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Glossary and Definitions

Child Travel Consent (USA)

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What is a Child Travel Consent?

A Child Travel Consent is a document or letter carried to prove that the child has the permission of the absent lawful parent(s) or guardian to travel. When the parents are separated or divorced, one parent should get consent from the other parent to travel with the child. Generally, persons younger than 18 are considered as children in the eyes of the law.


When do I need to use a Child Travel Consent?

If the child is travelling with both birth parents, a Child Travel consent should not be needed. However, in any other situation (for example, the child is travelling with only one birth parent, or a grandparent or other guardian), a Child Travel Consent is recommended, especially for international travel. Travel consents are especially useful in situations where the parents are divorced or separated and one parent wishes to take the child on a vacation or holiday.


Why should I get a Child Travel Consent?

A Child Travel consent serves as legal documentation that the child has permission to be travelling with whomever is escorting him/her. It also helps ensure that each child will have a guardian to look after them while travelling. Finally, a Child Travel Consent is a great way to ensure peace of mind by helping to avoid delays and cancellations during international travel.


Who needs to sign a Child Travel Consent?

In general, the rule of thumb is that a Child Travel Consent must be signed by whichever parent(s) or guardian(s) are NOT travelling. For example, if the parents are separated and the mother is taking the child on a trip, the father is the one who needs to consent to the travel.


Does the document need to be notarized?

In most cases, notarization of a Child Travel Consent is recommended as notarization serves to verify the identifications of the parties signing the document, and ensures that they both consent to the travel. Generally, a notarized document is more likely to be accepted as legally valid than an un-notarized one, should problems occur at the border.


Is there anything else the travelling party should bring besides the Consent Letter?

Generally, it is a good idea to bring photo ID for you and for the child. In several cases, passports are now required for travel, so bringing passports for yourself and the child is the best form of ID. You should also (if you are one of the parents) bring the child's birth certificate which specifically lists you as a parent.


A Child Travel Consent frequently contains such information as:

  1. The first, middle, and last name of the non-traveling parent(s) or legal guardian.
  2. The relationship of the non-traveling parent(s) to the child.
  3. The first, middle, and last name (as printed on their citizenship documentation) of the person you authorize to travel with the child. You should ensure that the person who is travelling with the child is a legal adult (18 years or older) and that he or she is somebody you trust.
  4. The relationship of this person to the child (e.g. coach, teacher, uncle, etc).
  5. The full name (first, middle & last as shown on their citizenship documentation) of the child.
  6. The child's age at the time travel begins.
  7. The countries that the child will be travelling to.
  8. The start and end date of the travel.
  9. Insurance and a consent for medical treatment may also be included.



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