Don't get Stopped at the Border with your Children

 A DIY Tip for Solo Parents Traveling with Children

As holiday travel increases, so do the needs of my clients. Last week I received a call about notarized parental consent letters for travel.

If you plan to travel across borders as a solo parent with children, get a notarized letter of consent from your spouse. Otherwise, you risk getting turned back at the border.  

The parental consent letter is designed to prevent child abductions across borders. When you are packing for a trip, it can be hard to remember that a drive into Canada or Mexico is an international affair.  Prepare before you go.

Have your spouse sign a letter in advance and get it notarized. It is not hard to draw up the letter yourself.

Customs and Border Patrol suggests a simple formula for the consent letter found here:

"I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter/group. He/She/They has/have my permission."

More general guidance for CBP is found here.

Be sure to date the letter. Sign it in the presence of a licensed notary and have letter stamped with a notarized seal. Note that this type of parental consent letter is generally not valid for more than one year.

Keep the letter safely on your person when you travel.

To learn the entry and exit requirement of a foreign country, go to Country Reports and search using the name of your destination country plus the terms “entry requirements.”

Safe travels!

Note: This blog post  is not intended as legal advice nor shall it serve as the basis for an attorney/client relationship with the reader.  It is intended to alert readers to potential problems of traveling as a solo parent and an encouragement to get more information.  If you are traveling across international borders with your children, consult with an attorney about your specific set circumstance.

Michael Geoghegan