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    Parental Consent when Traveling Alone with Children (August 2002)

    Citizenship -  Parental Consent when Traveling Alone with Children

    August, 2002

    Countries are concerned about protecting the security of children in this age of increasing international travel, especially when one custodial parent is traveling alone with the children. During the past year many borders have been tightened specifically Latin American countries such as Mexico and The Dominican Republic and also Canada to name only a few of those countries most commonly visited from the U.S. The major aim is to prevent child abduction. Many of us Americans living overseas are not aware that notarized parental consent from the other non-traveling parent may be required for entry into commonly visited countries such as Mexico and Canada from the United States.

    It is always advisable to check with the embassy or consulate of the respective country to find out what the current foreign entry requirements are required in the preparation of your trip. These laws are country specific. Even the age definition of a minor child varies from 14 to 16 or 18 depending on the country. In some countries the father makes all the decisions for the child. A lot of information may be found on the following travel.state.gov websites:


      In addition, U.S. travel agencies and airlines may be contacted as they usually have the most recent updated information regarding travel rules to specific countries.

    In conclusion when one parent is traveling internationally with children it is always advisable to have the written consent, notarized if possible, of the other non-traveling custodial parent. This consent may state that the father is aware of the child's travel abroad and gives sole responsibility to the mother for making decisions on behalf of the child. This consent is also recommended so that in the event that the child becomes ill while traveling abroad, the mother may make speedy decisions for the child's medical care. In addition it is highly recommended by the Consul General of the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm to travel with copies of passports and birth certificates. In case of loss of these original invaluable documents, new ones may be issued more easily and quickly. Do not forget that if the child is traveling abroad and staying with grandparents for example that written consent from both custodial parents should be given to the grandparents.

      wish to thank the Consul General of the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden for her invaluable help and input in supplying us with this information.

    Dorothy S. Chair

    Citizenship Committee

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