Join us as we delve into all of the documentation required for children travelling whether it be alone, with their own parents or with another adult. It is imperative to have the documents in this article ready or you may be in for a nasty surprise when you arrive at the airport without all the necessary documentation.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Travel Alone?
Children younger than 5 cannot travel alone. Services are available for children between 5 and 12, labelled as “Unaccompanied Minors,” where they will be escorted and looked after by dedicated staff as they travel from one designated airport to their destination.
Airlines all have their own set of rules when it comes to prices and routes (connecting flights are undesirable). They also determine at which age children are eligible for these additional services. As a rule, “Unaccompanied Minors” are children between 5 and 12.
You will need to enquire with the airline as to what documentation they expect. Often, you will need to fill in paperwork directly from the airline with information about yourself, your child and the individual that will be collecting your child once they reach their destination.
Children over the age of 12 are permitted to travel alone but the Unaccompanied Minor Services are still available. Some airlines only permit children to travel alone once they reach the age of 16. They will be travelling with an adult ticket and are expected to navigate the journey without a chaperone.
Young travellers under 16 may be permitted to travel with a child 16 and over if a Child Travel Consent form is provided. Be sure to check with your airline first.
Before booking a plane ticket for your child, check with the airline and the embassy or consulate office to ensure they will not be denied entry on the day of intended travel.
Travelling with Your Own Child
Taking a child abroad with one parent present has its own documentation requirements. Even when travelling with your own child, it is imperative to have with you proof of relationship with the child in document form. If it is your child, a Birth Certificate is usually satisfactory.
It is fair to assume that no matter whom the child is travelling with, a consent letter for a child travelling abroad is essential. The consent letter will need to be signed in the presence of a notary by any parent who is not travelling with the child.
Suppose you are travelling with your adopted child. In that case, you will need one or all of the following documents:
- Notarised Birth Certificate
- Notarised Adoption Documents
- Marriage Certificate (if you have adopted your spouse’s child bring the adoption papers too)
- Court Order
- Certificated of Name Change (if the name on the Birth Certificate is different from the child’s current name)
- Child’s Identification
- Child’s Passport
Children under 2 usually fly for free. However, you may be required to provide proof in the form of a note that they are healthy enough to fly from a medical doctor.
Some airlines even require a doctor’s note from expectant mothers over the 36-week mark of their pregnancy.
If you are a single parent with sole custody, it may not be necessary to have a Child Travel Consent Form from the other parent. In these cases, it is advisable that you include a notarised copy of your custody documentation while travelling with your child.
If one of the parents of the child has passed away, some airlines may require that the Child Travel Consent form includes a copy of the deceased parent’s death certificate.
Children Travelling with Someone Other Than a Parent or Legal Guardian
Say you are taking your niece or a child’s friend along on holiday, or perhaps you are chaperoning a school trip. When travelling with any child that is not legally yours you will need a Child Travel Consent form from the parents or legal guardians.
This is needed for all transportation services and custom offices to ensure that the parents/legal guardians have given explicit permission for the child to travel with the adult accompanying them.
A Child Travel Consent Form must include:
- All the child’s information (full name, gender, birthday, place of birth, etc.)
- The contact information of both parents/all legal guardians
- Specific travelling arrangements (including the date of departure and the expected date of return)
- Destinations they will be travelling to and with who
- Authorisation and consent for medical intervention in case of an emergency in the parent’s absence
- The agreed-upon destination
- Signatures of both parents
To avoid any issues, it is advised that the Child Travel Consent form is notarised along with any other necessary documents.
Please note that if you travel abroad or domestically with children that are not yours, and do so without the above-mentioned documents, it is considered child abduction.
Notarised Documents for Travelling Children
There are a fair number of documents required either when a child is travelling alone, with a parent or with another adult.
This usually comes as news to new parents looking to travel abroad. We offer same-day services so your holiday can still be salvaged with fast-acting notaries. We will help you to navigate the intricacies of the documentation children require when travelling abroad as well as the notarisation of said documents.