Travelling abroad with children

Rebecca Massam Family Law Solicitor

If you and your children’s other parent are separated, there may be one more thing that you need to pack whilst preparing for your holiday this summer. 

All those who have Parental Responsibility for a child will need to consent to that child taking a trip out of the country, and there has recently been a stark rise in border officials asking for letters of consent, demonstrating that this has been obtained. 

Who has Parental Responsibility? 

All mothers who have delivered a child will automatically have parental responsibility. Where a child has two mothers, they will need to be married or named on the child’s birth certificate or Declaration of Parentage, so check this first. 

Fathers who are married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth will also have parental responsibility. Unmarried fathers can obtain Parental Responsibility by being named on the child’s certificate, or by order of the court. If there are two fathers, then A Parental Order can specify who has Parental Responsibility . 

How do I get permission? 

Speak to your child(ren)’s other parent and let them know in writing, and in good time, where you would like to go, how long for, and how your propose to travel. Get their agreement in writing, and ask them if they would sign a letter confirming this agreement. You can then prepare a short document and ask them to sign it.

What do I need to take?

Different countries will have different rules, so it is best to check before you travel, but as a minimum it would be sensible to take the following in your hand luggage:

  • A document signed by your child’s other parent/parents confirming that they give you permission to travel with the child for the purposes of this particular holiday. Include the child’s name and date of birth. Also include all of the parents full names, dates of birth and contact details. Ideally, you would include details of the holiday and the date that you intend to return.
  • Certified copies of the child’s birth certificate.
  • Certified copies of the other parent’s/Parents’ ID with names matching the child’s birth certificate.
  • If you have a different surname to your children, then you might find it helpful to also take a certified copy of your marriage certificate, or your Decree Absolute/Final Order of Divorce.

Some countries will require a letter to be notarised by a solicitor before you travel. If you have any concerns, then check with the embassy for the country that you are entering.

Whilst there may undoubtedly be times when you can travel with children and find that you will not be asked for any of this information, its best not to risk it. Travelling with children can be stressful enough, so planning ahead and having everything you may need in one place will ensure that you can relax as you start your trip.

Happy Holidays!  

For further information, please contact Rebecca Massam in the family law team on 01732 747900 or email [email protected] 

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.

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