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This document is a consent form which can be used to obtain consent from a parent or guardian in order to signify their agreement for their child/children to travel. The consent form is suitable for use where the child or children ordinarily reside in England and Wales. The document may be used in any of the following circumstances:
This document can be used where the travel is to take place within the United Kingdom. For domestic trips within the United Kingdom, these should always be conducted in consultation and agreement with all those who hold parental responsibility for the child. It can therefore be useful to have a written consent form in those circumstances so that there is no doubt in respect of the agreement.
The document can also be used where the travel is to take place outside of the United Kingdom. A correct consent form can be particularly important in this case. This is because the law says that a person (including a parent, guardian or relative) may only remove a child from the United Kingdom where they have consent from every person who holds parental responsibility for the child. Where a person has been granted a Child Arrangements Order which states that a child shall live with them, that person (often known as the 'resident parent') may remove the child from the United Kingdom for a period of no more than 1 month without the consent of the other person(s) with parental responsibility. Where a person has been granted a Special Guardianship Order, the person who is named as the special guardian may remove the child from the United Kingdom for a period of no more than 3 months without the consent of the other persons with parental responsibility. Where the travel extends beyond those prescribed periods, written consent should always be obtained.
Where an organisation is using the form for a trip, thought should be given to the signatures which will be requested. For school trips within the United Kingdom, the government has provided some advice for the consent which should be required. If the travel is to take place outside of the United Kingdom, the organisation should obtain consent from all persons with parental responsibility.
If the form is to be used for a child who is travelling independently, any relevant travel operator should be contacted to confirm whether they have any prescribed form which should be used.
Where one parent is concerned that the other parent may travel abroad without their agreement, they may need to pursue a court application.
How to use this document
This document should be completed with the relevant information for the child and the parent(s)/guardian(s) who will sign the form together with the details of travel. For organisations/group trips, it is possible to create a blank form which can be handed to the parent/guardian of each child for completion. Where a parent/guardian or other adult is travelling outside of the United Kingdom with a child, documentation should be attached to evidence the child's parentage and to confirm who holds parental responsibility for the child so that this can be shown to any border officials. For example, such documentation may include:
Where copies of those documents are to be attached, it may be useful to have those copies certified to be true copies to minimise the chance of any difficulties leaving or entering a country.
In the more unusual circumstance that a child has more than two individuals who hold parental responsibility for them, consent should be obtained from all those additional persons with parental responsibility. Typically, where one parent is travelling with a child or children, they will only need a consent form from one other parent however in such limited circumstances any additional persons with parental responsibility should also complete a separate consent form.
For the purposes of leaving the United Kingdom, and for entering some other countries, the signature of the relevant parent(s)/guardian(s) will be sufficient provided that there are contact details on the form so that they may be contacted to verify their consent.
The parties may wish to have the consent form notarised where the country which they are travelling to requires this. This means that a notary (a specific type of lawyer who is appointed specifically to this role) will certify that the document has been signed by the relevant individual(s). If the document is to be notarised, the document should not be signed by the parent/guardian prior to meeting with the notary. The notary will ensure that they certify the signing of the document in the correct form and will have a specific format for this. In other circumstances, the parent/guardian may have their signature witnessed by a member of the public. Where the parties are unsure whether the document should be notarised or witnessed (or neither), it is best to check whether there are any specific entry requirements for the relevant country before travelling.
For travel which is taking place within the United Kingdom, the above steps (witnessing or notarising the document) will not generally be necessary. Furthermore, it should not be necessary to attach any evidential information regarding parental responsibility/parentage of the child(ren). For this type of consent form, the relevant parent or guardian may simply sign the form and provide their contact details.
One all the relevant steps have been completed, the form should travel with the child on the relevant trip together with any relevant documents, as described above.
The main pieces of domestic legislation which govern the issue of parental consent/child travel are:
The Children Act 1989
The Child Abduction Act 1984
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