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child traveling out of the country with only one parent -- special permission needed??

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May 27th, 2008, 08:33 PM
  #1
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child traveling out of the country with only one parent -- special permission needed??

Someone told me you need a notarized letter authorizing permission to take your child (under age 16) out of the country if only one parent is traveling.

I've been trying to find information about this on the state dept travel website and just can't find anything. when i google the question, i come with affirmative answers under yahoo, etc., but nothing official.

My daughter and I are traveling separately from my husband and son -- different airlines/times-- in a few weeks. not sure what to do about this!

please advise...

thanks!
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May 27th, 2008, 08:44 PM
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Depends on your destination. Mexico, for example, requires that he accompanying parent have notarized letter of permission form the non-accompanying parent. If not certain, check with your airline.
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May 27th, 2008, 09:56 PM
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Why not just get a notarized letter and not worry about it further? It's not like it's a great hassle or expense. (Your bank usually has a notary on staff for free or a nominal fee.
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May 27th, 2008, 09:57 PM
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Why not just get a notarized letter and not worry about it further? It's not like it's a great hassle or expense. (Your bank usually has a notary on staff for free or a nominal fee.)
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May 28th, 2008, 04:26 AM
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Even though this is not uniformly enforced, not only might you need documentation to go into another country but also to come back into the United States.

The airline is the one usually asking for this type of documentation, not the immigration officials. DD was rather extensively questioned in Zurich airport when we were checking in for our return flight.

She was asked directly if her father knew where she was, when she had arrived in Switzerland, why she was traveling... it only relented when I asked the official if she wanted to see DD's Father's death certificate.
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May 28th, 2008, 04:30 AM
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I did not know this... we will be traveling separately this summer so I will have to check into this.

I have traveled with my 16-year-old in and out of US and Europe and no questions but only to Morocco and Paris with the younger daughter both times leaving Switzerland so it never came up.

Thanks for posting dina... let us know what you learn.

gruezi
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May 28th, 2008, 04:43 AM
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I used a form that I found on singleparenttravel.net when I took my 14 year old niece to Europe last year. We never had to show it but it was there if we needed it. Hope this helps.
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May 28th, 2008, 04:50 AM
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This may be true. When I renew my children's US passports, my husband has to go with me to the US embassy or has to sign a notarized letter saying he is aware and agrees with the US passport renewal.
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May 28th, 2008, 05:05 AM
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I travel alone with my boys a lot (both in the US and between the US and Europe and around the Middle East). I've been doing this for 7 years.

I carry a notarized letter from DH giving me "permission" to do this, however, I have never been questioned.

Most of the expat "moms" I know carry a similar letter but I only know of 1 who has ever been questioned (she didn't have a letter at the time). She was travelling with her 5 year old daughter back to Cairo from Egypt. They were help up for a while - with officials questioning the daughter about where her father was, where they were going, where they live, etc. They finally let her go with just barely enough time to make her flight. After that - she carried a letter, but she has never been asked again!

So - I think this is one of those "better safe than sorry" situations. I would have a letter with you.
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May 28th, 2008, 06:00 AM
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thanks for all the responses. it sounds like i should be better safe than sorry.

i will call the airlines, though, as that is a great idea.

we are going to italy, through toronto, from california.

i'll report back if i find out anything new...

thanks again!!
dina
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May 28th, 2008, 06:02 AM
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We also had to have both parents present or a notarized form to renew passports - in the US - for my under 14-year-old. I believe 14 was the cut-off point as my other daughter did not need my husband present or the notarized form and I think she was 15 at the time.

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May 28th, 2008, 06:15 AM
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dina - in case someone hasn't mentioned it to you, you should also carry a letter by the non-accompanying spouse authorizing medical treatment. Again, just to be on the safe side.
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May 28th, 2008, 06:33 AM
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My daughter got a notarized letter from her ex before taking her two boys (with us) to Europe last year. The letter also included something about okaying medical treatment.

No one ever asked to see this and we traveled to London and Paris and used planes, trains and the Eurostar.

But why not have it just in case?

By the way, here's something I don't understand: Last week my 14 year old grandson traveled to New York on a class trip. They flew and none of the kids had to show ID at the airport to board the plane. The teachers took these kids and no one batted an eye. Just found that curious.
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May 28th, 2008, 06:53 AM
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MelJ - I don't think kids need to show IDs in the US if they are under 18. When I travel with my sons, I show my passport at the security checkpoint and that (along with the boarding passes) is all.

My kids have passports, but what kind of ID do kids without passports (or driver's licenses) have? (Note: I haven lived in the US for 7 years, and my kids were still in grade school when we left the US, so I REALLY don't know!! )
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May 28th, 2008, 07:20 AM
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I know you're right, I just found it odd. They didn't need a notarized letter from parents, school ID or anything. The school bought all the tickets (parents paid, of course) and the teachers held the tickets. This means that they could buy a ticket for anyone and take any child (theoretically, of course. This was a great trip by great people. I'm just looking at the broad picture).

When traveling outside the US, they each showed their own passports at Control.
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May 28th, 2008, 07:42 AM
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I guess it is funny that kids on a trip like that wouldn't have to show any ID, but most kids don't have one, it's true.

Kids can get one, though (at least where I live), just most don't have a need to. In my state, the DMV issues official IDs for anyone who doesn't have a license, and that includes minor children, if the parents want to get them one.
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May 28th, 2008, 08:20 AM
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My wife and I once flew into Montreal on different airlines, each with a child. She and one son cruised straight through customs. My other son and I were retained for lengthy questioning, a short time later.

Don't know if there was a bias against dads, or if I just looked suspicious.
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May 28th, 2008, 08:35 AM
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dina4: Most airlines don't ask for the letter but it is better to have it than not just in case. Very simple to just type it up, print it out and sign it in front of a notary. Any bank, attorney's office, car dealership, post office, etc. has a notary and they usually charge little or nothing.

As an attorney practicing domestic law I can tell you it is a nightmare when a child is taken out of the country in a custody dispute without the other parents knowledge. This happens more often than you would believe and it is a horror for the parent who does not have the children and can take weeks or months to get the child returned to the US. I have had to assist with this issue on several occasions from various countries and it is time consuming and heart breakeing for the parent. More airlines are becoming aware of this issue and will ask for the letter. I for one applaud the move as it can save a lot of money and emotional harm to both parents and children. Take Care J
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May 28th, 2008, 09:40 AM
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I think that they will check on a whim. My family comoposition is rather unique so that might have triggered the interrogation to DD. DH flew into Switzerland separately and then three of us returned togethe, that might also be a trigger.
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May 28th, 2008, 10:17 AM
  #20
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i think i'll just get a letter notarized and keep it in my purse.

thanks for all the responses.


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