When drafting a child travel consent form, you need to be sure that you know what needs to be included in a minor travel consent form or travel consent letter. Permission to travel letters can be needed for minors heading outside the US on trips, and they might also be required to access travel within the US in some cases.

Child travel consent is critical to ensure that a child that is a minor is not a runaway and is not in any kind of situation of coercion or kidnapping. Your child that travels alone outside the US will always need a letter of consent to travel with one parent as well if you are separated and your spouse does not have legal custodial rights. There are many purposes for a child travel consent form, and you will need to know how to write one if your child is going to be traveling without you.

Child Travel Consent Form
Child Travel Consent Form Download for Word

Child Travel Consent Forms

Can a minor travel to the US without parents?

Yes, minors can travel without adult accompaniment to and from the US if they have the right documents. While it is advisable to call the airline ahead of time and explain that your minor child is traveling alone to another country, you do not actually have to do this. You can simply make sure that your child has a child travel consent form in hand so that no one will wonder why they are traveling alone to another country.

This is one of the key documents that airline staff look for to make sure that children are not part of child trafficking rings or being kidnapped. This is also a document that must be given to a spouse without full custodial rights in case something should happen while the parent and child are in another country. When a parent does not have full custodial rights, they might not be able to give approval for medical care and other essentials without the permission of the other parent.

How do I write a letter of permission for my child to travel?

Writing a letter of permission for your child to travel is different from writing a child travel consent form. This letter might be needed to send your child on an international trip with a school or with someone of authority that will already have travel documents in hand for the trip. Sports teams that compete internationally might require that your child travels with a permission to travel form, but they may not require a child travel consent form.

There are so many reasons that you would need to give written permission for your child to travel, and you need to be sure that you know what to include in this permission form. This is not as complex a form as the child travel consent form, so you will just need to include these items in your permission to travel form:

  • Child’s name, birth date, and passport number
  • Information about allergies or special needs
  • Contact information for yourself
  • The name of the person you give permission to take your child on a trip
  • Signatures

This form will likely not need to be notarized since there should be other documents in the hands of the custodian who is taking your child on the trip to prove their position. This is a more informative document, but it can be required even for trips between different states.

Minor Travel Consent Forms

How do I write a letter of consent for travel?

The child travel consent form is a more involved form, and it offers some more information than the permission to travel form does not. The child travel consent form will go with a child that is traveling alone in most cases, so it needs to offer information that your child might not know. This is also an indicator that you are aware of the trip and that you approve of it. Many airlines will ask to see this document when your child boards the plane so that they can be sure that the trip has been approved by the child’s parents.

When children travel with a non-custodial person like a spouse or another family member, or a coach, there should be some other form of documentation present to back up your child’s travel consent form. The coach or a teacher should have documentation showing that they were given permission to take students on a trip, and a family member might need to show proof of divorce or proof of guardianship to clarify their relationship with the child they are traveling with.

Some things to do before assuming that your child’s travel consent form will satisfy the airline:

  • Go to the airline website and look at their child travel policy
  • Make sure that your child is the minimum allowed age to travel alone
  • Make sure that your child will be able to deal with luggage and other items related to their trip
  • Ask questions about US embassy or border crossing processes that might be too difficult for children to undertake alone

Many people forget to think about all of the various processes that are related to traveling to another country. Kids can easily get overwhelmed by things like changing to another airport terminal or getting on and off planes if they do not have the proper guidance.

To write your child’s travel consent form, you will need to include the following information:

  1. Child’s Name and DOB. Your child’s name and date of birth need to be at the top of the child travel consent form. You will want to use their full legal name and indicate their place of birth as well as the date. You can also include passport details to be sure that the ticket counter or the airline attendants can verify that your child’s child travel consent form matches their travel documents.
    You should also include your own contact information and your full legal name under your child’s information. You will want to include your address as well as any phone numbers and other contact information that you want to have available to those who are helping your child to travel.
  2. Allergies/Special Needs. If your child has an allergy, special needs, or even specific phobias that you need airline attendants to be aware of, you will need to place this information in this section. This can also be a section that is useful if your child is traveling with another family or someone like a coach. Not everyone will be aware of your child’s health concerns, and this could lead to a medical emergency without a detailed child travel consent form.
    Even considerations like having access to medications in the airplane cabin is important to note in your child travel consent form. Children might not remember to have their medication in their bag that they bring on the plane with them, and the airline staff cannot access items that are in the luggage compartment during the flight. This is one of the many reasons that a detailed child travel consent form is so important, and it is part of what airline staff look for when they are getting a child traveling alone onto the plane.
  3. State Guardianship or Legal Parenting Information. If you are the legal guardian or custodial parent of the child, you need to indicate in this section who you are and what your relationship is with the child. Only those with legal parenting rights for children can grant permission to travel using the child travel consent form.
  4. State Destination and Date of Travel. You will need to be sure that you state your child’s end destination and the dates that they are to be traveling. The child travel consent form needs to include the entire round trip’s details. If you are sending your child to one country for a few days and then to another place entirely, this needs to be recorded in the document. You will also need to be sure that you state which airports the child is supposed to be flying through and any pick-up plans.
    If your family is getting your child from the airport, you will need to indicate who these people are and what relationship they have with your child. Other staff at the airport might help your child once they are off the plane as well, and they will potentially need some guidance to help your child get to the right people who are picking them up. The more information about your child’s travel plans that exist in your child travel consent form, the easier it will be for your child to stay on track during their trip and to be spared confusion or worry.
  5. Signatures. You will need to sign the document that you have created, and you will want to get it notarized. This is the best way of indicating that the letter was not forged. While airline staff might not stop a child from traveling with a document without witness signatures, they might be more suspicious and ask more questions about letters that do not have a witness’ signature on them.
    It is not uncommon for teens and older children to try and forge their own travel consent form to be allowed to go on a trip or to go somewhere without your permission, and this is one of the reasons that notarized documents are a good idea. This requires a little planning in advance so that you can meet with a notary before your child needs to leave for the trip. Make sure that you have scheduled this signature process well in advance of the day of your child’s proposed trip without you.
    Some airlines will require that the child consent form that is sent with your child be notarized or they will not let them on the plane. This is one of the things that you might want to do just to be safe rather than sorry. Border officials will often detain or delay a child without a notarized form as well.

Travel Consent Letters

What other documents will my child need to be allowed to travel?

Your child will need some other documents to prove that they are who they say they are and that you have given them permission to travel. They will also need the usual ID documents that everyone is required to have in order to travel.

  • Passport
  • Photo ID
  • Parent consent form for a school trip
  • Birth certificate

The only document that will be required for international travel of a child is a passport. You might need to check on the other documents to see if they will be required by the airline that your child is flying with. There are many steps that need to be accomplished to send your child on a trip without you, and you do not want to forget some of the other documents and travel processes because of worries over your travel consent form.

Airlines are usually quite good about telling you in advance which documents and information your child will need in order to travel without you.

Permission To Travel Letters

Travel Consent Forms Are Important to Allow Minors to Travel Alone

Travel consent forms are critical to ensuring that your child can get on the plane and fly to another country if you are not with them. They are also used when a child is traveling without their legal guardian or on a school trip or a sports trip. This document will also provide valuable information about your child’s health and needs that might not otherwise be known by the people that they are traveling with. Airline staff might need to be able to find out information about your child’s trip as well so that they can help them to get to their next gate or to family members waiting for them at the airport.

Creating a properly drafted child travel consent form is important for many reasons. Make sure that you use this guide to take care of writing this document so that your child is allowed to get on their plane and head to another country with your permission.

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TemplateLab September 30th, 2023
Ryan Duffy
Ryan Duffy