Quick Way to Understand South Africa's New Child Visa Laws

The South African government’s new child visa laws came into play on 1 June 2015.

According to Mayihlome Tshwete, South African Department of Home Affairs Spokesperson, “The new visa regulations are here for the foreseeable future.”

The South African Department of Home Affairs published standard operating proceduresfor airlines and the tourism industry to follow. The department also published a leaflet on their website, intended to help would-be travellers.

In an email sent to all members of the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), David Frost, SATSA CEO, said that he found the documents “shockingly complicated”.

"The regulations are complex, daunting and not easily accessible for local and international travellers", says Russell Jarvis, head of communication at Travelstart South Africa.

"Travellers need to know exactly what documents they require for a seamless and stress-free entry into our beautiful country’s borders."

A quick way to understand South Africa's new child visa laws

To help would-be travellers understand these new requirements better, Drive South Africa created the Child Visa Checklist app.

The app provides an easy-to-understand checklist of documents required by anyone travelling to or from South Africa with children -- for their particular child-travel scenario.

The web-based app -- which works on mobile and desktop -- helps users see precisely what travel documents they need, in three quick clicks or taps.

According to Andre Van Kets, creator of the Child Visa Checklist App, “there are 15 different possible documents and 37 unique scenarios for children travelling in and out of South Africa.”

“We initially create the app so that our travel consultants could fully understand the new child visa requirements, and better serve our clients. The app was so well received, that we’ve decided to go ‘open source’ with it and let anyone in the tourism industry -- and travellers themselves -- access the information,” says Van Kets.

The screenshot below shows the three steps. A user selects an option under each step and the app will display a checklist of documents unique to that particular scenario.        

A user of the Child Visa Checklist app selects options indicating that their child is travelling unaccompanied, the parents are married, and the parents are the child’s biological parents.

After selecting these options, the app displays a checklist of documents need for that particular scenario.

App growing in popularity

Since the launch of the app on 30 May 2015, the app has been accessed more than 8000 times by users from South Africa and 102 other countries.

Countries include: United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Australia, United States, United Arab Emirates, Swaziland, Mozambique and Malawi.

The app has been shared more than 1300 on Facebook and other social media platforms.

Travel agencies around the world are using the app to advise clients travelling to South Africa with children under 18 years.

“Thanks for creating this app.  It will be a fabulous tool to help get our clients organized!” says Amy Green, Client Services Director of US-based travel agency Hills of Africa.

The Child Visa Checklist app was built in consultation with a panel of experts including:

  • Megan Harrington-Johnson- Senior associate attorney, practicing family law at Schindlers Attorneys in Johannesburg, South Africa. Megan has engaged actively in the child visa regulations debate, from a legal perspective, since it first came to light in 2013. http://www.schindlers.co.za/our-lawyers/megan-harrington-johnson/


  • Andre Van Kets - Cofounder and Director of online travel company Discover Africa Group in Cape Town, South Africa. Andre has developed various online tools to help people planning their travels around Africa including HerdTracker, South Africa's first Toll Road Cost Calculatorand the South African Fuel Cost Calculator.
  • Tourism Industry Leaders - Various members of the South Africa travel and tourism industry have also been consulted during the process of building the app, including David Frost, CEO of SATSAand Otto de Vries, CEO of ASATA.

About Drive South Africa

Drive South Africa is a car rental agency offering car, 4x4 and camper rentals. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Drive South Africa has also created numerous road travel tools and guides which help people plan a self-drive trip to South Africa.

Child Visa Checklist App:


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For more information contact:

Asanda Mcoyana


021 422 3498 / 073 612 0850