Unabridged Birth Certificates

We would be able to assist with reprints of home affairs documents, depending on where the original document was issued.

On the 1st of June 2015, the South African Department of Home Affairs introduced new travel regulations, requiring all passengers under the age of 18 to travel in and out of the country with an Unabridged Birth Certificate, along with the consent of both parents.  Failure to do so would lead to the minor being prevented from boarding a flight.

Prior to 2013, every child born in South Africa would have been issued with a standard abridged birth certificate, showing only their mother’s name. An Unabridged Birth Certificate shows both parents’ names.

The updated travel regulations may seem unnecessary, and excessive but in fact, the law was introduced to combat child trafficking and to improve the safety of children. According to the Department of Home Affairs, 30 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders every year. 50% of these minors are under the age of 14.


What you need to know

A South African birth certificate and Identity document. Home af
An unabridged birth certificate is a document that contains the first name and surname, date of birth, place of birth, ID number, sex and country of birth of the individual. It also includes information of both biological parents or legal guardians. In terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992 all children born in South Africa must be registered within 30 days of their birth. Once the child’s birth has been registered, an unabridged birth certificate is issued free of charge.  
The South African Immigration Act’s requires all minors travelling into and out of South Africa be in possession of an Unabridged Birth Certificate, including South African citizens and travellers who are not South African citizens. Whether travelling minors are accompanied by a parent or guardian it is the responsibility of passengers to ensure their children have the correct documents or stand the risk of being denied boarding. In all cases, an Unabridged Birth Certificate is required for minors departing and arriving in South Africa ... they are not allowed to travel without it. The law is strictly enforced by airlines and immigration officials across the board. If the child was not born in South Africa, and if the original unabridged birth certificate is not written in English, then a sworn English translation performed by an accredited authority in the minor’s country of origin must be provided.  
If you are not already in possession of your child’s Unabridged Birth Certificate, and still need it, then you can apply at your preferred Department of Home Affairs branch or a South African embassy, mission, or consulate. The documents you will need include:
  • The Identity Documents of the parents and the child’s ID number
  • All documents need to be original or certified copies
  • Completed BI-24 Form, (filled in with black ink only) to register child’s birth
If your intended travel date is within this period, inform the Department of Home Affairs of this, and they will give you an official letter to use in place of the Unabridged Birth Certificate. Please note
  • Certified copies of documents are usually only valid for six months.
  • Minors traveling in school groups or with their grandparents are not exempt from the requirement
  • After April 2016, the Department of Home Affairs changed the term Unabridged Birth Certificate to Birth Certificate.
  • All birth certificates issued after April 2016 contain the information travelers require to exit or enter South Africa.