Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Mexico & Central America
Reload this Page >

Do I need a permission letter to travel alone with my minor niece?

Do I need a permission letter to travel alone with my minor niece?

Old Mar 15th, 2009, 04:58 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 111
Do I need a permission letter to travel alone with my minor niece?

Hi everyone - we're preparing for our trip in July to Costa Rica with my 12-year-old niece. We'll be traveling alone with her - my husband, me and her - and I thought I had everything covered until someone mentioned possibly needing a permission letter from her parents. I hadn't even THOUGHT of that - and I don't know why, because it seems to make alot of sense!! Does anyone have experience with this - if it's even necessary, and what wording should be used?

Much appreciated!
wasigan is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2009, 05:02 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,765
Yes permission from BOTH parents plus her own passport all are a must.
Stewbear is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2009, 05:06 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 847
YES_I had to get permission from my Ex-husband to take our daughter out of the country . Sometimes they need it nororized.
BeniciaChris is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2009, 05:46 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 111
We have the passport - will definitely get a notarized letter. Thanks for the quick responses!
wasigan is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2009, 05:51 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
I definitely suggest you do so with your niece, even if it's not required.

If you are a single parent traveling OUT of the U.S. TO Costa Rica, you do not need a notarized statement from the other parent. However, if you are a Costa Rican parent traveling out of CR to the U.S., you do.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2009, 05:52 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
Oh, and another good thing to have on hand is a letter from the parents authorizing you to approve any emergency medical treatment if necessary.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2009, 06:18 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,153
When I was a teenager, I went with a friend and her family to Mexico on vacation. None of us knew we needed a letter, and they stopped me at the border and wouldn't let me cross. I had my passport and birth certificate but no letter. They weren't going to let me into the country, but finally her family gave the guard $20, and he let me in. I guess it's something we should have known, but we didn't.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2009, 07:17 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,765
If you are a single parent traveling OUT of the U.S. TO Costa Rica, you do not need a notarized statement from the other parent. However, if you are a Costa Rican parent traveling out of CR to the U.S., you do.
I believe you are confused. It's The US Government that will object & you will not be allowed to board your flight without a Notarized statement.We needed one to take our grandson.
PS The Medical statement is excellent advise.
Stewbear is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2009, 08:02 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
No, I'm not confused. Maybe it's different for parents vs. grandparents. Or maybe the rules have changed. But I confirmed this via phone on two different occasions while traveling with daughter to CR because the website appeared to state the necessity of one. If the person I spoke with gave the wrong information well then, that's not good.

In any case, although it's nice to get input from Fodorites on travel, for issues such as these I would definitely call to cover all bases.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2009, 12:06 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5,541
This is for a tour company, so obviously you can't use this but hopefully would be a good outline on what you should have on the form: http://www.ecoteach.com/2009/09CRFor...tAffidavit.pdf

Also, found this online - Travelling With Minors:
When a minor child (under 18) is traveling (especially to Mexico) without both parents, foreign governments require a special notarized form upon entry into their country. If both birth parents are alive, and one or both of them will NOT be traveling with minor children, the non-traveling parent must complete a form giving a notarized affidavit of consent to the person traveling with the child(ren) their authorization to take them in and out of the country. Or To allow the minor child to travel on their own with no guardian
tully is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2009, 12:43 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 111
Great advice everyone - thank you! I sent Tully's sample letter off to my sister with hipvirgochick's advice about the emergency medical treatment part. Sure hope she doesn't freak out - good thing the reservations are all made!!
wasigan is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2009, 02:41 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,976
wasigan--If you or your sister google minor travel consent form you should get one that would work for your needs. The link I am posting shows the forms we used when taking 8th graders to Costa Rica last summer.

http://www.globetrektravel.com/minortravelforms.pdf

This form also has the medical release built into it.
cgenster is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2009, 03:26 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2
You should have the letter stating that you have permission to seek medical treatment signed by a parent (or both) and have the signatures notarized on this document also. I am a physician and I know that in the U.S., a minor cannot be treated without parental permission, unless it is an "emancipated minor" i.e. married, in military service, etc. On rare occasions when I am away on business and my youngest daughter stays with friends, I always leave such a letter with them. It is also a good idea to carry her health insurance information with you. Another thing to consider is purchasing travel medical insurance. For a young person on a short trip, it is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased online from reputable companies such as Access America, American Express, etc. I work for a Health Insurance carrier and I know that the cost of medical evacuation from a foreign country can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the circumstances, and may not be covered by your existing insurance, but you should check with her carrier first, then consider purchasing additional insurance if necessary. No one ever expects a major accident or illness to occur on a trip, but it can happen.
Clovette is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2009, 03:32 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 602
I took my neice to Costa Rica a few years ago when she was fifteen. I had a notarized letter from her parents but not one person asked to see it. She was traveling with three woman with different last names and she is of mixed race and we are not. It actually kind of bothered me that it would have been that easy to take a child out and in different counties with no questions asked.
ttraveler is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2009, 03:37 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
FYI (everyone) -- This is the number I called when I was given my information. I would suggest calling or e-mailing before traveling to make sure all bases are covered!

The most authoritative and up-to-date information on Costa Rican entry and exit requirements may be obtained from the Consular Section of the Embassy of Costa Rica at 2114 “S” Street NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 234-2945/46 , fax (202) 265-4795 , e-mail [email protected], web site http://www.costarica-embassy.org, or from the Costa Rican consulates in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico), San Francisco, and Tampa. The Costa Rican immigration agency web site is http://www.migracion.go.cr. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington or one of Costa Rica's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements before shipping any items.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Mar 18th, 2009, 02:50 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
I felt like everyone here thought I was crazy with my reply so I confirmed with the consulate what I posted and here's how they replied today:

"The regulation on travel with under age in Costa Rica, it is applicable only if the under age is a Costa Rican citizen, or some of the parents are, and then it’s required when the under age leaves from Costa Rica."
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2010, 10:03 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1
I'm taking my granddaughter to Italy. Where can I get consent form and medical treatment form? Thanks, Carole
CaroleMcCullough is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2010, 12:24 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,998
Scroll up to cgenster's March 16 reply. He/she provides a link to the form.
AustinTraveler is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2010, 01:41 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
I didn't check the link (I will), but we always create our own, written by the parents, giving us, the grandparents, permission to travel out of the country with their child, giving the exact dates. We also include permission to authorize medical treatment. They both sign, we have it notarized, and away we go. We use everyone's full names according to passports. I'm not sure we've ever been asked for the letter, but we always have it.

The first year our granddaughter went along, she was 5 months. Her mom was doing a homestay, and we went along to help out here and there (although the baby stayed with the homestay family, whom we had known for years). Our daughter took along a notarized letter from the baby's father, stating that she had permission to take their child out of the country. At the time, we were told that was what we should do. The rules may be different now.
shillmac is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2010, 05:22 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
Ditto all the advice above...notarized letter and permission for medical treatment. I took my daughter to Italy when she was 17 and even though my husband and I are still married, I had the letter since he was not traveling with us.

When I crossed the border with her to go into Canada two years before that I had no such letter
Deb15July is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO