A child travel consent form is a legal document used to grant permission for a minor to travel domestically or internationally without their parents.
This form is usually used when the child is traveling with a group, school, or an adult who is not a legal guardian, but can also be used if the child is traveling alone.
1. What is a Child Travel Consent Form?
This form is strongly recommended if a child travels alone, with only one parent or an authorized adult. It notifies others that the child has written permission or legal authority to travel without their parent(s). Travel can occur either across state lines or across country borders.
As a reference, people call this form by other names:
- Affidavit of Consent for Children Traveling Abroad
- Letter for Children Traveling Abroad
- Minor Travel Consent Form
- Travel Permission Letter
- Parental consent form
Although not required by U.S. laws, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), immigration officers, or law enforcement officers may detain the child if they suspect an abduction or kidnapping. A consent letter for children traveling abroad can help prevent any issue from taking place.
A simple Child Travel Consent form will identify the following basic elements:
- Parents: name of parent(s) or legal guardian(s) with legal custody
- Child: name, date of birth, place of birth, and passport details
- Travel Details: traveling alone to meet a specific adult OR accompanied
- Trip Details: travel dates, origin/destination cites, the purpose of the trip
- Contact Information: address of destination and emergency contact
- Responsible Adult: name of person or group who will be accompanying
- Signature: signed by the parent or legal guardian NOT traveling with the child
- Witnesses or Notary Public: some airlines require additional signatures from witnesses for authenticity while the U.S. Customs and Border Protection suggests it be notarized
Child Travel Consent Form PDF Sample
The sample child travel consent form below details an agreement between the parent, ‘Kim C Alexander’, and the child’s teacher, ‘Stephanie W Cali.’ Kim C Alexander agrees to allow her child, ‘Wesley P Alexander’, to travel with Stephanie W Cali to Orlando, FL.
2. When a Minor Travel Consent form is Needed
This form is commonly used when one or both parents or legal guardians are unable to travel with the child.
It is needed under these circumstances:
- The child is under 18 years old
- Traveling by plane, train, or ship
- Crossing U.S. borders by plane
- Flying domestically in or out of state
- Custody of the child is disputed
- Only one parent has sole custody
If only one parent has custody of the child, the parent traveling with the child might consider bringing certified copies of the following supporting paperwork:
- Court decision
- Death certificate
- A birth certificate naming only one parent
- Custody papers documenting the guardian has legal custody
- Notarized statement or affidavit if one of the legal parents is absent
If traveling to a foreign country, check the Department of State Website or contact the particular country’s embassy about whether a special government form is needed. For example, Australia requires a special consent form for an Australian visa for children under the age of 18 years. Since an estimated 30,000 minors from South Africa have been victims of human trafficking, all children flying to or from South Africa must travel with their birth certificate and an affidavit of consent if only traveling with one parent, according to the U.S. Embassy in South Africa.
3. Why You Should Use a Child Travel Consent Form
When traveling with children, adults should formally document that they are authorized to travel with a child that is not their own. Customs and Border Protection Officers have the right to ask you for documentation, so it is best to be ready with a Travel Consent Form. Otherwise, you and the child may be detained until the situation is clarified.
This is particularly necessary when only one parent is traveling with the child, and the parents are separated or in a custody battle over the child.
CONSEQUENCES SUFFERED BY PARENTS & CHILDREN
Consequences Suffered by Parent/Adult
Consequences Suffered by Child
|1. Loss of Money||1. Loss of Money|
|Denied entry into a country with a child||Unable to enter a foreign country without formal document to travel alone or with an unauthorized adult|
|Need to hire a lawyer to dispute custody challenge with ex-spouse||2. Loss of Time|
|2. Loss of Time||Detained because law enforcement fears the child is being abducted or kidnapped|
|Detained by police or immigration officers about your legal authority over the child||Repeatedly questioned by airline employees and immigration officers about why they are traveling alone|
|Numerous questions about legal authority from airline employees||3. Mental Anguish|
|3. Mental Anguish||Difficulty getting past law enforcement checkpoints|
|Questioned at immigration checkpoints at the airport until situation explained||Suspected of being a runaway, a victim of child pornography, subjected to human trafficking, or abducted|
|Embarrassed because suspected as a kidnapper|
4. Common Situations for Using a Child Travel Consent Form
This document should be used if the child is:
- Traveling with only one parent
- Visiting parents who are separated
- Traveling alone because one parent has passed away
- Traveling with the one parent who has sole custody
Alternatively, this form is useful if both parents allow the child to:
- Vacation with family friends
- Go on a church outing with their congregation
- Attend a school trip with teachers or chaperones
- Travel or study abroad for a temporary amount of time
- Travel with a grandparent, aunt, uncle, adult sibling, or babysitter
5. What Should be Included in a Minor Travel Consent Form
Our sample Child Travel Consent form asks you easy questions that help you fill out the document step-by-step.
1. Who is traveling?
Children under 18 years of age should either travel with an authorized adult or have special permission documented in the form. Otherwise, law enforcement officers will consider such children as “unaccompanied minors.”
2. Who is giving permission?
The parent or legal guardian who has custody of the child must give permission for the child to travel alone or with another parent, family member, or adult. If the child is traveling alone, the Child Travel Consent form should be signed by both parents or legal guardians who have custody of the child.
3. What are the details of the trip?
The Child Travel Consent form should also spell out the following details:
- WHERE the child is traveling to (final destination)
- WHEN the child will be traveling and returning
- WHY the child is on a journey with another adult or by themselves
- WHO the responsible adult is, if anyone, that will be traveling
4. What other details should be included?
This form may also cover food allergies or special needs of the child.
You may also need a Child Medical Consent Form if you want another responsible adult to make medical decisions and authorize certain medical treatments for the child.