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New travel warning about children going overseas with one parent


New travel warning about children going overseas with one parent

Old Dec 17th, 2002, 09:17 AM
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New travel warning about children going overseas with one parent

I read in my local small-town newsapaper a warning that if a child is brought to a foreign country during the holidays 1) by only one parent or 2) by both parents who do not have the same last name as the child, some documentation should be taken. They suggest a noterized letter from the parent not going on the trip. The letter should have the date of departure and date of return. Also, if the child has a different last name from the parents or parent escourting them on the trip, the birth certificate or adoption certificate should be taken and carried at all times.

As of this date, I have taken my child to a foreign country 13 times. About half of these trips were during holidays. I travel with my child without her father and she has a different last name than me. I have never brought any of these documents with me and have never had any problems, questions, or funny looks.

I will be traveling again with her during the Christmas and New Year's vacation. Has anyone else heard this warning recently? Is it valid or just a small town newspaper writer being overly cautious? If it is valid due to some new circumstances, is there anything else needed or recommended?
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 09:28 AM
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This sounds absurd and makes little sense to me. What if one parent has died? Do you need to bring the obituary with you? There are plenty of step-families out there,and I imagine many parents who do not have the same last name as their child. Do you bring your divorce papers/marraige license with you? And what about the Jerry Springer-esque people out there who do not know the father of their child?
Absolutely ridiculous. Propagandous drivel.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 09:38 AM
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Sad to say but with all the child nappings these days by one parent from another - a lot of Customs officials are asking for this type of documentation. I would check with the State Department's American Citizen Services section to find out exactly which countries might ask for this.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 09:41 AM
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This concerns child abductions by non-custodial parents. People who lose custody of their children sometimes will run away with their kids overseas. It seems more prominent with multi-cultural families, i.e. the father is from Asia, mom is American. The abductor parent will usually take the kids to their home country or a country where there are relatives to hide and raise the kidnapped children. It's often difficult for the custodial parent to bring the children back to the US due to financial and political reasons, especially if it involves a country that the US does not have warm relations with or a country that treats women as 2nd class citizens. The requirement of the non-traveling parent's "permission" is just a way to try to prevent these parental abductions.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 09:49 AM
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It doesn't sound crazy to me, nor to the website for the US Consular travel information:
A minor's passport application must be approved by both parents. Also have available:
Certified U.S. birth certificate (with parents' names); or

Certified foreign birth certificate (with parents' names and translation); or

Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240) (with parents' names); or

Certification of Birth Abroad (DS-1350)(with parents' names); or

Adoption decree (with adopting parents' names); or

Court order establishing custody; or

Court order establishing guardianship.

If the parent(s)/guardian current name(s) is/are other than what is stated on these documents, evidence of legal name change (e.g. marriage, divorce, court-ordered name change) is required.

Just because you haven't been asked for it does not mean it isn't required. I don't get asked for my drivers license every time I start up the car, but I know I'm supposed to have one.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 09:54 AM
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Actually, there are some countries that require documentation (of consent of other parent, sole custodial status, etc.) if only one parent is traveling with a child - Mexico is one. Your airline should advise you about this when you make reservations.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 09:55 AM
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I don't think it's ridiculous or propangda. I read a travel article on that recently, and I suspect the article you read may not have been written by your local paper at all. It seems to me there are "canned" travel articles that a lot of newspapers all publish, even some of the major ones. I don't mean there's anything wrong with that, I don't know the journalistic term for that, but it's just a service that newspapers buy articles from.

I think it may vary by the country as to what documents are required, but certainly you can find out better information by going to more official sources, such as the consulate of where you want to go, the state dept, even the airline, etc.

As a matter of fact, I think you may need some documentation if the father is deceased, and an obituary isn't usually considered any proof, but a copy of the death certificate is. If there are other issues (such as a sole custody order, etc) you can bring copies of those documents.

The article I read was in the travel section of the Washington Post and the reporter who wrote it is not stupid. Here is the URL for the entire article you may want to read (it was in the Travel section 12/8/02 "Coming and Going" column)

Old Dec 17th, 2002, 10:24 AM
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This is most certainly true. I'm taking my son with me to Peru and the State Dept travel advisory clearly states I must have a letter from my ex giving me permission to take him with me. This is also why both parent's names are required for a minor to get a passport. How could anyone think this is drivel?
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 10:59 AM
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I first heard this two years ago, and have been carrying the appropriate documentation ever since, as I travel at least one direction on overseas trips with my kids but without my spouse. Last year, my daughter brought a friend to France with her, and I had the parents provide all that documentation, too - and a good thing, since we were questioned at some length, and had to produce all the documentation. This is certainly not propaganda.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 11:15 AM
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In June my son and I travelled to Canada from Germany without my husband. I have a Canadian passport and my son's is American. At one point during the visit we travelled down to the States. At each border point I was asked for documentation. I had a notarized letter from my husband stating I had his permission to cross all international borders for a period of two years with our son and this was accepted by all officials. We were even asked for it by the Lufthansa agent in Frankfurt when we checked in. The blanket time period was useful since I sometimes travel extensively when my husband is deployed. We also had a letter made up for my brother, who is our son's guardian if we are killed, so that he doesn't have to go through a court hassle to take John home with him.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 11:16 AM
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We brought our oldest son's 17-year old girlfriend to Italy with us this month. We were never questioned or challenged, but I felt better knowing that I had a letter from her father on his stationery.

Here is another suggestion for traveling with children, since Mom or Dad usually carry the passports and the kids don't have government issued ID cards. In very small print, I type up a two-sided ID card with the following info: name, DOB, address, telephone number, passport number, identifying scar or mark, color eyes and hair, height, weight. I also include the phrase "If this child needs assistance, please contact the American Embassy at (address, telephone)." Since I have a Platinum AE Card, which includes some emergency travel assistance services, I include AE card number, along with AE's telephone number. I have gotten some critism for this, due to potential card misuse issues, but I figure that I'd rather have as many possible resources available in the event my child is lost. On the reverse side, I write the address and telephone number of our accommodations and the dates of travel.

I tape the sheets back to back and have them laminated at Kinko's in credit card size with a little metal clip on the end. Whenever we travel, each kid has his card in a pocket and clipped.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 08:30 PM
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This is not new at all. Documantation/permission from the other spouse has been required for at least the past 4 years and probably longer.
Old Dec 18th, 2002, 02:29 AM
Ben Haines
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I have e-mailed the consular sections of the French and Italian embassies in Washington to ask what they want in such cases, and shall report the result here.

The note on http://usembassy.state.gov/japan/wwwh7142.html is about papers you need if a minor applies for an American passport. They are not papers needed to travel with that minor.

When I enter5ed the Washington Post site I declared that I am from Belarus and born in 1906, which ought to add interest to spam flyers from them. The site is indeed about other countries, but says:
U.S. State Department officials were unable to say how many countries require the notarized letter, but their Web site warns that most countries may require it. To be safe, take one.

So I tried http://travel.state.gov, then Travel Warnings, then France. This says:
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

It says the same under Italy and United Kingdom and has no such note under Germany. Which raises doubts: these countries try to co-ordinate their requirements of travellers, and Germany is in the Schengen agreement. So I think that for trips to Europe the advisories reflect a vague worry, not a foreign law.

The French and Italian consular web pages tell us who needs visas, but not their rules on a family party with one parent missing. So I sent my e mails. Would a helpful reader kindly put the same question to the British Consul General, 845 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022, Telephone (212) 745 0200, and tell us all what reply they have ?

Ben Haines, London

Old Dec 18th, 2002, 02:50 AM
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I have see even on a domestic flight where the mother has had to pull her luggage apart to find the documentation. This is a different world now. I work in schools and you wouldn't believe the problems that come up with parents. We have to have all sorts of documentation for registration.I personally think is is wonderful because of all the parental abductions to middle eastern countries where especially girls have no rights. Even when they get older they can't just hop a plane an come home.
Old Dec 18th, 2002, 03:36 AM
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That has ALWAYS been a requisite, it was just hardly ever enforced, mostly due to the prevalence of the situation described by xxx. However, xxx is incorrect in that this is not propangandous drivel. When my Mom visited from overseas and brought two of my young nieces with her, she was asked for a letter from the parent(s) authorizing her to take these minors out of the country into the US. My brother in law is a lawyer and he forewarned my Mom about it, fortunately.
Old Dec 18th, 2002, 05:11 AM
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Sorry but this is old news.
This was discussed on the boards last year and anyon divorced with children most likely know about it.
It is an excellent deterrent to parents taking their children out of this country and ending up back home in Iran or somewhere and no one being able to get the kids back.
It's about time!
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 06:34 AM
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FYI, just got back from our trip to Europe. We went from USA to Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovokia, and Austria.

Passports were checked at every border. However, we were not asked for any additional documentation on my child.

This note is not made to indicate that the documentation is not necessary. It is just an update on what we experienced.
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