Foreign travel advice

South Africa

Summary

The new immigration rules introduced by South Africa in June 2015 relating to travelling with children remain in force. Parents travelling with children (under 18) will be asked to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child’s details and both parents’ details. The abridged (short) birth certificate which only lists the child’s particulars won’t be accepted. The South African Department of Home Affairs are not accepting uncertified copies of birth certificates or copies of the parents/guardians identification.

A parental consent affidavit (PCA) must have a certified copy of the parent’s/guardian’s identification (ie passport) attached to it.

Following a recent review, the South African government has decided to make some changes to the documentation requirements that came into force on 1 June 2015. Dates for these changes have not yet been announced. Until these changes are implemented, you should make sure that you travel with all of the required documentation.

From 26 May 2014, if you live in South Africa, you must have a valid residence permit in your passport when you enter and leave the country. Instead of fining those whose permits have expired, you may be blacklisted and prevented from applying for a visa to re-enter South Africa for a period from 12 months to 5 years. See Entry requirements

Protest marches and demonstrations can occur anywhere in South Africa and sometimes at short notice. Avoid areas where demonstrations and marches are taking place, especially universities and government buildings

There is a very high level of crime, but the most violent crimes occur in townships and isolated areas away from the normal tourist destinations. Most visits to South Africa are trouble-free, but you should take sensible precautions to protect your safety. Crime increases in areas where large crowds gather, so be particularly vigilant if you’re attending sporting or other events that attract large numbers.

There have been incidents involving foreigners being followed from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to their destinations by car and then robbed, often at gunpoint. Be vigilant in and around the airport and when driving away.

The standard of driving is variable and there are many fatal accidents. See Road travel

Beach conditions and local safety provisions vary considerably throughout the South African coastline and every year several people drown due to the strong sea currents. See Water safety

There is a high threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.