Registration of children born

Registration of children born overseas from SA parents

South Africans who live and work overseas, and have children overseas, are often unaware of the rules of the registration of children and the problematic situations that could arise regarding the nationality of their children.

Registration of children born

Registration of Children born overseas from South African parents

Breytenbachs highly recommends that children born outside South Africa to South African parents, be registered as South African citizens at the nearest SA Embassy / SA High Commission to where the parents reside. The application is done using a foreign birth registration application.

The South African Births and Deaths Registration Act, requires that all births must be registered within 30 days. If a birth is registered after 30 days, it is considered a late registration of birth and other requirements will have to be met when registering the birth.

As South Africa allows dual nationality status, children can then hold dual nationality status. Registration of the foreign birth will make things much easier for parents planning to travel back to South Africa in future. The children will be able to travel to South Africa on SA passports. This will prevent any overstaying issues to occur.

South African Visitor Visa Rules

South African parents should keep in mind that all parties (adults and children) have to travel with their SA passports when entering and leaving South Africa and not the foreign passport.

Parents who do not wish to register their children as SA nationals should take note of the Visitor Visa rules before entering South Africa.

In the case of South African parents, with British registered children, thus no dual nationality, it is important to take note of the following;

British Citizens are exempted from South African Visa control and will receive an automatic 90-day Visitor Visa upon entering South Africa. This is subject to a valid return air ticket. This Visitor Visa can be extended for another 90 days, but the extension application has to be submitted 60 days before the expiry of the original visa, which was granted upon entry. The endorsement of the extended Visitor Visa must be awaited, before leaving South Africa.

When the family unit wishes to remain in SA for a period longer than six months, the best would be to apply for relative’s visas for minor children which are normally issued for 24 months and can be extended whilst residing in SA. Alternatively, if children are of school-going age, study visas must be applied for.

Should the parents wish to reside in SA on a permanent basis without registering their children as SA nationals, applications for permanent residence status can be applied for.
Breytenbachs have witnessed situations where South African parents, with children with only British citizenship, have unwittingly overstay on their visitor visa and unknowingly made no effort to apply for an extension of their visitor visa. It is important to note that such an overstayer can get banned, and it is often difficult to get a successful appeal.

We, therefore, recommend prevention rather than cure and highly recommend the registration of your overseas-born child / alternatively follow the relevant long term visa route to permit children to reside in SA for longer than six months.

For more information on SA Immigration matters and the registration of children, please visit or fill out the form below.