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Sample Permission Letter for Traveling Child

Question: Mike M. asks: My daughter is traveling out of the country on vacation with another family. Do you have a sample letter or can you give me an idea of what the letter should say? I am told that the family should have a notarized letter giving them permission to take our daughter with them.

Answer: Renuka Sastri, who travels frequently with her children answers:  We recently used such a letter when I planned a trip for our children. You can paste the text below into a Word document and have it notarized at a local Kinko’s or any place that offers notary services. You will need a new letter for each trip.

Letter of Authorization for Travel

(Date)
I (parent's name), authorize my child/children, (child/children’s name) to travel to (destination) on (date of travel) aboard Airline/Flight # (flight information) with (accompanying adults), returning on (date of return).

Signed by Parent or Parents
Name:
Address:
Telephone/Contact:

Notary Public Signature/Seal

Some points to note: You can use the same form for parents or legal guardians. I’ve used “parents” here for simplicity.

If your child is traveling with someone other than a parent: If both parents’ names appear on the birth certificate and/or passport, be sure to include both names in the letter. If multiple adults are going to be responsible at different times for your child on the trip, be sure to include all the names.

If your child is traveling with one parent: The letter needs to be signed by the parent not on the trip. I recommend you take two originals in the event immigration authorities need to keep one on entry at your destination.  You will need a valid ID for the notary. The documents must be signed at the time of notarization, not before.  Be sure to include a copy of the child's proof of medical insurance coverage. It is recommended that divorced parents take a copy of their custody agreement as well.
 
Other resources:
- Country Specific Information from the US Department of State
- Family and Children's Passport Issues
Other blog posts worth reading:
Travel Documents For Children
- Travel Documentation for Solo Parent Travel 

Complete international travel planning, including independent and escorted European tours, passport photos and International Driving Permits are available at your local AAA office.
  • http://www.mnui.com/ International travel insurance

    I had to have a letter when I traveled out of the US with my dad when I was a kid. I was in high school at the time, and the idea never crossed my mind. We had a family friend that told us we would need a letter form my mom. They were correct at the border I had to show it to them. It would have ruined our trip had we not listened to our friend.

  • http://www.sampleletters.org/ Sample Letters

    The way it has been explained is really very good. Nice post thanks.

  • http://www.goldenrule.com/health/health-savings.shtml HSA

    These letters are useful not just for international travel but for domestic travel as well. We have a form letter that we use for church youth group field trips. The letter gives the counselors various levels of authority to make medical decisions, etc. Very important documents to keep with you.

  • claris

    Thank you so much this’s been so helpful!!!!
    I appreciate you have posted this!!!!!!!

  • JayneS

    My daughter and her cousin recently traveled with their granny from Southampton, UK to NYC on Cunard’s QM2. Both families used the AAA sample permission letter which was great. There were a few things I’d like to share:

    1. Cunard actually contacted granny to make sure that she had permission letters. In the past families without such documentation had actually been unable to travel and so they wished to avoid such situations.
    2. Instead of being notarized one letter was signed by as a solicitor and this was perfectly acceptable.
    3. I hadn’t realized that notary stamps have an expiration date. The notarized copy of our daughter’s birth certificate from a previous trip was out-of-date for this trip. However, since this was just an additional piece of info it didn’t cause a problem.

  • lisa bak

    I have had one of these letters for each of the 6 trips I have taken alone with my kids and no one has ever asked to see it.

  • http://www.cngstone.com/ CNG

    My wife frequently travels abroad with the kids while I’m still at home. Are there any countries or cultures that require this kind of documentation more than others? They definitely go off the beaten path, carry all sorts of documentation, but never brought anything signed by me (or notarized).

  • http://www.aaa.com/ Renuka Sastri

    CNG,
    There has been increased scrutiny regarding international child abduction. We would recommend that you check with the individual requirements for each country as you plan your travel. You may not be asked for the information but if the regulations require it, we recommend you take it.

    For more on requirements for each country, visit the State Department’s Consular Information Program at http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html

  • Jessica

    I recently traveled with my young son without my ex husband (duh!) and brought the above mentioned notarized document. We traveled from WA state to FL and then on a cruise out of the country into the Carribean. Never got stopped once and asked. We have different last names, but I do have a passport for him.

    Speed forward to a few weeks ago when I took him across the border to go to a wave pool into Canada and I got totally quizzed and given a hard time – WITH the passport, divorce decree which the agent looked over and declared because we have joint legal custody that I would need a "blanket letter" saying that he agreed that it was okay for me to take our son over the border on occasion. No dates necessary for specifics because we live so close to the border.

    Just my experience!

  • Gabe

    what modifications need to be made to the notarized letter for two minors (17 yrs. old) traveling abroad without parents, and staying with a relative?

  • http://www.aaatravelviews.com/ Community Manager

    Gabe,

    The sample form below should be modified with your personal information for your two children.

    Letter of Authorization for Travel

    (Date)
    I (parent’s name), authorize my child/children, (child/children’s name) to travel to (destination) on (date of travel) aboard Airline/Flight # (flight information) with (accompanying adults), returning on (date of return).

    Signed by Parent or Parents
    Name:
    Address:
    Telephone/Contact:

    Notary Public Signature/Seal

  • http://www.aaa.com/ Renuka Sastri

    Gabe,
    The form stays essentially the same but I’d remove the reference to accompanying adults and just add the name of the relatives they will be staying with while abroad. This should help in the event they need documentation during their stay.

    The rules and fees for travel by unaccompanied minors vary by airline so please be sure to check with them. Delta Airlines has a fairly well outlined program that I’ve looked at in the past.

    Usually, you’ll have to check them in personally and the relative will have to show ID to pick them up from the assigned airline contact at their destination.

    From my experience, these trips can be really fun and exciting for the children. I hope they have a good time!

  • http://agelessstoneworks.com/ Rey Rodriguez

    I think this letter is missing something huge. When notarized it will let you bring the youth across an international boundary, but it doesn’t spell out that the traveling parent is authorized to make life and death decisions for emergency medical care. Time is life in these scenarios.

  • http://aaatravelviews.com/ Community Manager

    Rey- The purpose in providing the sample letter is to assist with crossing international borders.

    For guidance on additional basic and emergency considerations every international traveler should explore, a good starting place is the State Department website: http://www.state.gov/

  • sanches

    Hi. I’m 17, im going to MEXICO next month, 2012. But im traveling WITH OUT both of parents. What Do I REALLY NEED? Do I Need just need a LETTER FROM MY PARENTS??? OR I need a original letter SIGNED from ESTERIOR RELATIONS OF U.S. OR MEXICO..?????? PLEASE ANWER ME!!!!!:)

  • Community Manager

    Sanches – If you are traveling by yourself unaccompanied by adults, you are not required to have a Letter of Authorization for Travel. However, it may be a good idea to bring one with you just in case.

    If you are traveling with someone other than a parent and both of your parents’ names appear on your birth certificate and/or passport, be sure to include both names in the letter.

    For additional information, please see these websites:

    • AAA TravelViews blog post: http://www.travelviews.aaa.com/post/2010/01/26/Travel-Documents-For-Children.aspx

    • U.S. Department of State: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html

  • sandeep

    hello,
    actually , i am sending my baby with my relatives from uk to india. he is born in uk but both of the parents have indian nationality. as my baby is going with them but not returning back. which format can i use for an authority letter?

  • Community Manager

    Sandeep – The Sample Permission Letter in the blog post above is the document needed for your child to travel to India, as well as the child’s passport and other relevant travel documents. The form should be signed by both parents and notarized.

  • Sasuke

    I got adviced to get this letter by my uncle Im going withmy son on april to Nicaragua… He is my first child and is the first time traveling internationally I had plan this trip since september last year. But at the moment Im seperated from my husband for domestic assault. What can I do if he decides he doesnt want to sign it?

  • janoice

    hi,,,,i want to travel abroad with my fren…i am an government employee and they need the authority to travel…can u please give me an example..tnx

  • Community Manager

    Janoice – Thank you for your comment. For information about documentation needed for federal employees to travel overseas, please visit this USA.gov website: http://www.usa.gov/Federal-Employees/Travel.shtml . For additional details about documents required to travel overseas, go to the U.S. State Department website here http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html#required_document .

  • Beth

    Hi, my husband will be traveling abroad for the next two months. My daughter and I may meet him in Italy, France or Spain in about a months time. The sample letter suggests travel details be included and yet we have none and Dad leaves tomorrow! I have 24 hours to get a letter in place. Can we augment the letter?
    Thanks,
    Beth

  • wconsult

    Thank you for the bases of a solid permission letter. I needed to make changes, since my daughter will be traveling alone and meeting her grandparents out-of-state. I have physical custody of our daughter and I need to get my ex to give permission for her to travel.

  • http://www.tripmark.com/travel-guide Travel Guides

    I would like to appreciate your work and would like to tell to my friends.

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