Visas, Passports & Travel Documents

Travel Document Requirements

It is your responsibility to check the travel documents required for the destinations you are visiting. The requirements do depend on an individual traveller’s circumstances. For passports and visas, you should check with the Embassy or High Commission of each country in your planned itinerary. It is advisable to check at the time of making your booking and, if the initial check suggests that you do not need one, just double check again about three weeks before travel as government regulations and policies can change without warning.
There are also a number of websites which aggregate this information. We find the following ones useful:

Star Alliance airline consortium – offers Visa and Health information

CIBT visa service – a fee-based visa service with a free online checking tool

Passports

For all countries we feature, except South Africa, you will need a valid passport which is valid for six months in excess of the date of your planned departure from the country. For leisure travel to South Africa, the requirement is that your passport be valid for one month in excess of your planned departure date. You should also ensure that you have a minimum of TWO blank pages in your passport for each time that you will pass through an international border in your itinerary. This is mandatory for South Africa and highly recommended for other African countries.

Obtaining visas at the port of entry

Several of the destinations we feature allow certain countries’ passport holders to purchase a visa at the port of entry on arrival. However, even where this has long been the case, the situation could change without a great deal of warning and there are many nationalities to whom this concession has not been extended. So we do recommend obtaining visas in advance if you have time. You can generally deal direct with the High Commission or Embassy but it is often simpler and more reassuring to use a commercial visa service. You pay the company a service fee in addition to the consular fee but you will be guided through the process if you do need a visa.

Travelling to South Africa with children under 18

From 01 June 2015, to enter or leave South Africa, all children under the age of 18 years travelling with two birth parents need to travel with both their passport AND an original full (or unabridged) birth certificate (inclusive of the names of both parents). All names on documents must match precisely.

If either parent’s name on the children’s birth certificates differs from their current names or if a child is travelling with only one parent or with other adults, there are important additional requirements including sworn affadavits. All documents issued in a language other than English should be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned. We can direct you to guidance documents appropriate to these scenarios or you can contact your local South African Embassy. To date the best guidance we have identified is this FAQ published by South African Airways.