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    How to legally travel abroad with your children?


    When a minor under 18 years of age is travelling internationally without one or both parents, it may be necessary for the non-travelling parent to provide written authorization in the form of parental travel consent. This is to ensure that the child’s travel is not impeded by legal requirements and that the child is protected from any potential harm or danger. The written consent should include important details such as the child’s name, dates of travel, destination, and the name of the accompanying adult or adults. It is highly recommended that parents consult with the relevant embassy or consulate to determine the specific requirements for parental travel consent in their destination country.

    What Are The Typical Circumstances That Require Travel Consent?

    Before children travel to another country, they may need to fulfil certain requirements set by the immigration officials of that country, which may include undergoing a process overseen by a notary public.
    As a rule, a notarised parental letter of consent to travel abroad is required in the following situations:

    • When a child is crossing the border with only one parent, especially if the child’s surname differs from that of the accompanying parent.
    • When the child is crossing the border without either parent, they may be accompanied by friends, family members, or trusted adults as their guardians.

    What Is The Reason For Requiring A Notarized Signature For Parental Travel Consent?

    The notary holds a special position as a public officer recognized globally. These bodies are accepted globally as trustworthy and impartial third parties that verify the legitimate consent of absent parents for their child to travel across international borders.

    The written travel consent authorization is a legal document that plays a pivotal role in safeguarding children’s welfare by reducing the risk of child abductions when travelling outside of the country. This prevents the minor from being taken away without the permission of their absent parent(s) and ensures their safe return.

    Immigration authorities may have reservations if they suspect a child is being taken to a destination without the knowledge or approval of one or both their parents. The travelling party may be detained at the airport until clarification is obtained, which can cause significant frustration and stress for everyone involved.

    At Sterling Law, we often receive requests for expedited travel consent from absent parents, requiring urgent preparation of documentation before sending it overseas. The process of consularising a document may take a considerable amount of time, especially if the relevant country requires it to be done by the UK Embassy. It is recommended that parents confirm with the appropriate Embassy to determine if travel consent is necessary before embarking on a trip.

    Which Countries Mandate Written Parent Consent For Travel?

    Currently, there are several countries, such as Portugal, Italy, Russia, Brazil, Australia, Thailand, South Africa, and Ukraine, which require parental permission for a child to travel abroad.

    The reason for this is the increasing worry and alarm regarding the abduction and trafficking of children, which has become a pressing issue in our society. As a result, it is likely that more countries will adopt such requirements in the future as a preventive measure to ensure the safety and protection of minors.

    It can be challenging to obtain a clear response from the Embassy on this matter. However, at our legal agency in London, we have seen many instances where parents were unaware of the need for a consent form for minors to travel. As a result, they experienced strong emotional distress, missed flights, and ultimately were unable to attend important family events or even return to their home country. To avoid confusion or stress, it is advisable to obtain written consent for travelling if there is any uncertainty.

    How to Prepare a Parental Letter of Consent to Travel

    To complete the process, the notary public should meet with both parents if possible. However, there is a requirement to meet with the parent who is not travelling at a minimum. It is necessary for the authority to review the original documents listed below.

    • The parents’ government-issued identification documents such as passports.
    • The child’s government-issued identification document such as a passport.
    • The official documents containing information about the children’s birth.
    • The government-issued identification documents such as passports of any accompanying adults, if applicable.

    After meeting with the parents, the notary can prepare the necessary travel consent documents for the absent parent(s) to sign. After notarizing the document, they will send it for consularisation if needed. It is recommended to allocate enough time for this process, as it may take up to a week or more if consularisation is necessary. The papers can be prepared within 24 hours, but it depends on the workload of the notary.

    Can I Take My Child Abroad Without a Parent’s Consent

    In the United Kingdom, both parents’ written consent must be obtained if they have parental responsibility, before taking the child abroad. Failure to do so may result in accusations of child abduction, a serious criminal offense. However, if there is a court order that permits one parent to take the child abroad, the other parent’s consent is not required.

    If you have doubts regarding the legal aspect of your child under 18 travelling abroad without a parent, it is advisable to seek professional advice from a notary public before making any travel arrangements.

    Travel Consent Consultation Service For Free

    At Sterling Law, we take pride in providing exceptional legal services to our clients. That’s why we offer a free initial telephone consultation with our expert team to discuss your specific requirements and how we can assist you. Plus, for added convenience, we have an office situated in the heart of London where we can arrange an in-person meeting to discuss your legal needs. Whether you need to compose a parental letter of consent to travel or need expert assistance with other legal matters, get in touch with us today to see how we can help you achieve your legal goals.

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