The travel industry continues to wait for news of an update on the Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) issue relating to foreign visitors travelling with children to South Africa.
After the high-level NEDLAC gathering hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa on October 7,
Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed that UBCs were definitely no longer required.
According to the Minister’s spokesperson, Siya Qoza, this announcement was followed by an Immigration Advisory Council meeting on October 16, after which the Board took recommendations to the Minister of Home Affairs.
While government has been quite clear about the lifting of UBC requirements over the past month (in fact the announcement was made in December 2018), the advisory regarding documentation needed for foreigners entering South Africa remains unchanged on the Home Affairs website since April 2019. The site states that a copy of the child’s birth certificate ‘may’ be required.
TBCSA CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, is confident that the wheels are in motion, and was assured that the matter was a major priority after a discussion with the Home Affairs Director General’s office yesterday.
“The DG’s office has confirmed that a waiver has been drafted to suspend the existing regulations until they come back with the amended regulation,” says Tshivhengwa. “As we all know, things take time to be made official by government and the waiver will help to speed up the process.”
He says the waiver will be ready and waiting for Motsoaledi to sign when he gets back from China next week.
The UBC issue was also mentioned in Tito Mboweni’s Medium Term budget speech yesterday, where he stated that the unabridged birth certificate process requirement for young tourists had been abolished.
On the one hand, government is very clear that UBCs are no longer required by foreign nationals visiting South Africa with children, but the travel trade and airline industry remain unconvinced until they have official confirmation in writing, and on the official website, that UBCs are no longer a requirement.