Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 12:23 pm

As a single parent, travelling internationally with your child can be an administrative challenge…

In 2015, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) amended the laws that regulate travelling with children. In light of the spiking numbers of children being trafficked, stricter laws were put in place to ensure the safety of children, and to ensure that the person travelling with the child has permission to do so.

For single parents, the documentation they need to issue to immigration officers depends on their unique circumstances.

This could include:

  • Legally separated from a partner but have full parental responsibility
  • Legally separated from a partner but with specific parental responsibilities and rights
  • Widower
  • Not legally separated or widowed

When a child is travelling with both parents, they will need to only issue passports, a VISA, and an Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC).

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What is a UBC?

A UBC is a child’s birth certificate that reflects the details of both parents. Children born after March 2013 have this issued to them automatically. For children born before that, mom needs to apply for one.

The requirements for children travelling to or from SA if you’re a single parent are are detailed below as laid out by the Department of Home Affairs: 

Legally separated from a partner but have full parental responsibility

A parent with sole custody needs to issue the below documents:

  • A Valid passport and visa, if required should
  • UBC
  • Court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or full legal guardianship in respect of the minor.

Legally separated from a partner but with specific parental responsibility

For parents with joint custody, the above documents have to be issued and these are the additional ones they would need:

  • Parental Consent Affidavit
  • Court order granting specific parental responsibilities and rights (proof of joint custody)


A widower parent will need the below documents:

  • A valid passport and visa, if required
  • UBC
  • Death certificate of the deceased parent

Not legally separated or widowed

If a child’s UBC does not reflect a father’s name, you will not be required to acquire any more documentation. You just need to issue the travel documents and the UBC that only reflects your name.

If his name is there, you would not be allowed to travel internationally without the father’s signed consent. If a mother cannot find the father to sign a letter of consent, a special circumstances letter can be applied for through the DHA.



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