Navigating International Travel with a Child: The Importance of Consent

Can I Take My Child out of the Country?

Traveling internationally with a child can be an exciting and enriching experience, providing opportunities for cultural immersion and learning. However, when both parents are not in agreement regarding travel plans, the situation becomes more complicated.

Restrictions on Travel without Parental Consent:

To prevent cases of international parental kidnapping and ensure the child's safety and well-being, there are stringent restrictions on a parent traveling with a child without the other parent's consent. Even if a parent has custodial rights, they generally need permission from the non-traveling parent to take the child out of the country. These regulations aim to maintain a balance between parental rights and safeguarding the child's best interests.

Passport Application and Consent Requirements:

Like adults, children require a passport to travel by air to a non-contiguous country. The U.S. State Department mandates that all children under the age of 16 must obtain consent from both parents for passport issuance. Both parents are typically required to apply for the child's passport in person or, in some cases, one parent may apply with signed and notarized permission from the other parent. It’s important to check your custody order to see who has the right to apply for the passport, and also to have possession of the passport.

What if I am the Sole Managing Conservator of my Child:

Parents with sole custody are granted permission to travel out of country with their children without permission from the child’s other parent. However, to do so, the parent with sole custody must show the court-ordered custody arrangement to obtain the child’s passport. A copy of the court order would also be needed when traveling to Canada or Mexico without a passport.

Traveling internationally with a child involves careful consideration of legal requirements and the importance of obtaining consent from both parents. While exiting the United States with a child is relatively straightforward, entry into other countries often necessitates demonstrating that both parents have agreed to the travel arrangements. Understanding the legal obligations and cooperating with the other parent can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable international travel experience for both you and your child.

Categories: Family Law