SA-bound family turned away amid birth certificate confusion

Home Affairs announced that unabridged birth certificates would no longer be required from December 1
Home Affairs announced that unabridged birth certificates would no longer be required from December 1
Image: JACKIE CLAUSEN

South Africa’s travel rules for children continue to bedevil tourists planning to visit the country.

A British family travelling to SA for Christmas was turned away at Heathrow Airport in London‚ despite the recent relaxation of rules on unabridged birth certificates‚ the Telegraph reported.

It said Paul Denning‚ his wife‚ son and daughter - who had spent £3‚000 (about R54‚000) on Virgin Atlantic flights - were told last week they did not have the correct documents.

Home affairs said unabridged birth certificates would no longer be required from December 1‚ but the Telegraph said airlines had not been informed of this and the UK foreign office had therefore not yet updated its advice for people travelling to SA.

“We were told at the desk that three or four families are sent away every day‚” said Denning. “We arrived well in advance and went to the check-in desk‚ where they asked for birth certificates. We were surprised as there was no mention when booking.

“Friends then accessed our house and scanned over the birth certificates‚ only to be told my daughter’s would not be acceptable because it’s the basic [abridged] one without parental names. We don’t have nor have ever had another one.”

Denning told the Telegraph that he contacted home affairs from Heathrow and was told that his family should be allowed to fly.

Eventually‚ an immigration official at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg wrote to Virgin Atlantic confirming the Dennings would be allowed to enter SA. Virgin Atlantic finally flew them over the following day.

- TMG Digital.

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