Summary

Immigration rules regarding parents and adults travelling with children (under 18) to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate have been partially relaxed. Following a revision to the Immigration Act in December 2018, minors travelling with both parents do not need to supply additional documentation. However, South Africa reserves the right to request a copy of the child’s unabridged birth certificate before granting entry, at the discretion of individual immigration officers. Whilst South Africa has said that it is unlikely documentation will be requested, we recommend that you’re prepared to present the unabridged birth certificate to border officials upon arrival, particularly where one parent’s surname differs from the child’s. 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. There are additional requirements if the child is travelling with only the one parent, with neither biological parent, or unaccompanied. See Entry requirements

The Western Cape has suffered a prolonged drought, but the situation has improved. The Cape Town municipal region was most affected but water restrictions were reduced in October 2018. If you’re planning to travel to the area, you should be mindful of water consumption and comply with local restrictions. Further information can be found at the Water Western Cape website and the latest projections on water supply.

There is a very high level of crime including rape and murder in South Africa. The most violent crimes tend to occur in townships, remote and isolated areas and 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. See Safety and security

As of July 2018, police are investigating a series of incendiary devices placed at different locations in the Durban area. Two of these devices were triggered, causing small fires. You should exercise usual caution if you encounter unexpected devices or packages. If in doubt, contact the police.

There are regular protest marches and strike related demonstrations across South Africa, which can turn violent. Such marches and demonstrations can occur anywhere in South Africa, sometimes at short notice. You should avoid areas where demonstrations and marches are taking place, especially universities and government buildings. Don’t attempt to cross protester roadblocks as this could provoke a violent reaction. You should monitor local and social media for updates.

From 26 May 2014, if you live in South Africa, you must have a valid residence permit 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

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

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in South Africa. See Terrorism

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

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.