New Visa Regulations in South Africa [UPDATE]

Last year, we outlined some of the intended changes on visa regulations for travelers visiting South Africa with children (full post below). Today, we are bringing you an important update that will affect many visitors to Cape Town – particularly those who are traveling with children. 

South African Visa Regulations – UPDATE FOR TRAVELERS

After many months of attempts by various Cape Town City officials, tourism officials, travel agencies and other parties to oppose the strict new regulations that apply to visitors coming into South Africa with children, the Department of Tourism and the Department of Home Affairs have announced that they have no intention of changing the regulations. These regulations are expected to be put into place from 1 June 2015 – a few short days away.

A last minute discussion attended by relevant parties was scheduled for Tuesday 26 May 2015, but as of time of going to press, this final resort has not been able to stop the regulations from being put into effect. To recap what this will mean for travelers, the following requirements will now be needed in order for children traveling with adults to enter the country:

  • Every child  under 18 years requires a passport plus an unabridged birth certificate or equivalent document issued in his or her home country.
  • For residents of countries that do not issue unabridged birth certificates, a letter to from the competent authority of the foreign country stating as such should be obtained instead.
  • Birth certificates not in English should be accompanied with a sworn translation.
  • Children traveling with only one parent or guardian must have an affidavit that grants consent from the other parent, or a court order that provides sole custody or guardianship.
  • Unaccompanied children require a passport, unabridged birth certificate and visa if needed, plus affidavit granting consent from both parents or legal guardian, contact information for parents or guardian, details of where the child is staying as well as IDs of host.
  • Adoptive parents will need to show adoption papers if the child’s name on the birth certificate is different to the adoptive parents’ names.
  • If one of the child’s parents is deceased, a death certificate must be produced.
  • Same sex parents are recognised as long as their names both appear on the unabridged birth certificate.
  • Unabridged birth certificates and other related documents for children can be obtained at any Home Affairs office, and cost about R75. It takes about 3 to 8 weeks for this document to be issued.

For more information on obtaining these documents visit the South African Home Affairs online at You can also call +27 11 461 9252 (overseas callers) or 0800 60 11 90 (SA callers), or email [email protected]

For specific enquiries, please contact our friends at New World Immigration or email: [email protected]

We will do whatever we can to assist where possible, and hope that the transition period for the implementation of the new SA visa regulations will not cause undue stress for our visitors. For an extended overview of the regulations, check out our original post below.

South Africa Visa Regulations – August 2014 Update

There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding new visa regulations in South Africa, and to make sure that all of our visitors are fully informed, we wanted to outline some of these changes that may affect those coming to Cape Town and the rest of the country.

South African visa regulations

In a joint decision with the Department of Tourism and the Department of Home Affairs, the South African government plans to implement some changes to their current entry requirements. These changes are set to be put into place on 1 October 2014, and focus largely on traveling with children under the age of 18. There are also some changes that will affect those with work visas, and those who are traveling from visa dependent destinations.

What Are the New Visa Regulations in South Africa?

In an address by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, the following entry regulations will be in effect from 1 October 2014:

  • Every child must possess his or her own passport as well as an unabridged birth certificate or equivalent document issued in his or her home country.
  • Birth certificates that are not in English must be accompanied with a sworn translation.
  • Children traveling with only one parent or guardian must have an affidavit that grants consent from the other parent, or a court order that provides sole custody or guardianship.

Minister Gigaba and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom also stated the following changes in their address to media:

  • Biometric scanners will be installed and used to take electronic photographs and fingerprints at points of entry.
  • Travelers from non visa-free destinations will need to submit their documents and biometric details in their country of origin.
  • Additional visa facilitation centres are being opened in all provinces, with two centres in each of the major city areas such as Cape Town and Johannesburg.
  • Work permits will also undergo changes, becoming work visas instead.
  • The regulations also note a major distinction between short-stay visas and long-stay permanent residence permits.


To read the full list of changes, visit the official South African Home Affairs website by clicking here.

What Does This Mean For Cape Town Travel?

A major concern about the new South African visa regulations is of course how it will affect travel to Cape Town and other popular travel regions across the country.

ComeToCapeTown is offering assist all guests in obtaining the relevant letters needed for the visa application as needed, and we are also standing by to answer any questions that you may have too.

While we are in favour of measures that reduce risk – particularly in the case of child protection, there are many other solutions that can and should be considered beyond excessive entry regulations. The tourism industry plays a vital part in South Africa’s growth, and is a major source of job creation, sustainable development and community upliftment. Changes that affect our visitors affect the entire industry as well as the thousands of people that the industry supports. By adding our voice to the many who are opposing these drastic changes, we hope that our concerns will be heard.

As we hear more updates regarding the visa changes in South Africa, we will share these via our blog so that you can stay up to date.

Update: see official update from Cape Town Tourism here

For specific enquiries, please contact our friends at New World Immigration Email: [email protected]

Remember, these new laws will be in place from 1 October 2014. Make sure that you are prepared, and please contact us should you have any questions on the South Africa visa regulations.



About The Author: Rox

Cape Town based copywriter, blogger, baker of cookies, seeker of calm and maker of things.
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