Do I Need a Letter of Permission to Travel With Grandchildren?

Creating your own document is an easy solution

Vacation with grandchildren, grandma and grandchild playing on the beach

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If grandparents want to take grandchildren on a trip without their parents, they may need a letter of permission. Learn why and what information should be contained in a letter of permission to travel.

Not Necessary, but Smart

It's better to be safe than sorry. Although you may never get asked for it, it is best to have a notarized letter of permission to travel with your grandchildren. It is not illegal for a grandparent to transport a grandchild without a letter of permission, but the letter could be helpful in those rare cases of emergencies or if for some reason you must deal with law enforcement officials.

Ideally, the letter should be signed by both parents. This detail is especially important if the parents are divorced.

There are forms available on the Internet, but since details such as the number of children and number of destinations may vary, it's almost as easy to create your own. That also makes it easy to put down any extra information that you would like to include.

For an extra measure of security, have your letter notarized. That means that you must locate an individual who is a licensed notary public and sign your document in front of that person. The best place to find a notary is your bank or credit union. Other businesses that may have notaries on staff include mailing services like UPS, law offices, CPAs, and tax preparers. If you are employed, someone at your place of business may have a license.

Create Your Own Letter

It's fairly simple to write your own letter of permission. When drafting the letter include the name and contact information of the child's parents or guardians, the child's name, the name of the grandparents as well as information about the destination and time frame. The letter should leave space for you and the parents to sign followed by the date. There should also be a place for the notary's name and the date that the document was notarized. If traveling internationally also consider including passport numbers and dates of birth.

It is wise when filling in travel dates to add an extra day or two at the end in case of travel delays. 

What About Passports?

Although children can travel by land or sea (not by air) from the United States to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Caribbean area without passports, due to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, they will need copies of their birth certificates. If your grandchildren do have passports, enter include the passport numbers on the permission to travel letter. And remember that passports are required for all other international travel.

Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative." Dec. 17, 2018.