All visitors need a valid passport to enter South Africa.
The passport must have at least 30 days remaining from the intended date of departure and must have two blank pages for entry stamps.
Please note that:
- Machine-readable passports that have been extended are not accepted in South Africa
- Minor’s passports that have been extended could cause entry issues. It is advised that if a minor’s passport is to be used for a trip to South Africa, a new passport should be issued to be on the safe side. This South African entry regulation applies to minor passports from any country
For more details on this, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website here.
Unless the visitor comes from a visa-exempt country it is necessary to present a valid visa.
Travellers who require a visa can apply through the South African e-Visa system if their country is currently catered for in the pilot phase, otherwise, they must apply at a South African embassy or consulate in person and provide biometric data.
Currently, there are several visa-exempt countries for South Africa. Citizens of these countries can enter the country without a visa for limited periods.
To view an up-to-date list of countries catered for via e-Visa or the list of visa-exempt and visa-required countries, please visit South Africa Visa Requirements and Eligible Countries.
Travelling With Minors
- Foreign visa-required minors will have their birth certificates processed during their visa application and do not need to produce the document for inspection at the airport upon arrival. A minor presenting a passport which contains the details of his or her parent or parents is not required to produce a birth certificate/equivalent document
- Foreign visa-exempt minors do not need to present their birth certificate or parental consent letters
- Supporting documents are not required where minors are in direct transit at an international airport
There is often confusion around this issue since unabridged birth certificates were introduced as a travel requirement for minors arriving in South Africa in 2015. This document was initially required to help prevent child trafficking. However, on Friday, November 8th, 2019, South African government officials announced that birth certificates and consent letters are no longer required.
Minors accompanied by both parents, or one parent, or travelling with a person who is not the biological parent, requires:
- A valid passport
- A valid visa, if from a visa-required country
Copy of the passport(s)/identity document(s) of the parent(s) / legal guardian(s) Contact details of the parent(s)/ legal guardian(s)A valid passport A valid visa, if from a visa-required country Copy of birth certificate / equivalent document Parental consent letters by the parent(s) cited on the birth certificate of the minor. Where parent(s) cited on the birth certificate/equivalent document are unable to consent to the travel by a child due to recent death, persons related to the minor(s) may apply for a special dispensation in lieu of parental consent by directing a request and full motivation, together with all supporting documents, to the Office of the Director-General of Home Affairs, at the following e-mail address: email@example.com Note: This dispensation does not apply where a parent is either unwilling to consent or unable to be located due to separation or divorce Where a parent refuses to give consent, a court order in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005), may be presented in lieu of parental consent
In the case of school tours, the parental consent letter may be replaced with a letter from the school principal confirming that all consent letters are held by the school. Upon producing this letter, immigration officers at ports of entry and South African missions abroad would not require any additional documents from individual scholars such as parental consent, birth certificates, death certificates, court orders or copies of the passports or identity documents of the parents and of the person receiving the minor in SA.
This special dispensation applies to all schools registered with the Department of Basic Education in South Africa and its equivalent abroad in respect of South African and visa-required minors.
Download the suggested format for this letter here
Travellers, including minors, coming from countries where yellow fever is prevalent need to present a certificate showing they have been vaccinated.
No COVID vaccination documents are required for South Africa.
- An extract from the Birth Register containing the particulars of a minor and his/her parent(s). Birth certificates containing the details of a minor as well as his/her parent/s are accepted for the purposes of these requirements regardless of the country of issue
- In the case of countries that do not issue birth certificates, an ’equivalent document’ containing the particulars of the minor and his/her parent(s), issued by the competent authority of that country, or an embassy of that country may be produced
- Suggested format for Equivalent Document is available here
- South African law regards any person younger than 18 years as a child.
- In the case of countries that endorse the particulars of parents in minors’ passports, or other official identification documents, these documents shall be acceptable for the purpose of establishing the identity of the parents of the travelling minor
Letter of Special Circumstances
- Letter issued by the Director-General of Home Affairs in lieu of parental consent in the event of a recent death or mental or physical disability
- Unless the context indicates otherwise, the word “parent” includes adoptive parents and legal guardians.
Parental Consent Letter
- Must accompany a birth certificate when any parent is not travelling with his or her child
- Must not be older than 6 months when presented
- Suggested format of the Parental Consent letter is available here