This is a question that is asked to the team at IBN Immigration Solutions on numerous occasions! What is required by non-South African parents (hereafter referred to as foreigners) following the birth of their child in South Africa?

There is the assumption that all children, born in South Africa, automatically obtain the right to citizenship.This is unfortunately not the case.

When a child is born in South Africa to foreigners, the child will need to be registered at Home Affairs in South Africa and an application for a full unabridged birth certificate must be completed. An unabridged birth certificate will list both parents’ names and their identity or passport numbers.

Once the unabridged birth certificate is received, the parents must then make an application for a passport from their Embassy or Consulate. The child’s passport, together with other relevant documents, will be used to complete an application for an Accompanying Minors Visa. It will be issued in the child’s passport as a Long-Term Visitors’ Visa.

We often refer to this process as ‘landing’ the child.

The visa application must be submitted at the nearest VFS office, close to the residence of the family. A follow-up appointment needs to be scheduled at the same VFS office and the child will need to be present during this visit for biometric authentication. In this instance, only photos will be taken as the child is under the age of 18. At least one parent must accompany the child to the VFS office since they are a minor.

On submission, the application will be sent to the Department of Home Affairs and it takes several weeks before an outcome is received. The passport of the child is returned to the parent after the submission process.

Most people are unaware that the parents and the child are permitted to travel out of South Africa while awaiting the outcome of the application.

The child will not be declared an undesirable. This is because the child does not have a visa that can ‘expire’ and can therefore not be flagged as an overstay, however, parents may be requested to show evidence to Immigration that the correct paperwork has been submitted to the Department of Home Affairs.

Considering our years of experience, most of our applications are seamless and we have often been told by the parents that, with our assistance, the entire process was less daunting than if they had to attempt it themselves.

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By Sue-Allan Mehl