Planning on travelling overseas with kids anytime soon? New regulations by the Department of Home Affairs may cause chaos for families who are travelling in the next few months.
The Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) warns that the new requirement by the Department of Home Affairs to be introduced from 01 July, means you’ll need to make extra arrangements to take your kids travelling with you.
In the amendment to the Immigration Act (regulation 6), it has been announced by the Department of Home Affairs that as of 1 July 2014 anyone travelling from or to South Africa with children under 18 must be in possession of a fully unabridged birth certificate, in addition to a valid passport, and without this, travel will be denied.
Otto de Vries, CEO of ASATA says ‘Our understanding is that until recently unabridged birth certificates were not issued automatically and that people have to apply for them. This can be a lengthy process, and this is a major concern for our travellers. With a school holiday period only days away, we are working with other partner associations within the business and travel community to engage with the relevant government bodies to have this new regulation delayed until such time as there has been due consultation with the industry at large on this issue.’
‘We are aware that this new regulation is related to the global issue of child trafficking and as an association we stand behind all efforts to curb this. However, we strongly oppose that the implementation of this new regulation takes place as soon as 01 July 2014. The implications for our industry are of grave concern. Travel agents, airlines, tour operators and airport staff worldwide need appropriate notice in order to be educated on such changes in regulations, we can only foresee confusion and negative outcomes for the South African travel industry.’
‘It is of major importance to us that ASATA member agents have the latest up-to-date information to pass on to their clients and we will therefore continue to engage with all concerned by this very important issue,’ concluded Otto.
ASATA advises all those passengers who are travelling, in the near future, with children, to take note of this regulation and consult with their ASATA professional travel agent, to enquire with their local Department of Home Affairs, and to ensure that they take the necessary actions to avoid disappointment and delays in their travel plans.