Children can make many aspects of travel more rewarding, but they can also add a level of complexity that traveling as adults-only lacks. Beyond that, traveling with children who aren’t your own (or are yours but with special cases), can make things like medical care and interfacing with customs a challenge, and can even potentially stop a vacation in its tracks.
Nobody’s trying to be a bad guy on your trip. But, in their attempts to keep children safe from trafficking and other similar issues, many authorities require documentation. Here is our guide to help you demystify what you’ll need, and to have it in hand if you’re ever called to present it.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that this is a guide, and we are not giving legal advice. This information cannot replace professional legal help, and a lawyer should be consulted as each situation is different.
It’s a good idea to prepare these documents to send with your kids if they’re TRAVELING out into the world with other adults.
1. What is a Child Travel Consent Form?
This form is strongly recommended if a child is traveling alone, with only one parent, or with an authorized adult. It notifies others that the child has written permission or legal authority to travel without their parent(s). Travel can occur either across state lines or across country borders.
Although not required by U.S. laws, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), immigration officers, or law enforcement officers may detain the child if they suspect an abduction or kidnapping. A consent letter for children traveling without parents or legal guardians, locally or abroad can help prevent any issue from taking place.
A simple Child Travel Consent form will identify the following basic elements:
Witnesses or Notary Public: some airlines require additional signatures from witnesses for authenticity while the U.S. Customs and Border Protection suggests it be notarized
2. When is This Form Needed
This form is commonly used when one or both parents or the legal guardians are unable to travel with the child.
3. Why Should You Use a Travel Consent Form
When traveling with children, adults should formally document that they are authorized to travel with a child that is not their own. Customs and Border Protection Officers have the right to ask you for documentation, so it is best to be ready with a Travel Consent Form. Otherwise, you and the child may be detained until the situation is clarified.
This is particularly necessary when only one parent is traveling with the child and the parents are separated or in a custody battle over the child.
Carrying a Parental Consent form does not guarantee entry or exit from a country. Border officials have the absolute right to allow or deny your child and/or the responsible adult into or out of their country.
CONSEQUENCES SUFFERED BY PARENTS & CHILDREN
1. Loss of Money
2. Loss of Time
3. Mental Anguish
4. Common Situations for Using This Form
This document should be used if the child is:
Alternatively, this form is useful if both parents allow the child to:
Check with your Transporting organization about any specific travel regulations for children.
5. What Should be Included in a Minor Travel Consent Form
Our sample Child Travel Consent form asks you easy questions that help you fill out the document step-by-step.
Who is traveling?
Who is giving permission?
What are the details of the trip?
The Child Travel Consent form should also spell out the following details:
WHERE the child is traveling to (final destination)
What other details should be included?
You may also need a Child Medical Consent Form if you want another responsible adult to make medical decisions and authorize certain medical treatments for the child.
Although they may seem like a needlessly complex irritation, both documents are actually fairly simple. That being said, keep a handful of other small details in mind when traveling with children:
It’s a good idea to prepare these documents to send with your kids if they’re going out into the world with other adults.
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