Sometimes, work, school, your health, or other commitments can prevent you from accompanying your child when they travel. They may need to travel alone or with a relative or friend of the family. While such an arrangement is acceptable in most countries, you need to prepare an authorization letter for minor to travel for a child traveling without their parent or legal guardian. Here is everything you need to know about this letter, what it should contain, and how to prepare it.
What Is an Authorization Letter for Minor to Travel?
Also called a child travel consent letter, an authorization letter for a minor to travel is an official document that gives a minor permission to travel alone or with a party that is not their parent or legal guardian. This may include a friend of the family, teacher, grandparent, aunt, or neighbor. The consent letter tells the recipient that you, the child’s parent, have allowed them to travel without you.
Tip: Your authorization letter can work for both domestic and international flights. However, consider preparing multiple letters if your child’s trip will include several stops.
Why Is this Authorization Letter Important?
An authorization letter for a minor to travel is official proof of parental consent. It tells travel authorities that a child’s parent or legal guardian has allowed them to travel alone or with their current company. Without this letter, travel authorities may prevent a child from continuing with their trip – a policy designed to protect children from being abducted. As a parent, this letter comes in handy when:
- Your child is traveling with relatives, such as cousins, uncles, aunts, or grandparents.
- Your child is traveling with a group for vacation or religious, school, or sports events.
- Your child is going abroad on a school trip.
- You and your child’s other parent are legally separated, and only one of you is traveling with the child.
- Your child is traveling alone and meeting a third party at their destination.
Essential Elements of an Authorization Letter for Minor to Travel
An authorization letter for a minor to travel can be as simple as acknowledging that you have given your child permission to travel without you. It does not need to be long. That said, it should at least contain the following key details:
- The date of authorization
- The parent’s full name, contact information, and identification details.
- Confirmation that the writer is the child’s parent or legal guardian
- The child’s name, date of birth, address, and passport number if they are traveling internationally.
- The name and identification details of the party allowed to travel with the child.
- The travel dates and destinations.
- The purpose of the trip
- The parent’s signature
- Witness signatures and a notary public seal, depending on the airline.
Note: The US Customs and Border Protection recommends that an authorization letter for minors to travel be notarized.
You may also include medical information about your child, such as their allergies or special needs, where applicable. Sometimes, it is prudent to attach a child medical consent form to this letter, permitting the party traveling with your child to make medical decisions on your behalf.
How to Write
While it is not actually a legal requirement, customs agents, law enforcement officers, or immigration officers may prevent a child from traveling if they suspect a kidnapping has happened. Writing an authorization letter for your child can help prevent this. Here is a guide:
Note: Create separate consent forms if more than one minor is traveling.
Step 1: Identify the Legal Guardian
Start by indicating the date of authorization followed by your name, address, and contact information. In the first paragraph, write your full name and confirm that you are the child’s parent or legal guardian and can make decisions about them. You can also attach a copy of your driver’s license or passport.
Step 2: Identify the Child
Next, note the traveling child’s name, date of birth, and address. Attach a copy of their birth certificate or, if this is not available, their passport or a photo of them.
Step 3: Describe the Trip
Now, explain where, when, and how the child will be traveling. Mention the purpose of the trip and why you will not be accompanying them. You can also include details such as the destination, travel dates, location of stay, and contact person at your child’s arrival point.
Step 4: Identify the Accompanying Party
If your child is accompanied by a third party, identify them by name, identification details, contact information, and address. State their relationship to the child and, where necessary, whether or not they can make medical decisions for your child in your absence.
Step 5: Sign the Form
Lastly, sign the form, preferably before a notary public. You can also include one or two witness signatures alongside accurate dates of consent.
Yes, a child can travel to the US without their parent or legal guardian as long as they give their travel documents and written parental consent for travel. Most airlines in the country also require that the child be at least 5 years old.
The documents you need to carry when traveling with a minor may vary from airline to airline. However, you should at least pack the following:
ᐅ Parent consent form
ᐅ The child’s photo ID or passport
ᐅ The child’s boarding pass
ᐅ The child’s birth certificate
You may also need a child medical consent form for long trips and any legal custody documents or court orders where divorce, custody, or separation questions may arise.
The only way to travel with a child that is not yours is to get a consent form from their parent or legal guardian.
Yes. However, the traveling parent will need a note from the other parent expressing their consent for the trip. This is especially true when the parents are divorced.
Many jurisdictions require that a child travel consent form be notarized. In the US, it is highly recommended that you get the form notarized for authentication.
It depends on who has parental responsibility. If the child’s father has parental responsibility over the child, such as in a shared custody situation, you could face child abduction charges if you travel with the child without their permission. If they do not, you do not need their consent, and there are no repercussions. It is best to consult with a family lawyer before making this decision.
Any person who has attained the age of majority, which could be 18, 19, or 21, depending on the jurisdiction, and is of sound mind can witness a child travel consent form.
Yes, a child can travel domestically or internationally with their grandparents as long as they have a valid authorization letter for travel.
An effective authorization letter for minor to travel identifies the traveling child, their parent or legal guardian, and the person they are traveling with (if they are not traveling alone). It also explains the purpose of the trip, outlines the itinerary, and, most importantly, expresses that the child’s parent has given them permission to travel.