As if visa, passport and travelling plans aren’t complicated enough, travelling with children – yours or someone else’s – means that you have to do some extra planning and include other documents that you would not usually need. It can be frustrating trying to find out all the information, and often there’s a document here or there that you don’t have, or that you didn’t even know you should have, so we have listed all travel documents needed for children in the simplest way possible so that your travel plans will run smoothly and you won’t run into any issues while travelling abroad with your little ones.
First thing’s first: Children of all ages do need visas, just like you do, when travelling to a country that requires them. Passports are also needed for everybody travelling, adult or child.
You will have to get passports from Home Affairs which cost R400 each for kids and adults. You can now apply online, and can see how to here. Your visa cost depends on the country you will be visiting. Some visa’s, like a Schengen visa, cost a percentage less than full visas for children under 5 years old. If you are travelling to the UK, for example, adult and children visas cost the same.
To apply for a children’s visa, you will need unabridged birth certificates for each applying child along with all the same evidence you needed for your regular visa, including proof of funds, itinerary and ties to your home country. Each embassy has a checklist for what documentation is needed when it comes to children. Some countries will want you to include a letter from the child’s school confirming their registration and attendance. Make sure you have one anyway just in case.
- When you are travelling with a stepchild, the mother/father of the child not going with needs to complete an affidavit giving permission for the child to travel outside of SA. You can find the affidavit here or on the Home Affairs website.
- If the child is travelling without both parents, both the mother and father need to fill in the affidavit.
- If you are travelling with your own child but not with the child’s mother/father, you will again need the permission affidavit filled in by the absent parent.
- If one parent is widowed you will need to include the death certificate of the deceased parent to replace a permission affidavit.
Permission Affidavits cannot be older than 4 months.
If the child is adopted you will need an adoption certificate.
If you are the child’s legal guardian you will need your guardianship order
When a child is travelling unaccompanied:
The child must carry on them (other than passport and visa):
- Identity documents of the person receiving the child
- Letter from receiving person containing the residential address where the child will be staying and contact details
- Contact details of parents or legal guardian
- Permission affidavit of both parents/legal guardian
- Make sure that all names in letters from parents/schools match the name in passports to avoid issues at check-in and passport control.
- Double-check the countries you will fly via if they require visas as well.