My child was born in South Africa and we’re not South African

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Every now and then, a baby is born in South Africa to parents who are temporary or permanent

residents. If a parent is not a South African citizen, the child is not a South African, despite being born in

the country. However, they are entitled to a status.

When a child is born in South Africa, they are born without a passport or visa, which means that for all

intents and purposes, the child is born illegal. If they were to leave once obtaining their passport from

the embassy of their country origin, but without a visa, they would be declared undesirable and banned

from re-entering South Africa for a period of one to five years.

Therefore, when a child is born in South Africa and the moment they get their foreign passport, the

parents must make an application to the Department of Home Affairs for a visa. Depending on the

status of the parents, they can make an application for their child in terms of:

– Accompanying minor visa 11(1)(b)(iv);

– Relatives visa section 18

Once the visa is placed in their passport the child will be considered legal in the country and will be able

to exit freely and without implication.

If the parents are in the country without valid residency, albeit temporary or permanent, more

complications arise as a child will not even obtain a birth certificate. This means that a child will not be

able to get a passport and subsequently a visa. This issue is currently being investigated by the South

African Human Rights Commission (SAHCR) and it is hoped that an agreement will be made with the

Department of Home Affairs to provide children born in the country with a birth certificate, despite their

parents status.

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