Are Your Minors Traveling Unaccompanied? Know What Kid’s Travel Documents are Needed

Do your kids have spring break plans—with our without you? Learn more about the difference between adult and child passports and when you need special documentation to travel with children. For more information, don’t hesitate to bring up some of the following issues when talking to your airline.


Obtain passports for your kids.
Some people neglect passports when their kids are infants; all U.S. citizens are required to have them for international travel from birth on.

Know the rules about getting passports for kids.
Both parents–guardians must be present when trying to obtain a child’s passport. If it’s not possible for both parents–guardians to be present, the absent party must provide a notarized Statement of Consent. If one parent has sole legal custody, specific paperwork must be present.

Watch passport expiration dates.
Under age 16, passports are good for only 5 years, unlike the 10-year span of an adult’s passport.

Observe single parent rules.
Parents flying solo with a child will need written consent from the other parent when flying internationally. Not all agents ask for it domestically (some phone reps will tell you not to bother), but it’s best to be prepared.

Know what unaccompanied minors will need.
Children flying alone require Unaccompanied Minor forms, and some airlines, particularly on international routes, also require notarized proof (sometimes from both parents) that the child has permission to travel alone. Contact the airline to make sure you know exactly what forms will be needed.

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