Will Your Children Be Traveling Without You?

Are these your parents?It is a sad fact, but due to custody disputes and human trafficking, children are sometimes taken out of the country in situations where both parents do not consent.Will your child be traveling internationally without both parents? If so, it is your responsibility to ensure that clear permission from both parents is on hand when your child arrives at the airport, or reaches Customs.The most common situations occur when one parent is traveling with one or more of their children, while their spouse stays at home, or the custodial parent of a divorced household is traveling with their children. In both of these situations a letter of permission from the other parent needs to be on hand. The letter should indicate the full details of the child: full name, date of birth, place of birth, passport number and passport issuance details (date/location). The letter needs to give all the same details for the parent that will be traveling with the children, as well as the full name, contact information and custodial status for the parent that is providing consent. You should include the dates and locations of the travel, so that officials are sure you know where your child is.The letter and consenting parent’s signature should be witnessed, preferably by a Notary Public or someone authorized to commission oaths. Including the passport number and details is very important, as the officials can compare the child to the picture on the passport to ensure consent was provide for the correct child. If you are traveling with your child, but are not the primary custody holder ensure the letter from the other parent is clear that they have primary custody.In the event of children travelling without either parent (such as friends, grandparents etc) you need to ensure that the letter has all the contents mentioned above, as well as the details of the relationship to the guardian traveling with your children. BOTH parents need to sign such a letter, again with a witness. Some lawyers will also recommend attaching a passport photo of the child to the letter, to help verify the identity of the child.Letters of parental permission should be kept with the child’s passport, and ready for inspection at any time. Remember, officials that are asking questions about your child are doing so to protect them!For more information, consult a legal professional. If you are traveling to a country that you are not familiar with, always check the entry requirements by contacting their embassy/consulate in your home country.