If you are thinking about an international trip with your child and you are not married to the child’s other parent, there are a few steps you need to take to obtain the necessary permission of the child’s other parent.
In fact, each country has its own requirements for children traveling with only one parent – even if the parents are married. If you are planning such a trip, it is very important that you consult with the U.S. State Department to learn of the various requirements imposed by foreign countries.
The common requirements for international travel with children include:
- A valid passport for the child. There are varying requirements for the issuance of a passport based on the age of the child.
- Children under 16 – passport applications should be submitted in person by both parents and the child at a passport agency or authorized passport application acceptance facility. If both parents cannot be present, there are additional parental consent documentation requirements.
- Children 16 and 17 – passport applications may be submitted by the child alone if they have their own identification. It is recommended that at least one parent appears with the child to show parental awareness. Generally, a passport will not be issued to a 16 or 17-year-old child if a parent has notified the State Department in writing that they object to the issuance of a passport.
- A Consent Form that has been signed by the other parent which references the specific trip you are taking. It is recommended that you use and have the International Travel Child Consent Form notarized.
In my practice, most Parenting Plans entered in the last 8 years contain language that allows international travel. Additionally, there are almost always notification provisions that detail when a specific itinerary must be provided to the other parent.
If your Parenting Plan does not include any provisions for international travel, and the other party objects to international travel, you can ask for court permission. Be sure to request permission about 6 months prior to your trip due to delays with the judge’s schedule and the time it takes to process your passport application.