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A leading specialist operator to South Africa has voiced concern over tough new rules being imposed on families entering the country.
Parents travelling with children under 18 may be asked to show the child’s full birth certificate from June 1.
Proof of parental or legal authority to travel with a child will be requested from single parents.
The stricter immigration rules, devised to tackle child abduction and the trafficking of young people, were originally to be implemented on October 1 but were delayed until next month
The new red tape means that parents will need to produce an unabridged birth certificate showing both of their names and, if the document is not in English, a sworn translation is required.
Single parents, or those travelling alone with their child, will also have to produce an affidavit - no older than three months on the date of travel - in which the absent parent consents to the child travelling, a court order giving full parental responsibility or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the other parent.
If a child is travelling with adults who are not his or her parents, they must also present an affidavit from the parents or legal guardians, plus copies of the biological parents’ passports and their contact details in addition to an unabridged birth certificate.
Chris McIntryre, managing director of safari operator Expert Africa, said: “Whilst I applaud the ethical concerns that seem to have driven this South African legislation, I'm obviously concerned about South Africa becoming that bit harder to enter for some families.
“South Africa’s Cape is malaria-free - it’s our most popular destination for families with young children.
“Cape Town, the Garden Route and the game reserves of the Eastern Cape are all really popular - and in fact I’ve taken my own young children there for the last two years for their first Africa trips.
“So we’re very apprehensive that this change might discourage visitors in any way - and seems to be particularly challenging for single parents, and other families who aren’t all travelling in the traditional structure of two ‘biological parents’.”
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