Consent for a Child to Travel
Before your child travels, it's good practice to ensure that you are informed about what documents may be requested during travel, or at the child's destination. Aside from the standard documents that someone would need to travel, like a passport and birth certificate, one of the ways that you can protect your child and ensure a smooth journey is by providing accurate consent letters or forms, depending on the situation.
In some cases, such as international travel, additional documents may be required. Some common travel scenarios and suggestions are outlined in this section.
Children Traveling with One Parent
If your child is traveling with only one parent, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recommends that the parent accompanying the child carry a consent letter that is signed by the non-traveling parent, containing a statement that the traveling parent has permission to travel alone with the child.
Getting consent from both parents helps to prevent confusion about the whereabouts of the child, such as in cases of shared custody between divorced parents.
Children Traveling without Parents
If a child is traveling without their parents, e.g. if they are visiting relatives in another country, they may need to provide a written, notarized consent letter from both parents.
Different countries may have different requirements for what is needed to make a consent letter legal. The U.S. Department of State
has a list of contact information for various U.S. Embassies, so entry requirements for a specific country can be checked.
TIP: Aside from notarizing the consent letter, the CBP also recommends that the letter stay current. A new consent letter should be made for every new event where it would be required. For example, if your child stayed with their grandparents during the summer last year, and they are staying with their grandparents again this summer, it is recommended that you create a new consent letter.