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