Today an erroneous media report announced that the Department of Home Affairs and Tourism had agreed to do away with all unabridged birth certificates, but had to correct itself, making the report a close to non-story!
What was agreed between the Departments of Home Affairs and Tourism was that South African minors traveling will be applying for a passport which will contain the details of their parents in it, thus removing the need for carrying an unabridged birth certificate for such passport holders in future. The new dispensation for local minors is expected to take 3 – 12 months to install. This does not address the problem of international minors still having to travel with unabridged birth certificates.
The Department of Home Affairs denied that they are behind in implementing the agreements of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (between the Departments of Tourism and Home Affairs), stating ‘We are indeed on course’.
Further considerations between the two departments are the following:
#. Visa facilitation centres, including in Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates, and Botswana.
# Consider a visa-waiver for India, China, Russia, and other countries.
# Consider issuing visas on arrival for persons travelling to SA having in their passports valid visas for the UK, USA, and Canada, or any other country that applies stringent checks on visitors to their countries, to ease travel for tourists.
# Consider granting a certain category of frequent travelers (business and academics) from Africa a 10-year Multiple Entry Visitor’s Visa.
# Open two Business Visa Facilitation Centres in Durban and Port Elizabeth, in addition to the centre recently opened in Sandton.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here