How to travel internationally with your kids by yourself … 

What happens if you want to take a parent-child vacation without the other parent. You know, just a girls’ (or boys’) getaway weekend to the Caribbean? You and your child are so excited about the sun, sand, beaches, and dolphin excursions. You’re all packed and ready to go. Your partner drops you off at the airport, kisses you and your child goodbye, wishes you a “bon voyage,” and drives away.

You approach security, and the U.S. Customs Border and Protection agent asks for you and your child’s passports. The agent asks a few easy questions and then says, “Do you have a letter evidencing your right to take this child outside of the United States?”

You freeze and say, “We have her passport.”

The agent looks at you, “What about her other parent or legal guardian? Do you have a letter from that person saying you can go to the Bahamas?”

You pause again and say, “Well, no, but he just dropped us off, so he knows where we’re going.”

The agent sighs, and he gestures to another agent on the side of the room. They escort you to a small conference room and start asking you questions. You anxiously look at your watch and realize you’re going to miss your flight.

How could this have gone differently?

A simple, notarized letter from your partner who dropped you off at the airport only a few hours earlier would have enabled you to sail through the security process.

Children under 18 traveling internationally with one parent

U.S. Customs and Border Protection doesn’t like when a minor leaves the country and is only accompanied by one parent (or any other non-parent, such as grandparent, aunts or uncles, siblings, friends, or group). They strongly recommend getting a letter indicating that both parents are giving permission for the person to take the minor out of the country.

Contents of the consent letter

Customs and Border Protection does not have a handy form that one parent can complete that would indicate parental consent to allow a child to leave the country with the other parent. However, they do recommend that any letter you create contains the following elements:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why
  • Contact information for the absent parent(s)

CBP also highly recommends but does not require that the parental consent letter be notarized. The letter should be in English, and it should not be older than one year.

Children traveling internationally with a group

U.S. citizen children under the age of 19 who leave the country with a school, religious, social or cultural organization and are returning through Mexico or Canada will need to present their original birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate.

The group should have a letter on organizational letterhead, the contents of which should state:

  • The names of the children on the trip, along with their primary address, phone number, date, and place of birth, and name of one – preferably both – parents or legal guardians for each child
  • The name of the group and the supervising adults
  • A written and signed and preferably notarized statement from the supervising adult certifying that he or she has parental or legal guardian consent for each child
  • The letter should be dated within the past year

Children under 18 traveling internationally without their parents

CBP says that minors “may” go to another country without a parent or guardian, but that they “may” require a notarized written consent letter from both parents.

Besides leaving the United States, there is also the question of whether the foreign country will allow a child to enter without a parent or guardian figure.

CBP recommends contacting the embassy to address any admissibility requirements. A list of embassies and their entry requirements can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website, or by calling that embassy on the phone.

What happens if you don’t have these documents?

CBP may not ask to see this documentation, but then again, they might. It’s easier to be prepared for the question than it is to acquire the documentation after you’ve been detained by CBP. If the parent or guardian traveling with the child cannot prove that they have the parental consent or authority of the other parent, CBP may detain the traveling parent until parental authority can be obtained from the non-traveling parent.

What happens if you’re a single parent?

If you’re traveling internationally with your child and you’re a single parent, CBP may stop you and request that you show documents authorizing you leaving the country with the child. You may need to show proof that you are a single parent. Documentary proof would be a court order evidencing sole custody, a death certificate of the deceased parent, other court orders, or a birth certificate showing only your name and no secondary parent’s name.

CPB Resources

Traveling with Children – Minor of 18 traveling to another country without their parents

Child Traveling with one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian or a group

Parental Consent/Permission Letter

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

plan for tomorrow so you can enjoy today

When you create you Last Will and Testament (or Living Trust) using the Giving Forward Program, you get organization, customization, and an easy to follow program that walks you through the four-step process so you are in control and get to create your own unique and customized Giving Forward plan.

Apply Now

Self-Service and DIY Legal Templates

On Key

Related Posts

Create Your Quarantine Routine

What do you think of when you hear the word “routine?” Does it make you think of monotony and boredom? Or does it make you feel serene, calm, and have peace of mind?

Up until a few weeks ago, every day was the same. Wake up, go to school/work, eat, school/work, come home, dinner, bed. That’s all changed and routines have flown out the window!

Just think about how powerful you could be if you tweaked your routine to allow more time for you to build your legacy in the world.

What happens to Alice if I die? A Look at Gertrude Stein’s Last Will and Testament

Gertrude Stein died in 1946, just three days after writing her Will. No one imagined that 21 years later, her life partner, Alice Toklas, would die impoverished, half-blind, and half-deaf. During the later years of her life, Alice relied upon the goodwill and solicitations of friends to keep a roof over her head. What went wrong with Alice’s Will that resulted in the of her life dying in poverty?

Is it worth creating an Advanced Health Care Directive if a hospital issues a blanket “do-not-resuscitate” order?

In March of 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic in NJ, it was been reported in several newspapers that there are whispers and some outright discussions about hospitals and states issuing blanket “do not resuscitate” orders for patients having coronavirus. Can hospital override the medical wishes outlined in your living will? If so, how? If not, how can you protect yourself?

How to talk to your parents about aging and dealing with their “stuff”

One of the biggest questions we get around the holiday season is … “How do I talk to my parents about their stuff?”

And this question is then awkwardly followed by, “Look, I don’t really want or expect anything from my parents, but I just don’t know what to do if they get sick or … fall down when I’m not home and …. you know…” and the person then trails off.

It’s hard to talk to your parents about them getting older and becoming more frail. Here are a few ways to start that discussion.