Children Travelling Without Parents – Letter of Consent
The most common situation is that a child (under 18) is travelling with one parent, and this parent is separated or divorced from the other. However, even if a couple is married, travelling alone with a child requires notarized consent from the other parent.
In the event that a child is travelling with neither parent (with a friend’s family, or other family members etc), then both parents must consent.
Notarized Letter of Consent
If you are travelling with your child and you have sole custody, then you must be able to prove sole custody to authorities and the airline with whom you are flying.
It is important that documents are notarized. Unless it is sworn by a commissioner of oaths, it will not be valid. Having a signed letter of consent that is not notarized is of no use.
The purpose of having notarized consent is to prevent the abduction of children to other countries. While it is rare that it occurs on one week all-inclusive vacation packages and cruises, it is still a requirement of entry to countries that have signed on to The Hague Convention. Since an airline is responsible for anyone refused entry into a country, they ask for this documentation to prevent this loss.
There are many postings online regarding consent to travel and the fact that it is seldom requested by airlines and arriving countries. It is true that you may likely not be asked for it, but if you are, and you don’t have it, you will be denied boarding with no refund. It is simply not worth the risk.
Letter of Consent Templates
Use the templates provided below to write your letter of consent. Send it to the other spouse and ask to have it notarized – this is commonly done on weekdays, and notaries are not difficult to find. They will charge a small fee for their service averaging $30, and it is customary for the parent asking for the consent to re-imburse the other.
It’s best to get this out of the way as soon after booking as possible, and within a reasonable period of time for the other parent to respond. If the other parent refuses to sign the consent unreasonably, or withholds passport or other required documentation to travel, it’s best to speak to a family lawyer.