Compiled by Andrea Harper
Yes, it is possible, but quite an administrative nightmare. The documents you need, in order of getting them, are:
1. Unabridged birth certificate
2. Passport (including a section 169 report giving permission to apply for a passport)
3. Tickets, medical insurance, bookings for accommodation etc, you need to pay for everything before you apply for permission to take the child
4. Section 169 report – permission to remove a child from the Republic
5. (if relevant) visa from the country you are visiting
The unabridged birth certificate – if you don’t have one already – must be applied for by the social worker.
To apply for the passport you need a section 169 report – permission to apply for a passport – prepared by the social worker and signed off at DSD. This report must state whether the birth parents have given permission, but they can give permission verbally to the social worker rather than in writing. If the parent(s) can’t be found then their permission is dispensed with. I have been told that even if they do not give permission that can be over-ridden on the social worker’s recommendation if they are withholding consent unreasonably and it is in the best interests of the child to get a passport.
You then submit this report to Home Affairs with the other usual documents needed to apply. When we applied (2016) Home Affairs were willing to accept an abridged birth certificate along with the receipt from Home Affairs showing an unabridged had been applied for (so they could both be processed at the same time), but DSD refused permission to apply for a passport until the UBC had been received.
Once you have the passport you can book the trip, and you will need tickets, medical insurance for the child, bookings for any accommodation needed, and an itinerary. (if relevant – we stayed with my mother so I just gave her contact details).
Once you have evidence of all the details, you give them to the social worker and they will compile another section 169 report giving permission to take the child on this specific trip. This needs to be signed off by DSD.
Future trips will obviously skip the first two steps as you will already have the UBC and passport, but you will need to submit all travel details and evidence and get a new section 169 – permission to remove the child from the Republic – for each trip.
Timescales will vary depending on how efficient your social worker is, the processing times at Home Affairs, and the processing time at DSD. In our case it took 18 months, but that was mostly delays with the social worker, who took 8 months (!) to get round to applying for the UBC.
Once applied for the UBC took about 6 weeks, from what I remember. The section 169 reports were 2-3 weeks once submitted to DSD, our current social worker (who is great J ) took a couple of weeks to write up the reports; this included trying to make contact with a birth parent, but as the social worker knew we would be applying I think she started trying to contact before I actually submitted the information. The passport was processed in about a month. Visas for the UK took about a week each time (2016 and now again in 2017).