What is a Consent to Travel?
Child abduction has become a growing concern for governments around the world. For this reason, “Consent to Travel” letters are required by an increasing number of governments. When a child travels without one parent, the remaining parent gives written permission for the child/children to leave the country. It is often required that the document be notarised and legalised to verify the signature and identity of the parties involved. This document would be presented to various authorities in South Africa and abroad as evidence that the child/children travelling abroad have not been abducted by their accompanying adult.
Some documents, such as Child Travel Consent forms, are not only necessary but also helpful in keeping children protected. Child Travel Consent forms reduce the risk of abduction or child trafficking. This keeps children safe and prevents missing children from leaving the country.
How do you know if it is needed?
It is best to check with South African Foreign Affairs, your airline, travel agent, or government officials in the country you are visiting to see if it is required. Travelling without consent to travel can lead to travel delays or even denial of exit/entry by one or more of your groups.
Regulations may not require you to provide a Child Travel Consent form if you are flying with children but be sure to check the airline or country border control requirements. Even if a form isn’t legally required, a Child Travel Consent form is highly recommended. Without the proper documents, officers or attendants may not allow you or your child to travel in or out of the country.
Having your Child Travel Consent witnessed or notarised decreases the chance of travel authorities questioning its validity. The country you are travelling to and the airline you are using will affect the legalisation process.
Children Traveling with One Parent
If your child is travelling with only one parent, that parent will need a Child Travel Consent letter that has the other, non-travelling parent’s name, signature, and a short statement authorizing the travel arrangements.
A common scenario for a child traveling with one parent is when the parents are separated or divorced. Custody arrangements can be complex and modify the rules for travel in different ways, but in general it’s important that the child has a travel consent form signed by the non-traveling parent.
With separated parents, it’s also recommended that the parent traveling with the child carry extra documents that demonstrate proof of guardianship, like custody papers, adoption papers, and the child’s birth certificate,
Similar rules apply for a child traveling with adult relatives, like a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or grandparents, but in this case the travel consent letter must contain the name and signature of both parents instead of just one.
For international travel, some countries may require specific or additional documentation. You can check requirements with the embassy of the country your child is traveling to for more information.
What should the Consent to Travel contain:
We are happy to notarise and authenticate your consent to travel letter for use in any country in the world. It is a quick and effortless process for you. Not sure where to find one? For a small additional fee, we can draft your consent to travel on the spot – without an appointment. message us for more information.
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- The child’s contact information
- Both parents’ contact information
- The child’s travel arrangement (one parent, no parents, chaperone, group travel etc.)
- The child’s destination and dates of travel
- Proof of their relationship to their child