Do you need a notarized travel letter authorizing your child to cross over into the USA or other foreign destinations? The answer is YES. Recently I spoke with Officer Spack, a border guard, who confirmed that children are often denied access into the USA without proper documentation. From personal experience, last year, we needed to provide a notarized letter to the USA border guard for a 16 year old friend of my son. We had the letter in hand which made our crossing easy and we continued our March Break journey into Washington State. However, I’ve been challenged (several times) crossing the border travelling with just my own son. My son’s father is deceased, and obviously there isn’t another parent to be able to sign. But the grillings I got by officials in the days before I knew how to deal with the boarder crossings, were far more stressful than I thought it should be. However, with experience comes wisdom and through several of these border experiences, I learned what documentation to take for travel.
Once the school year ends, our kids will be leaving the island in droves with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others in quest of fun foreign destinations. As a Notary Public this means I see a dramatic increase in appointments for last minute notarized travel letters and authorizations. Probably the most common destination I see travel letters required for is Disneyland. To make your travel smooth it’s important that the documentation you provide meets with border approval.
There are different styles of travel letters ranging from simple one liner authorizations to the most common Canadian Government recommended child travel authorization form. I recommend the government form, as it allows the best child and parent information in a transparent way. One caution with the Government form is that it is designed for legal size paper. Most of us don’t use that size anymore, so we have a scaled down letter size loaded on our site for your ease. CLICK HERE: TRAVEL CONSENT LETTER
Useful travel authorization tips here for you:
- Start with a good travel form
- Fill in detail & be specific
- Get the letter notarized at least 1-2 weeks before departure
- Allow additional time if both parents need to sign – it can be a challenge to get 2 parents together during a weekday for signing note: as a matter of convenience I often sign parents at different times as it can be a challenge to get to the same place together during work hours
- Provide the adult traveling with your child a copy of the child’s long form birth certificate. This long form shows both parents names.
- Many parents have different names and the birth certificate will answer the question about whether or not the child belongs to the authorizing parent
- Where there is a court order regarding custody or a grant of legal guardianship over the child, then travel with copies (not originals) of these documents as back up in the event you are questioned about your role or legal authority to travel with the child.
- Check your airlines website for additional or specific requirements at international destinations.
- Check official country websites for detail on specific documentation or Visa’s required.
- Save a copy of the letter or use a refillable form (& save the PDF) so you don’t have to repeat all the details for future travel letters.
Happy Travels from Beverly Carter