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A Travel Consent Form is used when a child is traveling alone, with only one parent/legal guardian, or with an authorised group. This document notifies authorities or other interested parties that a parent or legal guardian has given their consent for the child to travel without them.
This document can be used both for domestic travel inside the UK or international travel across country borders. Due to increasing instances of child abduction in custody cases, and a growing number of children who are the victims of trafficking or other abduction, an immigration officer, airline, or travel company may ask parents to provide some form of letter of consent if a minor child is traveling internationally with only one parent or with another adult, such as a teacher, group trip leader, or grandparent.
Using this document, a parent can name the children, provide information about their passport if the travel is happening internationally, describe the circumstances of their travel and the people who will be accompanying them, and outline the travel itinerary. This document also includes the option to describe the child's allergies or special medical needs. Finally, this document contains contact information for adult chaperones, if applicable, and parents or legal guardians in case someone needs to be contacted in the event of an emergency.
Although not required by law, immigration officers, law enforcement officers, or customs and border protection agents may detain a child if they suspect an abduction or kidnapping has taken place. By traveling with a Travel Consent Form, these officers will have necessary contact information and further assurance that no abduction or kidnapping has taken place.
In circumstances where parenting orders have been made by a Family Court (e.g. a Child Arrangement Order), parents or guardians will need to make sure they comply with those parenting orders. The Children Act 1989 may be relevant in these circumstances.
In the case of international travel, when there are concerns that a child may have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside their country of habitual residence, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction may apply. For international travel, parents and guardians will also need to be mindful of the entry requirements of any relevant foreign countries. This information can be obtained by contacting the embassy, high commission, or consulate of those foreign countries.
Finally in all circumstances all persons with parental responsibility must consent to their child's travel. If not, a court order may be required.
How to use this document
During the signing of this letter, a witness should also sign the letter. Parents should also strongly consider having the document notarised which can mean that customs or border protection officers (particularly in other countries) are more likely to accept it.
Traveling children should carry a copy of this letter with them and any adult chaperones should be given a copy of this letter to show to authority figures as needed.
Additionally, if the person using the letter is a parent, it may help if they have:
Any applicable law
Children Act 1989
Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
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