Shikhar Dhawan’s family stopped from flying Emirates

Yesterday, Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan’s wife and kids were denied boarding by Emirates at Dubai airport when connecting on an onward flight to Cape Town.

Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan

Dhawan’s family was travelling along with the Indian cricket team to South Africa where a test match is scheduled on January 5 between the Indian and South African Cricket teams. Turns out that the reason for denied boarding was that Dhawan was not carrying along the birth certificate of his kid.

The cricketer was obviously angry and had to travel without his family while they await the documents to arrive from India. He took onto Twitter to vent is anger saying:

Apparently, Immigration authorities in South Africa have specific requirements for all children under 18 years of age who are travelling to or from South Africa which require parents travelling with children (under 18) to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate (or a certified copy).

All airlines must comply with the rules because if you are unable to produce the paperwork the immigration will not allow you entry into South Africa. Clearly, these requirements are not known to the world. Heck, they are not even in the TIMATIC database which all airlines and to an extent passengers reference for requirements.


Emirates ain’t going scot-free here since they did not know about these rules or do appropriate checks at Mumbai, but only brought them into play at Dubai airport.

Has anyone been stuck in a similar situation where rules have come out of thin air to be implemented for passengers?


  1. The visa stamp of South Africa should carry the name of one of the parents/guardian accompanying the child. It was done for UK visa, very convenient and saves a lot of hassles and trouble for everyone.

  2. He or his child ain’t special. It’s not Emirates duty to inform each and every customer about documentation. Tomorrow someone will walk up to the airport without passport and will blame the airline they weren’t informed. ZAF children docs rules are in place for over 2 years and I know for a fact airlines have been fined or pax deported if the pax showed up at SA immigration without proper docs. Very strict checks departing London Heathrow. Sometimes SA immigration ask for it and sometimes they don’t. Atleast they were stuck in Dubai and not Timbuktou. Emirates would have well looked after their premium cabin customers. In regards to the employee been rude. Well if you are going to throw your celebrity status around and try walk over the rules someone has to be rude. Tough luck!
    Lesson learnt for the next time.

    • Unless they weren’t through ticketed from Mumbai to Cape Town, Emirates was obligated by both law and custom to ensure all documents required for the entire journey. This isn’t something open interpretation. Airlines that board passengers without the correct documents are libel for their return travel costs when/if they’re refused entry.

  3. Rule has been on the books for entry into South Africa for a while. Travelled there last year with my kids with birth certificates and was not asked for them at immigration at all. Airline did request to see them at initial boarding though. Travelled on Emirates a lot and has yet to run into a blatantly rude employee – maybe just lucky?

  4. These requirements came into force in 2015, but in the same year they stopped being applied to people who need Visa to enter South Africa. Such people have to submit birth certificate at time of application of Visa, instead of mandatorily carrying it with them. Is it not so anymore? Or is Dhawan’s child naturalised somewhere other than India? The second option is much more likely.

      • I’m pretty sure his wife is a Brit….and let’s face it, Indian celebs will do their utmost to ensure there kids have foreign passports. Anyway, coming back to the story, ZAF has high rates of child abductions and this is one easy way to clamp down. All pax who can enter without visa require FULL birth certificates for children and if only one parent travelling, the other needs to provide a letter of consent for children to travel to ZAF and back.

  5. While I do agree with the cricketer on how RUDE some ( or most ) Emirates employees can be , I believe the immigration officials should be the one asking passengers ( atleast the Indian citizens ) whether they are in possession of the requisite documents for the final destination. Sadly , that never happens and most of the times they are being given Geography lessons by Indian passport holders.

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