Required Documents for Children Traveling With One Parent

We all know parents who are doing it right.

One such set of parents on my list are Heather and Sean McIntyre.

The McIntyres take parenting goals to a whole new level. Their kids have been everywhere. No, I’m not talking about the zoo and Chuck E Cheese. Everywhere, as in the WORLD.

Sean works for American Airlines and has used his travel benefits to take his kids to such far away destinations as Hong Kong, Australia, Chile, and London. I think some of these kids might actually have traveled to six out of seven continents. Alas for the McIntyre kids, American doesn’t have service to Antartica–yet.

Oh, did I mention they have five kids ranging from 1 to 12 years and Sean often takes them solo? Geez, I have a hard time taking my crew by myself to the grocery store.

The McIntyres have inspired me to look into taking my two eldest children to Ireland this summer to visit family and see the sites. This got me thinking, if you are traveling with our kids but without your spouse, what documents do you need to bring with you?

Traveling within the U.S.? No documentation is required.

If your destination is within the U.S., children don’t need to carry a written parental consent to travel. In fact, children under 18 aren’t required to carry any identification, though if your teenager could pass for 18, you should carry her driver’s license or school ID in case she gets questioned by the TSA.

Traveling outside of the U.S.? Make sure you have the proper documentation BEFORE you leave.

Like adult, children need passports (or in some cases a passport card) to travel outside of the U.S.

If a child is traveling internationally with only one parent, you will also need a Child Travel Consent Form. Versions of this form can be found on the internet, but be sure whatever form you use includes the following information:

  • Child’s name, birthplace, and passport information.
  • Permission from the non-traveling parent, including contact information.
  • Information about the traveling parent, including name and passport information.
  • Travel details, including the destination, and start and end dates of trip.
  • Child’s medical information, including allergies and special needs.
  • Signature of non-traveling parent granting permission for the child travel.

Be sure to have the document notarized as well.

That’s it? Not quite. Every country in the world has its own rules about what documentation is required if a child is traveling with only one parent. Be sure to check the U.S. Department of State International Travel website for information about the requirements for your destination country.

Unless you want your kids telling the story “about the time you said you were taking them to France but only made it as far as the airport” from now until you die, be sure to get the proper documentation for your trip.

Would you be willing to take your kids by yourself on a big (and international) adventure? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Disclaimer: This website is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. The website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Copyright © 2018 by Siobhán Fitzpatrick Kratovil. All Rights Reserved.

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