions in lost income, job losses in the tourism sector would be unavoidable

Home Affairs is, however, insistent that the new immigration regulation will only be postponed to October 1, and urged citizens and tourists to apply for the unabridged birth certificate in the interim.

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