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Can I Travel with My Child Without Father’s Consent?

Packing a suitcase and jetting off to different destinations around the world, or just driving somewhere a few hours away, can be a lot of fun when you include your children, but there may be a time that you ask the question, “Can I travel with my child without father’s consent?”. That question actually gets asked quite often and while you would think the answer would be fairly easy, it can get a little complicated depending on your situation.

If you are a mom and you want to start traveling around the world with your child, you are going to want to see exactly what you need to do to make it happen when the father cannot be with you.

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What documents are needed when traveling with a child?

When you are traveling with a child, the requirements will be slightly different depending on whether you are staying fairly local or if you are traveling abroad. For those times when you are traveling domestically, you can normally use a copy of your child’s birth certificate for their identification. However, if you are planning on flying to another country or driving across the border, you will need a few other items. Those items include a passport for your child, proof of your relationship to them, and a child travel consent form.

Travel Documents

What is a child travel consent form?

A child travel consent form can also be called a letter of permission to travel and it basically states that the child has permission to travel with that adult. When this form is being filled out, it will require information that includes the child’s contact information, the contact information of both parents, the travel arrangements, and the destination. If you are traveling without your child’s father, then this form should be signed by him and even notarized, so you do not have any issues when traveling.

What documents are needed when flying with a child?

As mentioned above, the documents that are required when traveling with a child differ depending on where you are going. The required documents will also be different if you are planning on flying to your destination instead of driving.

When you choose to fly with your child, you will at least need identification for them, whether a passport or birth certificate depending on your destination, and identification for yourself. A child travel consent form is also a good idea to ensure that you are allowed to board the plane or enter another country.

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Can one parent travel with child?

Yes, one parent can travel with their child, as long as they have permission from the other parent. While a verbal approval may seem like it should be enough, it may not be.

Mother & Daughter

Therefore, it is always an excellent idea to have the other parent fill out the child travel consent form and have it notarized, so you have no problems during your travels.

Do I need the father’s permission to travel with my child?

Yes, you will need the father’s permission to travel with your child, but there are specific circumstances where you may be able to get around that requirement. If the father is not in the picture, you can fill out the special circumstances section on the form. It is also possible to go before a judge to obtain the okay for traveling without the permission of the other parent. You should also have no problem at all traveling without permission if you have sole custody and bring the papers with you to prove it. You must be aware that it can be very difficult to obtain permission in some of these scenarios, so you should do everything that you can to secure permission from the father before exploring these avenues.

Can I fly with my child without father’s permission?

You may find that it is fairly easy to travel domestically without permission from your child’s father, but it will not be as easy if you want to travel out of the country. The new guidelines were put into place to ensure that major custody disputes are not started from parents taking their children out of the country without the other parent knowing. Therefore, it is always best to be prepared and have a child travel consent form filled out prior to making all your travel arrangements.

Can I take my child out of the country without father’s consent?

The only way you can take your child out of the country without their father’s consent is if you have sole custody, and you can prove that by providing papers, or you can prove that you have no idea where the father is and the court states that you can travel with them. Any other scenarios will have you needing permission from the father and having him filling out a child travel consent form.


Do you need a notarized letter to travel with child?

A child travel consent form does not necessarily need to be notarized, but certain countries and airlines will not accept them unless they are. For that reason, I always recommend that you get them notarized, so you never need to worry that someone will question the authenticity of the form.

What documents does a child need to travel without parents?

If there is a time when your child will be traveling without you or their father , they will still be required to have the necessary documentation. Their birth certificate is usually sufficient for domestic travel, but a passport is always the best option and that is the only thing that will be accepted if they are traveling internationally. They should also have a notarized copy of the child travel consent form, as it will have all the necessary contact and travel information listed on it. These documents can be used for when they are traveling alone or with an adult that is not their parents or even when they are traveling with an adult that has a different surname as theirs .

Traveling with your child can be a lot of fun, even if their father cannot join in on the excitement. While some parents may travel alone with their children because the other parent is busy with work or other obligations, many others will simply have no choice due to divorce or other situations. No matter which situation applies to you, it is still going to be best to know the answer to the question, “Can I travel with my child without father’s consent?”, because then you will know exactly what you need during the planning process.

Free Parental Consent Forms for Minors Traveling Alone

Suzanne Rowan Kelleher is a nationally recognized family travel expert and an award-winning travel writer and editor.

Patrice J. Williams is a travel and style content creator, fact-checker and author of the thrift shopping book Looking Fly on a Dime.

Child traveling airport

While children between the ages of five and 18 can fly by themselves, younger children in this range usually must participate in an airline’s unaccompanied minor program (specific age requirements vary per airline).

If your minor child will be traveling domestically, you will typically need to fill out paperwork through the airline’s unaccompanied minor program. But if your minor child will be traveling out of the country alone, with one parent, or with someone other than a parent or legal guardian, he will likely need to carry a notarized letter of consent (and perhaps a medical letter of consent) signed by his parents in addition to the unaccompanied minor program paperwork. Use this guide as a helpful jumping off point regarding such letters of consent, but we advise referring to airline and government websites for more specific information.

What Is a Child Travel Consent Form?

Because of increasing instances of child abduction in custody cases and a growing number of children who are the victims of trafficking or pornography, government and airline personnel are now more vigilant about traveling children. Therefore, your child will likely be asked by an immigration officer or airline staff member will ask for a letter of consent if he or she is traveling without both parents.

A Child Travel Consent Form is a legal document that allows a minor child to travel without both parents or legal guardians present. It can be used when a child is traveling as an unaccompanied minor, or with another adult who is not the legal guardian, such as a grandparent, teacher, sports coach, or friend of the family. It is advisable for all travel and is particularly important when a minor is traveling outside the country.

The document should include:

  • Minor’s name, birthplace, and passport information
  • Permission from the non-traveling parent or guardian, including his or her contact information
  • Relevant information about the traveling parent or guardian, including name, custody information, and passport details
  • Travel information, such as the destination and start and end dates for the trip. Note that the consent is temporary and specific to this one trip
  • Allergy and special needs information pertaining to the child
  • Signature of the non-traveling parent who is giving permission for the child to travel

Be aware that specific rules about documentation can differ substantially from country to country, so you should check the U.S. State Department International Travel website for information about the requirements for your destination country. Find your destination country, click the tab for “Entry, Exit, & Visa Requirements,” then scroll down to “Travel with Minors.”

What Is a Child Medical Consent Form?

If a minor child is traveling without a parent or legal guardian, a Child Medical Consent Form grants authority to a chaperone to make medical decisions. The form grants temporary medical power of attorney to another adult in case of a medical emergency. You’ve probably filled out such a form in the past for your child’s daycare or school, or for field trips, sleepover camp, and other situations.

The document should include:

  • Minor’s name and birthplace
  • Authorized medical treatments
  • Health information about the child
  • Identity of the person being granted responsibility
  • Health insurance information

There are a number of websites that offer free templates for travel forms. Here are some reliable options:

Free Child Travel Consent LetterFrom

This form takes five to 10 minutes to complete. Answer a few simple questions and then choose to to print or download.

Free Child Travel Consent Letter From

This five-step fill-in-the-blank template is straightforward and easy to complete. The user can select his or her home state from a pulldown menu.

Free Child Travel Consent Letter From

Build your document, print it out, sign it and get it notarized to make it legal.

Free Child Travel Consent Letter From

Follow the directions on the site to complete the form. Then e-sign, download, and print your legally binding document.

Required Documents for International Travel With Minors

Suzanne Rowan Kelleher is a nationally recognized family travel expert and an award-winning travel writer and editor.

Cute little girl walking with her mother at airport

Traveling with kids outside your home country? In general, each adult in your party will need a passport, and minor children will need either passports or original birth certificates.

Documentation requirements become more complicated when one parent or guardian is traveling alone with a minor. In general, besides your passport, you should bring written consent from the child’s biological parent(s) along with the child’s birth certificate. Many countries require that the consent document be witnessed and notarized. Several websites let you download or print free parental consent forms.

What documents do minors need to travel?

Country-Specific Rules

Be aware that specific rules about documentation can differ substantially from country to country. You should check the US State Department International Travel website for information about requirements for your destination country. Find your destination country, then the tab for “Entry, Exit, & Visa Requirements,” then scroll down to “Travel with Minors.”

These excerpts regarding Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas (a popular port of call on Caribbean cruises) are good points of reference and demonstrate how varied the rules can be:


“If you plan to travel to Canada with a minor who is not your own child or for whom you do not have full legal custody, CBSA may require you to present a notarized affidavit of consent from the minor’s parents. Please refer to the CBSA website for more details. There is no specific form for this document, but it should include dates of travel, parents’ names, and photocopies of their state-issued IDs.”


“Effective January 2, 2014, under Mexican law travel by minors (under 18 years of age) must show proof of parental/guardian permission to exit Mexico. This regulation applies if the minor is traveling by air or sea; traveling alone or with a third party of legal age (grandparent, uncle/aunt, school group, etc.); and using Mexican documents (birth certificate, passport, temporary or permanent Mexican residency).

“The minor is required to present a notarized document showing the consent to travel from both parents (or those with parental authority or legal guardianship), in addition to a passport, in order to leave Mexico. The document should be in Spanish; an English version must be accompanied by a Spanish translation. The document must be notarized or apostilled. The minor should carry the original letter (not a facsimile or scanned copy) as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (birth certificate or court document such as a custody decree, plus photocopies of both parents’ government-issued identification).

“According to INM, this regulation does NOT apply to a minor traveling with one parent or legal guardian, i.e., a consent letter from the missing parent is NOT required. In addition, the regulation is not intended to apply to dual national minors (Mexican plus another nationality) if the minor is departing Mexico using the passport of the other nationality. However, if the minor is departing Mexico using the Mexican passport, the regulation does apply. The Embassy nevertheless recommends that dual nationals travel prepared with a consent letter from both parents.

“The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has received numerous reports of U.S. citizens being required to provide notarized consent forms for circumstances falling outside of the categories listed above, and/or being asked for such permission at land border crossings. Therefore, the Embassy recommends all minors traveling without both parents carry a notarized consent letter at all times in the event airline or Mexican immigration representatives request one.

“Travelers should contact the Mexican Embassy, the nearest Mexican consulate, or INM for more information.”

The Bahamas

“Minors traveling unaccompanied or accompanied by a guardian or chaperone: What is required to enter The Bahamas may vary greatly from what is required to re-enter the country of origin. In general, a child under 16 years of age may travel into the Bahamas merely with proof of citizenship. Proof of citizenship can be a raised seal birth certificate and preferably a government-issued photo ID if on a closed-loop cruise or a U.S. passport if entering by air or private vessel.

“The Bahamas requires compliance with regulations to divert child abduction. Any child traveling without one of the parents listed upon the birth certificate must have a letter from the absent parent granting permission for the child to travel. This should be sworn before a notary public and signed by the absent parent(s). If the parent is deceased, a certified death certificate may be necessary.

“It is advisable to have the minor carry a written notarized consent letter from both parents (if both are listed on the child’s certificate of birth) before sending your child to travel as a minor with a guardian or chaperone.”

Are you flying with kids within the US? You should know about REAL ID, the new identification required for domestic air travel.




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