While children between the ages of five and 18 can fly by themselves, younger children in this range usually must participate in an airline's unaccompanied minor program (specific age requirements vary per airline).
If your minor child will be traveling domestically, you will typically need to fill out paperwork through the airline's unaccompanied minor program. But if your minor child will be traveling out of the country alone, with one parent, or with someone other than a parent or legal guardian, he will likely need to carry a notarized letter of consent (and perhaps a medical letter of consent) signed by his parents in addition to the unaccompanied minor program paperwork. Use this guide as a helpful jumping off point regarding such letters of consent, but we advise referring to airline and government websites for more specific information.
What Is a Child Travel Consent Form?
Because of increasing instances of child abduction in custody cases and a growing number of children who are the victims of trafficking or pornography, government and airline personnel are now more vigilant about traveling children. Therefore, your child will likely be asked by an immigration officer or airline staff member will ask for a letter of consent if he or she is traveling without both parents.
A Child Travel Consent Form is a legal document that allows a minor child to travel without both parents or legal guardians present. It can be used when a child is traveling as an unaccompanied minor, or with another adult who is not the legal guardian, such as a grandparent, teacher, sports coach, or friend of the family. It is advisable for all travel and is particularly important when a minor is traveling outside the country.
The document should include:
- Minor's name, birthplace, and passport information
- Permission from the non-traveling parent or guardian, including his or her contact information
- Relevant information about the traveling parent or guardian, including name, custody information, and passport details
- Travel information, such as the destination and start and end dates for the trip. Note that the consent is temporary and specific to this one trip
- Allergy and special needs information pertaining to the child
- Signature of the non-traveling parent who is giving permission for the child to travel
Be aware that specific rules about documentation can differ substantially from country to country, so you should check the U.S. State Department International Travel website for information about the requirements for your destination country. Find your destination country, click the tab for "Entry, Exit, & Visa Requirements," then scroll down to "Travel with Minors."
What Is a Child Medical Consent Form?
If a minor child is traveling without a parent or legal guardian, a Child Medical Consent Form grants authority to a chaperone to make medical decisions. The form grants temporary medical power of attorney to another adult in case of a medical emergency. You've probably filled out such a form in the past for your child's daycare or school, or for field trips, sleepover camp, and other situations.
The document should include:
- Minor's name and birthplace
- Authorized medical treatments
- Health information about the child
- Identity of the person being granted responsibility
- Health insurance information
There are a number of websites that offer free templates for travel forms. Here are some reliable options:
This form takes five to 10 minutes to complete. Answer a few simple questions and then choose to to print or download.
This five-step fill-in-the-blank template is straightforward and easy to complete. The user can select his or her home state from a pulldown menu.
Build your document, print it out, sign it and get it notarized to make it legal.
Follow the directions on the site to complete the form. Then e-sign, download, and print your legally binding document.