Question posted in the Immigration Law category relating to Western Cape
We would like to enter South Africa with our two children (15 and 17) for two weeks in December.
They both have dual citizenship (German and South African).
Unfortunately, their SA passports have expired and is impossible to get new passports by December. The SA consulate in Munich informed us that it is not permitted to enter the country with a foreign passport.
The homepage of the Dep. of Home Affairs however states
"..it is a punishable offence for a South African citizen of 18 years and older to leave or enter South Africa on a foreign passport".
(Source: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/civic-services/travel-documents )
Both our children are below the age of 18 - so this seems to contradict the consulate's information.
Could you give us advice if our children can enter South Africa on a German passport?
If it is not advised - what could be the consequences (realistically) of trying anyway?
Answer to the Question
Hi there and thank you for your question,
I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow-up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.
The reality of the situation is that a lot is going to depend on WHICH home affairs official you speak to at immigration. Often, they are not up to date on the latest regulations, or whatever, and they can give you the wrong information.
Since your children are SA citizens, they must enter SA on their SA passports - even if they are expired.
There was a case a while ago about SA citizens returning to SA on expired passports, and the court said that immigration can't turn away a SA citizen just because their passport is expired. A SA citizen is entitled to return to SA.
So this is your first option. I think that this is what you should stick to - to be quote honest.
Only if immigration completely refuses them entry into SA on their expired SA passports, should you ask the question about "what happens if they enter on their German passports", but then you'll need to make a call.
You are quite correct about the offence being only if they are over 18, and since they are under 18, they should be fine. But like I said, different officials, different story.
If there is a part of the answer which you need more advice on, or clarity please continue in this same thread instead of opening a new question.
Please remember this is a dialog if you have follow-up questions please use the REPLY button and ask. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted to be answered. I hope you found my answer helpful, and you have finished asking your questions, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT button in order to mark the question as closed.
Information provided by client
Two final questions:
I suppose we will have the same topic when leaving the country two weeks later?
Do you know if "…punishable offence… 18 years and older…." is mentioned in the South African Citizenship Act?
Answer to the Question
Once your children have arrived in SA, they WILL need to apply for new SA passports. SA Immigration won't let them leave SA on foreign passports. Getting a new SA passport for them should be quick and easy. I received mine in a couple of days. You should do this on day 1.