School’s out soon and it’s time to think about activities for your children in the coming months. While you are ironing out the final details of your summer plans, consider that if your minor child is traveling alone or with another family member, they might need a Child Travel Consent form.
Making sure your child is carrying the proper consent document helps give authorities the information they need to understand your child’s travel arrangements, enabling a smooth trip.
This post looks at 3 common situations where a Child Travel Consent form should be used.
Children Traveling with One Parent
If your child is traveling with only one parent, that parent will need a Child Travel Consent letter that has the other, non-traveling parent’s name, signature, and a short statement authorizing the travel arrangements.
A common scenario for a child traveling with one parent is when the parents are separated or divorced. Custody arrangements can be complex and modify the rules for travel in different ways, but in general it’s important that the child has a travel consent form signed by the non-traveling parent.
With separated parents, it’s also recommended that the parent traveling with the child carry extra documents that demonstrate proof of guardianship, like custody papers, adoption papers, and the child’s birth certificate,
Similar rules apply for a child traveling with adult relatives, like a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or grandparents, but in this case the travel consent letter must contain the name and signature of both parents instead of just one.
For international travel, some countries may require specific or additional documentation. You can check requirements with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or the embassy of the country your child is traveling to for more information.
Children Traveling with a Group
Along with other documents a child would need to travel, like a passport or birth certificate, the CBP recommends that children traveling with a group or organization, like a school group, religious group, sports team, or cultural organization should have a Child Travel Consent form signed by both parents to keep with them.
In addition, the CBP recommends that the group leader, supervisor, or representative have a letter printed using the organization’s letterhead containing the following information:
- The name, date of birth, primary address, and phone number of each child, as well as contact information for at least one parent or legal guardian for each child
- The full name of the group as well as the names of the group leaders, representatives, or supervisors that will be present on the trip
- A written, signed, and notarized statement by the supervising adult(s) that indicates they have legal guardianship consent for each child
Children Traveling Alone
If your child is traveling alone, the requirements for travel documents will be similar to when your child is traveling with a group. They will need a notarized consent letter that is signed by both parents. If the child is traveling internationally, they may need additional documentation.
You can contact the embassy for the country your child is traveling to in order to check entry requirements.
Consent to Travel
When your child is traveling without you, it’s important to make sure they have the correct documentation so that it’s easier for authorities to understand the nature of your child’s trip.
Having a consent form can also help your child avoid unnecessary or stressful delays during their travel time and ensure that they reach their destination with as little turbulence as possible.