Parental authorization for travel with a minor

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I will be travelling back to the States with my daughter soon. The last time I flew home with her I got a load of grief in Amsterdam because I didn't have a parental authorization form from my ex. My question is: Is there an official form to get somewhere or can we write out our own letter? Does this letter need to be signed by a notary? Anyone have any experience on the matter?

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My mother simply has a handwritten note with a copy of my passport. None of us have ever been stopped, though I did get grief when entering the US about 4 years ago (where was my husband, why was I travelling alone, etc). When I said he had to work he let us through. Annoying, but necessary in the age of parental kidnappings I guess.

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If you have sole custody, then you could theoretically just carry the custody judgement to prove that you have sole custody, though lately it seems that it isn't always being as readily accepted. If you have joint custody, or you really want to travel hassle free, then yes you definitely need your ex to give written permission. You used to be able to get away with just a hand written note specifying details like child's name, birthdate, passport number, dates of travel and to where yada yada. But with the borders tightening up, many times the "friendly" border folks will be looking for a fully notarized parental consent form, like one of these or here a sample letter being given by Air Canada for a Canadian parent travelling to the USA with children which you could modify to suit your situation.

 

Yeah, it's a real drag nowadays, but given some of the high profile kidnappings that have gone on, I can understand why many airlines and countries have tightened up their checks on minors travelling with only one parent.

 

NW Airlines has on its web site:

 

 

Minor traveling with one parent: If a minor child is traveling with only one parent, the absent parent is recommended to provide notarized consent. If only one parent has legal custody, that parent should be prepared to provide a court order of child custody to airlines and international authorities.

Play it safe and get a notarized authorization from your ex to avoid any possible hassles. That probably means that nobody will ask you for it during your whole trip. But if they do, you'll be all set to go. ;)

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My experience:

Travelling within the EU I've found to be fairly simple (my daughter and I have different last names), no one has asked for the permission letter from my husband. But travelling to Canada they did ask (and I was told to have the letter notarized next time). It was also obvious I was her mother, so that may have helped keep things moving along.

I always take a letter of permission written by my husband with his contact details on it, along with the dates we are travelling. We usually extend the dates by a week or so, just in case we face some sort of delay. As I said, in Canada they said it should be notarized, but they still let me through. Your choice as to where you want the risk of inconvenience to be, before travel or during it. If you look online, there are several permission forms you can copy.

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I got a letter last year. Not needed. This year I was asked for a letter and the guy on immigration started asking my 6 year old whether he was at school or not as we were traveling during school term time. This was Munich end. In London they asked nothing.

 

I didn't get the impression it had to be signed by a notar or anything. Of course with 2 mins to spare I could have made one...

 

He eventually let me through but there were a few nervous moments.

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I wasn't asked to provide the letter. But I was asked for a copy of my daughter's birth certficate both on the way to the States and on the return trip. I had a copy with me, so it wasn't a problem.

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Yes, carrying the child's birth certificate, original or copy, is essential. I think they're much stricter in the U.S. and Canada than they are here about parental custody and making sure the child is not being abducted. I'm not a single parent, but a couple of times when we (me, German husband, two German/Canadian kids) entered Canada they gave my kids a bit of the third degree by asking what grade they were in, where we were going etc, just to see if they could catch them out I guess. I usually take copies of the kids birth certificates and a copy of our marriage certificate when we go on holiday even when we're all travelling together.

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Oh no, you wouldn't want to travel anywhere where they're concerned about a child's safety, would you?

 

 

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I think they're much stricter in the U.S. and Canada than they are here about parental custody and making sure the child is not being abducted. I'm not a single parent, but a couple of times when we (me, German husband, two German/Canadian kids) entered Canada they gave my kids a bit of the third degree by asking what grade they were in, where we were going etc, just to see if they could catch them out I guess.

Actually, nobody in the US or in Germany asked me anything about it. It was at passport control in Amsterdam both times that they asked me where the father was, what the story with my kid was, etc. But I ALWAYS have problems in Amsterdam anyway, because my passport still shows my maiden name in the front with an amendment on the last pasge to show the name change. It seems to create a lot of confusion for them.

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Seems to be hit and miss. Sometimes they ask questions, sometimes they don't. It only happened to us once or twice. Always good to be on the safe side and have the documents handy, though.

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Oh no, you wouldn't want to travel anywhere where they're concerned about a child's safety, would you?

 

Well of course not. I mean if you have done nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear right?

 

I am just a bit spoiled by mostly moving between countries where, at most, I need show only a passport and that is the extent of the bureaucracy and general messing about I have to put up with when travelling.

 

I am sure there are millions of people who travel to and from the US/Canada with no problems every single day, so long as they have told the authorities every single piece of personal information from birth (or even before in some cases) to your future plans but this sort of thing is not for me.

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The gent has got a signed letter from the mother (perhaps we need that notarised?) and is getting a (pre-agreed) signed statement from the school too, as missy will be out of school during term-time this Christmas.

Having the birth cert as well might be a good idea...

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as lufthansa allow unaccompanied kids over the age of 12 to fly unsupervised, does that mean that they would have no problems with immigration?

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as lufthansa allow unaccompanied kids over the age of 12 to fly unsupervised, does that mean that they would have no problems with immigration?

 

Not if they have all the required documents on them - passport, birth certificate and parental permission form. Kids even younger than 12 fly all the time.

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does seem a bit odd to require passport and birth certificate, as you need a birth certificate to get a passport (first time)

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German kids&nbsp;identity cards&nbsp;don't require a picture. <BR><BR>I assume they would need a full passport to go to the US though?

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as lufthansa allow unaccompanied kids over the age of 12 to fly unsupervised, does that mean that they would have no problems with immigration?

 

I hope not, mini bug is flying alone for the first time without the "unaccompanied minor" status on Wednesday. Of course they will see me hugging and cuddling him right before passport control, they'll probably assume he's not running away. I hope the UK doesn't hassle him though.

 

 

German kids&nbsp;identity cards&nbsp;don't require a picture. <BR><BR>I assume they would need a full passport to go to the US though?

 

Those are not valid for the US and not for most international travel for a couple years now. A full passport is needed.

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I hope not, mini bug is flying alone for the first time without the "unaccompanied minor" status on Wednesday. Of course they will see me hugging and cuddling him right before passport control, they'll probably assume he's not running away. I hope the UK doesn't hassle him though.

 

probably no more than the rest of us :angry:

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I was just at my local Rathaus today getting a "child's passport" for my 13 year old stepson. My family is traveling to Italy tomrrow (yes, it was a close call. lol) and will be coming home on Sunday.

 

The people at the Rathaus know us because we had our marriage there less than a year ago, and have been there for several other miscellaneous things since then. They know that I am not the mother of my stepson and automatically asked if we had a signed letter with permission from the mother. Since we only need the child passport for travel within the EU right now, it was granted without any problems. However, they will not process the FULL passport (for travel outside of the EU) until there is written permission from the mother.

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