A minor/child travel consent form is a form that allows minors to travel without the presence of their parents or legal guardians.
A minor/child travel consent form is required if a child will be traveling alone or with an adult who is neither their legal guardian nor parent. if a child is traveling with a relative or friend, be it their grandparent, uncle or aunt, teacher, or friend, it will be required that the child and the accompanying person obtain a minor travel consent form.
A minor travel consent form is also used by parents that have gone through a separation. When one parent needs to take the child on a trip, and the other parent is not going with them, a minor travel consent form will be required.
Alternative names of a minor/child travel consent form:
- Child travel consent letter
- Travel consent letter
- Consent letter of the or child traveling abroad.
- Parental consent form.
- Travel permission letter.
Importance of Travel Consent Form
When an adult is accompanying a child below the age of 18, that is not their child or legal heir, the accompanying adult requires a form of legal document that establishes the accompanying adult’s rights to accompany the child on the trip as granted by the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
In Australia, a special consent form for an Australian visa is required for children under the age of 18. This is because an estimated 30,000 south African minors have been victims of human trafficking. Border protection officers as well as customs officers have the right to demand documentation authorizing an adult to accompany a min on a trip. Hence, it is best to have a travel consent form ready for such an occasion as it can prove that the accompanying adult is authorized to travel with the child in their custody.
Domestic Travel Vs International Travel
During a domestic flight, a minor traveling alone may be questioned by the TSA. Identification is therefore important in addition to a minor travel consent. Children are however allowed to fly alone domestically, so a minor travel consent form is not a necessity.
However, it is a safe practice to have one just in case. During an international flight on the other hand, either the child is traveling alone or with someone who is not their legal guardian or parent, or with only one of both parents, the child will be required to present a parental consent form before being allowed to leave the country. The immigration of the visiting country would also require a parental consent form upon arrival.
Uses of Minor/Child Travel Consent Form
Generally, a minor/child travel consent form is used when a child needs to travel, but the parents or legal guardian cannot accompany the child. However, under the broad scope of this concept, some specific instances when a minor travel consent form is required.
The specific instances include:
- The child or minor under 18 years of age needs to travel without their parents or legal guardians.
- The child or minor is required to travel by rail, sea or by air.
- The child or minor is required to cross U.S borders by air.
- The child or minor is required to fly domestically in or out of a state.
- The child or minor is the subject of a custody dispute between both parents or legal guardians.
- The child or minor is required to travel with only one parent or guardian.
- The child or minor needs to travel, but only one parent or legal guardian has sole custody.
- A child or minor is on a vacation with family friends or other people that are not the child’s parent or legal guardian.
- The child or minor is on a church trip with the rest of the congregation.
- The child is on a school trip with other students supervised by teachers or chaperones.
- The child is required to study abroad temporarily.
- The child is traveling with a relative, be it a grandparent, aunt or uncle, adult sibling, or babysitter.
Basic Elements of Consent Form
Since the minor/child travel consent form is a legal document, certain elements must be included in order to ensure its universal validity (for domestic travel or international travel, both).
Here are the important elements of a minor/child travel consent form:
Child’s basic information
The basic information about the child, which includes the child’s name, date of birth, place of birth, and passport information should be specified in the minor travel consent form. If the child is traveling alone, the child should have special permissions documented in the minor/child travel consent forms. Law enforcement agencies consider children traveling without an accompanying adult or special permission as unaccompanied minors.
Special considerations or medical needs
The minor/child travel consent form should also contain all the child’s Relevant Special needs as well as any allergies or other medical needs the child may have. for instance, if the child is allergic to peanuts and requires an epinephrine pen to be around at all times, the minor/child travel consent form should state as such.
The parent or guardian information includes the parent or guardian’s information who is consenting to the travel with another adult. Their, passport information and custody information should be included in the minor travel consent form. Parents and legal guardians responsible for the child are required to include permission for the child to travel with an accompanying adult or alone in the form.
The minor/child travel consent form should be signed by both parents or legal guardians. If the child has a single parent with sole custody or a sole legal guardian, then only one signature and set of basic details of the guardian are required.
Basic Information of the accompanying adult
The consent form should include all the relevant basic information of the accompanying adult with the child, including their name and other basic information in the consent form.
All the relevant travel information such as the travel dates and destinations as well as a specific end date to establish the temporary nature of the consent. Specifically, the final destination of the trip, the arrival and departure dates, the reason for the child to travel alone, or with the accompanying adult, and the relationship the child has with the accompanying adult should be included in the travel information of the minor/child travel consent form.
Emergency contact information
The emergency contact information written in the minor/child travel consent form should include the address of the emergency contact as well as their phone number for easy contact in case of an emergency.
Notary or witnesses
The child travel consent form may require a notary or witnesses depending on the airline requirements. While some airlines may require additional signatures from witnesses, the United States’ customs and border protection suggests that the child travel consent should be notarized.
In case a Single Parent has Sole Custody
In addition to all the necessary general components being included in the consent form, in case the child has only one parent with sole custody, either due to the death of the other parent or by a court decision, the parent that holds sole custody should have one of the following documents ready when traveling across U.S borders with the child;
- Court decision naming a sole custodian
- Death certificate of the other parent.
- A birth certificate naming a single parent.
- Custody papers documenting legal custody of the child.
- Affidavit or a Notarized statement recognizing the single parent’s sole custody.
Download free customizable child travel consent form templates from below.
Consequences of Not Using the Form
If the situation demands that the accompanying adult provides documentation authorizing them to chaperone or accompany the child on the trip, and the adult is unable to provide a documented travel consent, the adult, along with the child will be detained until the situation is clarified.
Both the accompanying adult and the child will suffer other consequences given below:
|Adult Consequences of not providing a Minor/Child Travel Consent Form||Effects of not providing a Minor/Child Travel Consent Form on the child.|
|Financial loss as a result of denied entry, as well as legal charges incurred in the course of hiring a lawyer to help fight for custody of the child.||Inability to enter a foreign country without written formal documentation authorizing lone travel or a named adult chaperone.|
|Time loss as a result of immigration or police detention while the adult’s legal authority to accompany the child is investigated as well as Extensive questioning by airline employees.||Time loss as a result of detention in fears that the child is being abducted or kidnapped as well as repeated questioning by the airline employees and immigration officers about why the child is traveling alone.|
|Emotional trauma as a result of questioning at immigration checkpoints until the situation has been resolved. Also, the embarrassment of being suspected as a kidnapper.||The emotional trauma of having difficulty getting past law enforcement checkpoints as well as being suspected of running away or being a victim of evils such as child pornography, human trafficking, or abduction.|
Child Medical Consent Form While Traveling
A child medical consent form authorizes an accompanying adult that is not a legal guardian or parent of the child to make medical decisions for the child during travel. The minor/child travel consent form on the other hand does not give the accompanying adults any legal rights to make any medical decisions for the child, either temporarily or otherwise.
If the parents or legal guardians of the child wishes to grant the chaperone the right to make medical decisions for the child while the chaperone is traveling with the child, the parents or legal guardians will be required to also complete a child medical consent form along with the travel consent form. The child’s medical consent form provides detailed authorized medical treatments as well as the health information about the child, the identity of the chaperone as well as other specific information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should separating parents sign the child travel consent form?
Whenever a child needs to travel without their parent or guardian’s consent, it is recommended that the child’s chaperone carries a child’s travel consent. When two parents are going through a separation, the court may decide to give either parent sole custody, giving them the exclusive right to make all the decisions for the child, or shared custody between both parents. If a parent has sole custody, they may still be required to provide some documentation like a separation agreement or court order that gives them the authority to travel with the child.
If for instance, a separated or divorced couple has a custody arrangement that includes terms for traveling with their child in their separation or divorce documents, these documents may be used as a travel consent letter.
However, a child travel consent may be easier for border agents to handle depending on the size of the court order or agreement. Furthermore, parents who do not have an established agreement or court order, parents who have just begun the separation or divorce process, for instance, need to have a consent form when either parent is traveling with the child without the other parent.
Do I need the child travel consent form if I am a temporary guardian?
If an adult-only has a temporary guardianship over the child, the adult is required to obtain a child travel consent if they intend to travel with the child. The child travel consent is proof that the adult is authorized to travel with the child even if the adult’s guardianship papers are deemed insufficient by any protection agency.
Does a minor/child travel consent form need to be notarized?
A minor/child travel consent form may need to be notarized depending on where the adult plans to travel with the child. If, however, notarization is not required it is still strongly recommended in case of any eventuality. If the child’s travel consent is not notarized the adults may be delayed at the airport or prevented from traveling further by border protection officers.
Do I need a different child travel consent for domestic and international flights?
The same child travel consent can be used for international and domestic flights. However, the adults may be required to have a notarized child travel consent for international flights depending on which country the adults wish to enter with the child.
Can a child travel with one (1) parent under US law?
The United States customs and border protection recommends that if a single parent is traveling with their child, especially if the parents are divorced, the parents are required to carry a note from the other parent expressing their consent to the trip. Furthermore, it is highly recommended so that the concept note be notarized.
How old does a child have to be to travel alone?
The minimum age requirement for a child to travel without a parent or guardian is 5 years. If a child is 8 years or older the child may fly with connections and must be escorted by airline personnel to the gate. All minors under the age of 18 years are required to carry a travel consent form.
Does a travel consent form include medical decisions?
A minor/child travel consent form does not include authorization to make medical decisions for the child. If, however, the consenting legal Guardian or parent would like to authorize the chaperone to make medical decisions on behalf of the child then a separate minor child power of attorney form should be authorized.