There are several documents that need to be completed and shown at the airport while travelling abroad, and if you are travelling with kids, you will need another one that is very specific. Called the child travel consent letter, it is essentially a safeguard designed to prevent unfortunate occurrences involving cross-border transportation and instances of trafficking. As such, having this child travel consent letter is extremely important, and should be kept at all times when travelling abroad with your children.
Let’s look at what a child travel consent letter is, why it is so important and what are the legal implications of not having it with you during international travel. In short, we will discuss the complete ins and outs of child travel consent letters, and also look at how notarization can help this whole process.
What is a child travel consent letter?
A child travel consent letter is a letter that proves to the customs officials and the transportation providers that both parents or guardians of the child have given their approval for the travel arrangements. This ensures that the child is travelling safely and with the consent of the legal guardians or parents.
Child travel consent letters are required in the case where the child might be travelling with a single parent; for instance, when a child might be travelling with their father, the child travel consent letter will also need the signatures of the mother to ensure that the travel has approval from both the parents. Otherwise, the case might be treated with the understanding that the other parent has not approved the travel arrangement. In the case of child travel consent, signatures of both parents or guardians (if any) are required.
When is a child travel consent letter required?
A child travel consent letter is required in anyone of three cases, wherein,
- Said child is travelling alone without an accompanying adult.
- The child is travelling with one parent or legal guardian (in which case, notarized consent letters will need to be produced bearing the other parent’s/ legal guardian’s signature)
- The child is travelling with a non-legal guardian like a friend, cousin etc.
In the last instance, the child travel consent letter will have signatures from both of the parents on the letter, signifying their approval of the international travel that the minor (child) will be undertaking.
What does a child travel consent include?
There is some information that needs to be included in the child travel consent package. Let’s look at them individually.
- Basic information: This includes the child’s name, gender, birthday, and the place of birth.
- Contact: Contact information of both the parents (or legal guardians)
- Travelling arrangements: Whether the child is taking a connecting flight, the flight number, ticket details. Essentially all the details of the travel need to be in that child travel consent.
- Passport, birth certificate details: The child travel consent form should also include the passport number of the minor, and the birth certificate details as well.
Why is a child travel consent letter imperative?
The world is not a very safe place. Let us just get that out of the way. A lot of crime exists, and some facets of crime unfortunately focus on minors. To control the movement and to ensure the safety of every child, a travel consent letter is considered effective. A lot of cross border crime is prevented by the use of child travel consent letters; let’s briefly look at what makes child travel consent letters so important.
- Helps stem trafficking: Child trafficking is an extreme case, but the simple child travel consent letter ensures that no such untoward action happens to a child. Any attempts of such can be caught and rectified immediately at the airport or seaport and the child returned to safety.
- Prevents cases of domestic disputes: Sometimes, children can get dragged into domestic disputes that may affect their physical and mental health, not to mention their safety as well. In such a case, should the disputing party forcibly try to relocate the minor, the border authorities can prevent that as well and return the child to the parent.
- Helps ensure child is travelling with prior intimation: If the parents or legal guardians have been informed prior to the travel, this will ensure that they know where to reach their child should it become necessary. A child travel consent letter will indicate to the authorities that prior intimation and approval has been received, and the child is under authorization by their parents to travel abroad.
The importance of notarizing the child travel consent letter
Even if you do have your child travel consent letter, the officers at the border control or customs will verify it for details and accuracy, considering how delicate the situation involving minors is and with what level of care it needs to be handled. This can cause some delay in them running your details, and we have a solution for you to avoid such situations: notary public.
A notary public is a public officer that has been authorised by the government to vet the details on its behalf and to stamp and verify any documents that might be needed for governmental purposes. Notaries are used for a wide range of verification purposes, and a child travel consent letter is among them.
Unfortunately, child abductions and domestic partners forcibly relocating children happens often, and it is upto the border control officers to prevent it. As such, they are entitled to view even completed child travel consent documents with an eye of suspicion, especially if they notice or feel that something may not be quite right. This begets the use of notarization of child travel consent documents, which will then ensure that the entire matter has been looked at by a notary public and will let the officer-in-charge know that the documents are cleared and legitimate and the travel is also approved of by both parents.
By notarizing the documents, you will have further proven that the documents are in order, and that there is nothing to be suspicious about during a child’s travel abroad. This will also put the customs or border personnel at ease, and it will provide concrete evidence of verification. Getting one notarized will ease your travel, especially abroad, and will further speed up the process with customs and even the destinations that you go to, since many countries including the USA, Australia, Singapore and European nations mandate the use of child travel consent letters, and getting it notarized will help speed up the process at Arrivals as well.
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