What is a Parental Consent Letter for travel, and why you may need one if your minor child plans to travel internationally

Christmas and New Year holidays, full of surprises, fun, and joy, are almost here. You have thought about a special gift for your child and come to the decision that a trip overseas would be the best Christmas present for him/her. Whether your child goes overseas to visit his/her grandparents, plans to spend few weeks in a camp, or  intends to  take an educational trip with a school group, he/she will, undeniably, find these activities exciting, amusing, and enjoyable.

If you’ve already scheduled a trip for your child, the last issue you should consider taking care of is giving him/her a parental consent letter for travel, required by the law of the most countries.

What is parental consent for travel?

A parental consent for travel is a letter from parents or guardians who are not accompanying children. It demonstrates to the border authorities that children have permission to engage in certain activities, including travelling abroad.

No matter with whom your child is going to travel – with one of the birth parents, a grandparent, relative, your friend, schoolteacher, or in the company of an airline employee, one or both parents should give him/her the parental consent. Otherwise, your child might be denied leaving the country.

parental consent letter for travelling child

How to obtain a parental consent?

If you are sending your child overseas for the first time and question how and where to get a parental consent letter, below are the useful tips and explanations of some particular issues regarding issuing a parental consent for your child:
1. Parental consent for children travelling overseas can be obtained in a notary office. A notary will properly prepare a letter, taking into consideration the specific situation of your child.
2. We recommend that you talk to a notary about the legal issues that apply to you and your children’s unique situation, particularly if your parenting arrangement has special terms governing international travel. Carrying a consent letter does not guarantee that children will be allowed to enter or leave a country, as every country has its own entry and exit requirements.
3. A public notary will also advise if an apostille for a parental consent is needed. If your child is a citizen of a non–USA country or has dual citizenship, obtaining an apostille for parental consent letter is a rule. If the document does not bear an apostille stamp, the border authorities of a country that your child is a citizen of will not accept it.

Travelling without parental consent letter

If you fail to prepare a parental consent in accordance with the law of particular countries, the border authorities can refuse him/her to take a flight. Therefore, you can face numerous complications, not to mention that the child’s vacation will be spoiled. You will have to arrange for the third parties – your friends or relatives (if any), to take care of a child until you arrive and take him back to the USA; purchase a flight ticket for your child once again for the next available date (if any) and take unplanned days off from your work and go to a country where your child is in order to bring him back home.

Hence, before writing a consent letter, read the instructions regarding specific legal requirements of a particular country on a parental consent letter preparation, and figure out if such a letter should be apostilled, or legalized, and do not forget to translate the parental consent and apostille into the language of a country where it is meant to be presented.

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

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