When schools break up for the holidays, it can be a difficult time for parents – particularly those who are bringing up children alone.

Complicated childcare arrangements, travelling abroad are issues faced by all parents, but for lone parents they are often magnified. Disagreements about where the children will spend time can flare up, and estranged partners can make travelling abroad very difficult by withholding consent.

There are certain rules in place for travelling abroad with children. This post has some answers to commonly asked questions in this regard. Some of the questions relate to South Africa due to the recent changes in the Immigration Rules.


I am a single parent travelling to South Africa with my daughter what documents do I need?

 The South African government introduced new regulations on 1 June 2015. You will need to produce the following documents

  • An unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.
  • Consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent who is registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child authorising her to enter South Africa and to leave the UK.
  • The affidavit must not be more than 3 months old, dating from the date of travel.

I do not know the whereabouts of the child’s father and therefore will not be able to get the affidavit, what should I do?

In these circumstances you will need a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or residence in respect of the child. You will need to apply to the court for a residence order.

I am divorced and live with my children. Can I travel to Zimbabwe or any other country with my children without permission from their father?

You must get the permission of someone with parental responsibility for a child or from a court before taking the child abroad.

If you take a child out of the country without the consent of the other parent it is child abduction.

You automatically have parental responsibility if you’re the child’s mother, but you still need the permission of anyone else with parental responsibility before you take the child abroad. You therefore would need to get a consent letter from the other parent before you can take the child abroad.

RBM Solicitors are well placed to make Child Arrangements Applications which make it easier for all the issues relating to contact and residence for children.



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