When minors travel, typically, all the parents or guardians are present. However, they will need a minor travel consent form if this is not the case. This document proves that the child in question is with the proper adults and has not been removed against the will of any parents or guardians. These forms are necessary for many types of travel, such as flights and especially international holidays and visits. Learning to craft a professional minor travel consent form can literally open up a world of experiences for young people.
What Is a Minor Travel Consent Form?
A minor travel consent form is a letter from one or all of a minor’s legally responsible adults. The letter goes with the child to show that whoever has them isn’t kidnapping them. The issuer may be parents, other family members, or guardians with whom the minors typically live and who have at least partial custody. In the US, underage people cannot travel without the knowledge and consent of all legal parents or guardians. Our minor travel consent forms contain all the necessary information so you can fill them out in minutes and travel worry-free.
When to Use a Minor Travel Consent Form
You should use a minor travel consent form any time your minor child is traveling without all their legal guardians or parent present. You need this form to travel unless you have sole custody or a court order allowing the trip. Even parents who live together and share joint custody must sign these waivers if only one parent is traveling.
These clever travel restrictions are in place to prevent strangers from taking children cross-country or out of the country. Additionally, it cuts down on parental kidnapping, where one spouse absconds with the child without the others’ knowledge or consent. Single parents or guardians don’t need additional permission. Families with more than two guardians who share custody must all give their written consent or travel with the minor.
How to Write
A minor traveling with one parent/guardian only needs a basic note from their other parent or guardian. Writing these consent forms is very straightforward and may be no more than 1-2 sentences without frills. For example, you could write, “I acknowledge and consent to allow my minor child (their name here) to travel alone with their other parent/guardian (name here),” followed by a signature and contact information. You will need to include more information for a more formal minor travel consent form, especially if the minor is traveling with non-custodial adults like a friend of the family. Below you’ll find a numbered list with everything you should include starting from the top of the page and moving down. Keep in mind that it is best to type and print these forms, but you should always sign by hand.
- A Title- Minor Travel Consent Form
- A Statement of Consent- This should clearly state that you consent for your child to travel. Use your full name(s) and the child’s as well.
- Minor Information- Here, you should list the name, date, place of birth, and passport number if they are going abroad. You may include a recent photo if you prefer.
- Type of Travel- Clearly states whether they are traveling alone or who they have permission to travel with. Mention their relationship to the child if related, name the organization if it is a group trip, and give the same passport information, but for the responsible adult who is taking them abroad if applicable. You may also include a recent picture of the adult(s) they plan to travel with if you have one.
- (Optional but Recommended) Child Medical Concerns- If your minor has a health condition that could be life-threatening, such as asthma or diabetes, you may include this information to help authorities if they should become separated from their responsible adult.
- (Optional but Recommended) Itinerary and Travel Dates- You can include this as a list of places they plan to see, such as museums or other entertainment and enrichment, or list the cities and countries they plan to visit. Make sure you include a statement of consent here as well, specifying that you agree to their proposed itinerary. You should also include the travel dates and their expected return date.
- Signature Lines- Print the parent/guardian(s) name(s) and leave an open line for the signatures. Include a date as well. If you plan to have your form notarized, leave these blank until you are instructed to sign. Otherwise, use blue or black ink only and sign by hand.
- Your Contact Information- Provide your contact info so you can be reached if there are questions, concerns, or problems.
Below we’ve answered all of the top questions people ask relating to minor travel consent forms. You will find additional information and tips on traveling with minors when one or all of their guardians or parents cannot come on the trip.
Whether a child can travel with one parent according to US law varies. However, if you are flying, you don’t need a consent form from the other parent. If you don’t share a last name, you may need a birth certificate to prove your relationship to the child. In many cases, you do need a consent form from the other parent.
A minor can go to Mexico without a parent under two conditions. First, they may travel with a group or guardian that is of legal age or come to study. Second, the minor will need a consent form signed by both parents (or guardians). If only one parent, such as a widowed adult or one with sole custody, one signature will suffice. Still, you may need to provide additional documentation showing there is no second adult to sign the form.
A child can travel alone once they are 5 years old. However, there are often special procedures and requirements for unaccompanied minors. These are most common up to the age of 11, but some airlines have unaccompanied minor policies up to the age of 14. Children under 5 must have a responsible adult to travel.
Some essential elements of a minor travel consent form include the full legal names of the child, the person they are traveling with, and the parent(s) or guardian(s) giving permission. Additionally, the form should include the elements below.
ᐅ A title and date of issue
ᐅ Specific descriptions of where the recipient can take the child
ᐅ A timeframe
ᐅ If your child needs medicine or has any conditions, these should be included in case something goes wrong.
ᐅ A statement saying the person with the letter (indicated by their name) has permission to travel with the child.
ᐅ Signature(s) with a date
ᐅ A notary stamp
A child needs a notarized consent form to travel if even one of their parents or guardians are absent. Remember not to sign the form until the notary asks you to do so since they must witness the signature for it to be valid. A pre-signed form is not something the notary can safely say was signed by the correct person. You will also need a government-issued ID to prove who you are.
The short answer to “can I take my son abroad without his father’s consent” is no. However, if you have sole custody, it is fine. Otherwise, you need a consent form to pick up a passport. This helps prevent cases of kidnapping and custodial kidnapping.
Your ex-wife can take your child on holiday without your consent if the custody arrangement allows it or if she has sole custody. Otherwise, she would need a signed and notarized consent form. If you refuse, your ex-wife can appeal to family court and get a judge’s permission for the trip instead unless you can offer some reasonable explanation for why it would be unsafe.
You can sometimes stop your ex from taking your child on holiday by calling a Family Lawyer and filing in family court to prevent their removal or relocation. Otherwise, the other parent still needs a signed consent form to travel with your child unless they have sole custody. That said, the parent who wishes to travel can also file against you in court to get legal permission for the trip despite your (allegedly unreasonable) refusal. The judge makes all final determinations in this case.
Travel is a wonderful, enriching experience; there’s no reason to wait until your minor child becomes an adult to enjoy it. However, when they are traveling with someone else, or all the parent/guardian(s) are not present, a simple minor travel consent form can save you a lot of hassle. It’s important to issue a minor travel consent form every time your child travels. Otherwise, they may not be allowed past customs or onto most forms of transportation. Most importantly, if anything should happen, that form will help authorities safely get your child home.