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Travel trade slams new South Africa visa rules


Rules require birth certificate if parents travel with children
South Africa’s tourism industry has criticised tough new visa regulations that come into effect today in the country.
The rules say that visitors must apply for visas in person at embassies abroad as they have to get their biometric data captured at an embassy.
Most controversially, all parents and guardians travelling in or out of the country with children must carry with them an unabridged birth certificate showing both parents’ details. This applies to minors aged 17 years and under.
However, if both parents are travelling with valid passports and visas, an unabridged certificate is not required. This is because it would have been presented on application for a passport. According to media reports, the new rules are designed to stop child trafficking in South Africa.
Otto de Vries, chief executive of the Association of Southern Africa Travel Agents, is not happy with the new restrictions, commenting: “The one side is the where unabridged birth certificates and the other side is the biometric visas. Biometric visas are indeed best practice, however in order to implement it, you have to have the machinery in place.
“In terms of the unabridged birth certificates, this is a unique requirement. SA is the only country in the world that requires children under the age of 18 to carry with them besides a passport and a visa […] an unabridged birth certificate.”


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