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Child Travel Consent Letters
There are many requirements for children who travel outside the United States. A child travel consent letter is designed to facilitate the travel of minor children while preventing their wrongful removal to foreign countries.
In the past couple of months I’ve notarized travel consent letters for several foreign countries, including Italy, Mexico, Canada, and Sweden. In each case, the parents had already done their due diligence online, but were unclear on how to compose the actual letter.
Here are two sample letters of authorization for traveling minors. For simplicity, the term “parent” is used in the examples. Of course, the same rules would apply to a child’s legal guardian. These samples assume airline travel. Just make the necessary adjustments for other forms of travel.
In my experience as a notary, I’ve encountered the child traveling with one parent scenario most often.
Minor Traveling with One Parent
If a minor will be traveling with one parent, the child travel consent letter should be signed by the parent who is not going on the trip.
Sample Letter for Child Traveling with One Parent
I (name of parent not traveling), authorize my child/children, (name/names), aged (age/ages), to travel to (destination) on (date of departure) aboard Airline/Flight # (flight information) with (name of parent traveling with child), returning on (date of return).
Signature of Parent Not Traveling
Legal Mother/Father/Guardian Printed Name:
Minor Traveling with Non-Parent Adult(s)
If a minor will be traveling with an adult who is not a parent or legal guardian, the child travel consent letter should be signed by the parents whose names appear on the child’s birth certificate, or the child’s legal guardian(s).
Sample Letter for Child Traveling with Non-Parent Adult(s)
I (name of parents on birth certificate), authorize my child/children, (name/names), aged (age/ages), to travel to (destination) on (date of departure) aboard Airline/Flight # (flight information) with (name of adult traveling with child), returning on (date of return).
Signatures of Parents
Legal Mother/Father/Guardian Printed Names:
Each Responsible Adult Must Be Named
Every adult who will be responsible for the child at any point during the duration of the trip must be named in the body of the letter. This includes extended family members who may be asked to show identification, such as when picking up a child at an airport.
Most countries require a copy of the child’s birth certificate, so be sure to attach that to your letter as well. Some countries also require a copy of the consenting parent’s identification (passport or driver’s license). It needs to be presented to the notary for identification anyway, so just make a copy and attach it to the letter.
If a legal parent is deceased, a certified death certificate should be attached to the permission to travel letter. If a legal parent’s whereabouts are unknown, an affidavit to that effect may be required.
Pay Close Attention to Details
Play it safe and sign your child travel consent letter in the presence of a notary. Also, make sure the date of the letter matches the date of the notary certificate. Be consistent with any names that appear on the letter and accompanying documents (i.e., birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, child’s proof of medical insurance coverage, custody agreement, etc.) The person on the receiving end of the letter may question items that don’t match, like dates and the spelling of names.
Child Travel Consent Letter Notarization
Once you’ve crafted your child travel consent letter, you’ll need to direct a notary to perform the correct notarial act. All of my clients in this situation requested that their signature be acknowledged. An acknowledgment identifies a signer and confirms that he or she willingly signed a document and is aware of what was contained therein.
If you prefer to swear or affirm that the contents of your letter are true by taking an oath, a jurat certificate will be needed.
What if No One Asks to See the Letter?
You may go to the trouble of assembling a child travel consent letter and never be asked to present it. This is typically the case if the traveling child has a valid passport and is accompanied by at least one parent. On the other hand, carrying a consent letter doesn’t guarantee a minor child entry to any country. Permission to enter another country is entirely at the discretion of that country.
The U.S. Passport Service Guide has created a sample travel consent form that you can download and fill out: Minor Travel Consent Form
Consult the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information about travel outside the United States. Be sure to contact any transportation companies that are involved in the trip (i.e., airline, train, cruise line, bus line, etc.) for specific information on their policies regarding traveling minors. For example, there may be additional requirements related to emergency medical care for minor children traveling abroad.
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- 1 Child Travel Consent Letters
- 2 Sample Letter for Child Traveling with One Parent
- 3 Sample Letter for Child Traveling with Non-Parent Adult(s)
- 4 Letter Attachments
- 5 Pay Close Attention to Details
- 6 Child Travel Consent Letter Notarization
- 7 What if No One Asks to See the Letter?
- 8 Additional Resources
- 9 Kids Travel in Style
- 10 Shop for Legal Forms and More
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