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Home Affairs: Travelling parents have time to prepare

Malusi Gigaba says parents must apply well in advance for their children’s unabridged birth certificates.

Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba says parents must apply well in advance for their children’s unabridged birth certificates. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says parents must apply well in advance for their children's unabridged birth certificates if they're planning to travel abroad.

Gigaba says the new regulations for children under the age of 18 travelling out of and into South Africa are not being scrapped but only postponed to June 2015.

"Citizens who applied for passports in respect to children or minors will be encouraged by frontline officials to apply for unabridged certificates for such minors at the same time."

The new immigration regulations for children will now kick in next year in June.

Gigaba agreed to the nine-month postponement after meeting with travel and tourism bodies who said there hadn't been enough time to properly inform South Africa missions abroad and travel operators about the new rules

"The postponement is aimed at encouraging citizens to apply well in advance and obtain the required unabridged birth certificate for minors or children they intend traveling with."

The regulations were to have kicked in on 1 October to the consternation of the travel and tourism sector.

Gigaba said the postponement will also give the travel and tourism industry time to inform travellers of the new requirement.

"We are not doing away with them, we are just postponing them until 1 June to allow the people affected in the industry to consult and communicate and inform their members and the people affected."

He said South African parents intending to travel with their children should use the postponement to apply for unabridged birth certificates in good time.

ZIMBABWE WELCOMES THE POSTPONEMENT

The decision by Home Affairs has been widely welcomed in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

The department's announcement has come as a welcome relief to Zimbabweans.

Obtaining birth certificates is already an onerous process in Zimbabwe and the delay in the regulations will give locals more time to prepare for when the rules are implemented.

However, a number of Zimbabwean travellers have revealed they were already being asked for birth certificates for their children at the Beitbridge Border Post, saying the requirement has been in force unofficially since last year.

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