Parental authorization for international travel

21/05/2019

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    Before heading off to discover new lands, it is necessary to go through the unglamorous yet important step of obtaining identification papers and travel documents. Just like mom and dad, children are no exception to the rules… Passport, visa or consent to travel, Little Guest tells you everything you need to know about the subject to help ensure a calm depart for your children, whether they are travelling alone or with you.

    passeport Little guest

    ♪ Let all the little papers go!

     

    Travelling with children is a pleasure that can quickly become an administrative nightmare for adults that are travelling with them. The situation becomes particularly difficult when children head off without their parents, travelling with their grandparents or family friends. So, what papers should be in their luggage when they leave the country to travel abroad, in Europe or on a different continent? To avoid unwelcome surprises, anticipation is the keyword. Little Guest works with you on the necessary documents to ensure a successful trip for your burgeoning globetrotter!

    1. Belgium
    2. France
    3. Luxembourg
    4. Switzerland
    5. South Africa
    6. Morocco
    7. Senegal
    8. Thailand
    9. Mauritius

     

    CONSENT TO TRAVEL– EUROPE

    Just like for adults, administrative formalities concerning children change according to where they are from and where they are going. In the European Union as well as in other countries, there is no common rule concerning parental authorization: each country decides what documents it requires.

    To make things a little clearer, it is important to distinguish the papers and documents required by customs from those required by your airline or your travel agent. Clearly, being on top of necessary authorizations for leaving or entering a certain country certainly requires a flexible spirit… So, get ready… Here we go!

     

    BELGIUM

    My child is travelling with their mother or father

    In order to leave the country, young adventurers from Belgium will need their Kids-ID or their valid passport. Easy enough! If the child is travelling with just one of their parents, it is always a good idea to include a written letter of consent form the other parent and to legalize the signature with your town hall. This step is highly recommended for divorced parents as well as for parents who are not the legal representatives of the child. Another detail that is good to keep in mind in order to avoid any complications: if the child and the parent travelling with them don’t have the same last name, a copy of the birth certificate is necessary to prove the family relation.

    My child is travelling alone, with grandma or grandpa, Aunt Simone or Fred, our family friend

    If a minor is travelling alone or with someone that isn’t you, it is a good idea to provide a signed and legalized written authorization, as well as a copy of the legal guardian’s identification. It’s even better to have it translated into the destination country’s language or into English!

     

    Useful links

    Official documents you can download from the official site of the Belgian Public Services.

    Example letter of parent authorization available on the City of Brussels’ site.

     

     

    FRANCE

    My child is travelling with their mother or father

    In order to leave France, « little Frenchies » travelling with both their parents theoretically don’t need any permissions. That being said, if one of the parents is travelling alone with their child, it is necessary to have an authorization signed by the other legal guardian, especially in the case of divorce. The signature must be notarized by your commune or by a notary. Another important detail: if the child and the parent travelling with them don’t have the same last name, a copy of the birth certificate or a marriage certificate (or that of the divorce) can be used to prove family relations!

    My child is travelling alone, with grandma or grandpa, Aunt Simone or Fred, our family friend

    Minors going on vacation without their parents must bring along a valid identification or travel papers, as well as a consent to travel form signed by the legal guardian. Don’t forget to attach a photocopy of the identification of the signing parent! It’s even better if the copies of the official documents are certified by your spouse as well.

    Useful links

    Find all the official documents as well as the necessary PDFs on the site of the French public services.

    Example of a consent to travel in PDF form.

    Know how to get your signature notarized.

     

    Little-guest-autorisations-parentales

    Everything is ready! Prepare for takeoff!

     

    LUXEMBOURG

    My child is travelling with their mother or father

    Just like their French and Belgian neighbours, the residents of the Grand Duchy don’t need special permission for their minor to leave the country, as long as both parents are travelling with them. On the other hand, if the child is travelling with mom or dad, it is strongly recommended to bring along a consent to travel form signed and legalized by the second parent. To make communication easier and save time at customs, consider translating the documents into the language of the country to which you are travelling (or at least into English). On the same note, if the accompanying parent doesn’t have the same last name as their child, a copy of the birth certificate or of the marriage certificate (or divorce) will be helpful.

    My child is travelling alone, with grandma or grandpa, Aunt Simone or Fred, our family friend

    From Luxembourg, minors travelling abroad without their parents should bring, along with their valid identification and possibly their visa, a signed and notarized parent authorization. This authorization is created by the  » population » office of the child’s hometown.

    Useful link

    You can find more information on the steps to take and the official documents on the official site of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

     

     

    SWITZERLAND

    My child is travelling with their mother or father

    In order to travel, Swiss citizens should have a valid form of identification or a visa if necessary. If the minor is accompanied by only mom or dad, they must also have a consent to travel form signed by the other parent, as well as a photocopy of their identification. It is even better to have the signature authenticated by the cantonal authorities. Furthermore, if the accompanying parent doesn’t have the same last name as their child, it is highly recommended to bring along a copy of their birth certificate, as well as a marriage certificate (or divorce).

    My child is travelling alone, with grandma or grandpa, Aunt Simone or Fred, our family friend

    To ensure that their trip goes smoothly, make sure that your children have their identification. Depending on where they are travelling to, it is recommended to also bring a consent to travel form signed and legalized by the cantonal authorities or by a notary. To make communication easier and save time at customs, consider translating the documents into the language of the country to which you are travelling (or at least into English!).

    In order to avoid unwelcome surprises, research what extra documents are required for children travelling alone or with their parents by talking to the embassy or a consultant in the country to which you are travelling as well as someone with your airline.

    Find all the official documents on the official site of the Republic and Canton of Geneva.

    Example of consent to travel in PDF form.

     

    Little-Guest-autorisation parentale

    Even the little ones have to bring their passports!

    CONSENT TO TRAVEL – INTERNATIONAL

    Have you been seduced by the charm of one of our partner hotels located on the other side of the world? Before jetting off to faraway destinations, here is a bit of information outlining all the specific conditions concerning minors travelling alone or with their families.

     

    SOUTH AFRICA

    My child is travelling with their mother or father

    For a trip to South Africa for less than 90 days, French, Belgian, Luxembourg and Swiss citizens only need two important travel documents: a passport (machine-readable, electronic, or biometric) valid for at least 30 days after the departure and a round trip ticket. Small detail: at least two pages in your passport set aside for visas, should be completely blank.

    For minors, the country is especially strict. Since 2015, South Africa consistently requires a birth certificate for children from foreign countries, whether they are travelling with or without their parents. For example, the original birth certificate translated by a sworn translator or a multilingual copy of the birth certificate is required. As a precaution, take the family record book along with you! The records can prove the family connection, especially if you don’t have the same last name as your child.

    In the case where the minor is travelling with only one of their parents, the authorities may require a consent to travel form, established and signed (with a legalized signature) by the non-accompanying parent. As always, it should be accompanied by a conformed copy of their original identification. The legalization (or apostille) of the signature affixed to the form can be done by a notary, at the city council or at the town hall of their home. The authorization should be completed within less than 4 months of the travel date!

    To simplify things, the South African government has made an example of the consent to travel forms (PDF) available to parents in English.

    In the case where it is impossible to get the consent to travel signed by the other parent, the divorce ruling or any other official document proving custody of the child should be presented translated into English by a sworn translator. In the case of one parent being deceased, their death certificate, translated by a sworn translator is required.

    On December 1st, 2018, the Tourism Department of the Republic of South Africa established new directives designed to simplify the procedures for foreign minors travelling to the country.

    My child is travelling alone, with grandma or grandpa, Aunt Simone or Fred, our family friend

    In order to discover the country without their parents, all minors must have a consent to travel form, signed by the two parents/legal guardians. The form should be accompanied by copies of the identification of the two signing parents, both certified as conformed. There should also include all contact information for the two parents. To simplify communication and save time at immigration, consider using this English PDF example, made available by the South African government.

     

    Find all the documents on the official site of the French consulate in Johannesburg.

    More information on the official site of foreign affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium.

     

    Vaccines and health advice:

    Exotic destinations mean updated vaccinations! Before heading out on vacation, especially when travelling to Africa or Asia, mom and dad should learn about the required and recommended vaccinations.

    For European citizens, there are no required vaccinations, if they haven’t recently visited a high-risk country. However, travellers who have previously travelled in regions affected by yellow fever might be asked by the Mauritian health agents to present a vaccination certificate.

    On the Pasteur institutes site, you can find all the health recommendations you will need.

     

     

    MOROCCO

    My child is travelling with their mother or father

    In order to go to Morocco, Belgian, French, Luxembourg, and Swiss travellers have no need for a visa. A passport is all you need for a tourist trip that lasts shorter than 3 months, no matter their age. It’s easy to forget, but, yes, even the baby needs identification and travel papers! But be aware, certain airline companies require that passports are valid for more than 90 days at the date of entry in Morocco.

    Even if the child is travelling with their parents, they should bring along a document proving family ties (copy of the birth certificate or the family records book), as well as authorization from the father if the child is travelling with just their mom. The authorization should include all information concerning whoever is accompanying the minor, as well as information about the travelling minor, the length of stay and the dates of travel.

    If the parents are divorced, the child’s accompanying parent should carry a copy of the divorce certificate and custody decision. In a much rarer case, if the child’s father has passed away and the child is travelling with their mother, mom must bring a document proving that they were married to the deceased father or a copy of the father’s death certificate.

    My child is travelling alone, with grandma or grandpa, Aunt Simone or Fred, our family friend

    Is your child going to discover the Moroccan countryside with their grandparents? Make sure the child or the person accompanying them brings along a consent to travel form signed and legalized by the two parents. The parent authorization should be a letter that explains the accompanying person’s information, the child’s information, as well as the length of stay and the dates of travel.

    For Swiss citizens, the embassy recommends having an authorization legalized by the child’s legal guardians that also has an apostille (apostille certificate). This can be done at the town hall of your hometown in Switzerland.

     

    More details are available on the site of the French Public Services.

    More details on the official site of the Kingdom of Morocco.

    More details on the official site of the Kingdom of Belgium.

    Vaccines and health advice:

    When travelling to Morocco, no vaccines are required for travellers coming from Europe. However, certain vaccines are good to have for the personal protection of the traveller. On the Pasteur institutes site, you can find all the health recommendations you’ll need before the trip.

     

    Wooden plane and world map

    Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!

     

    SENEGAL

    My child is travelling with their mother or father

    As of a couple of years ago, Senegal does not require a visa for French, Belgian, Luxembourg, and Swiss travellers. For vacation, adults and children only need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the return date. However, note that for a trip that lasts longer than 3 months, it is required to apply for a residence permit with the Senegalese authorities in order to avoid finding themselves in an unusual situation.

    Even if the child is travelling with their parents, they must bring along a document that proves family ties (copy of the birth certificate or family record book). If they are headed off with just one of their parents, it is always a good idea to bring consent to travel form signed (and legalized) by the parent that is not travelling with them.

     

    My child is travelling alone, with grandma or grandpa, Aunt Simone or Fred, our family friend

    The child should bring their valid passport and a parental authorization that has been signed and legalized. The parent permission should be a letter that explains the relationship to the accompanying person, the child’s information, the length of stay and the dates of travel.

     

    More details are available on this site.

    Find more information on the official site of the Kingdom of Belgium.

     

    Vaccines and health advice:

    The minister of tourism states that the yellow fever vaccine is required in order to enter Senegalese territory. Vaccines for typhoid, polio, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis, rabies, the flu as well as antimalarial treatment are all strongly recommended. Just like their identification papers, your child’s vaccination records are an important part of the trip, even for travellers coming from Europe.

    Find more information on the site of the Senegalese Minister of tourism.

    On the Pasteur institutes site, you can find all the health recommendations you will need.

     

     

    THAILAND

    My child is travelling with their mother or father

    For a trip to Thailand that lasts less than 30 days, Belgian, French, Luxembourg and Swiss citizens must bring only their valid passport. These identifications must be valid for at least 6 months after the return date and should be accompanied by a round trip plane ticket. In any case, everyone needs to make sure they bring their passport.

    If a minor is travelling with just one of their parents, especially if the parent doesn’t have the same last name as the child, it is strongly recommended to bring along a birth certificate or marriage certificate to prove family relationships. Furthermore, it is important to bring along a consent to travel form that has been filled out and signed by the other parent, along with a photocopy of their identification.

    Don’t forget, before vacationers enter the territory, immigration services sometimes require that each person brings along the equivalent to 20,000 THB (about 561€) in cash.

     

    More information on the visas on the site of the Thai embassy.

    My child is travelling alone, with grandma or grandpa, Aunt Simone or Fred, our family friend

    The child should bring along their valid passport as well as a consent to travel form signed by the parents and a parental authorization (with a legalized signature), as well as a photocopy of the signing parent’s identification. The parental authorization should be a letter that explains the accompanying person’s relation to the child, the child’s information, the length of stay and the dates of travel.

    Bilingual PDF example.

    More information on the site of the French public services.

     

    Vaccines and health advice:

    If you are going to Thailand, there are no required vaccines. However, certain vaccines are strongly recommended. On the Pasteur institutes site, you can find all the health recommendations you’ll need before the trip.

     

    Kid reading a map

    Travelling is an important part of childhood

     

    MAURITIUS

    My child is travelling with their mother or father

    For Belgian, French, Luxembourg and Swiss citizens, a passport that is valid for longer than the expected return date is required. Trips to Mauritius must not exceed 3 months. In order to stay up to 6 months, a (free) visa application must be processed by the Office of Passports and Immigration. In any case, everyone needs to make sure they bring their passport!

    Mauritian customs services also require that all travellers have a return ticket. Vacationers should also present the reservations for the hotel that they are staying at during their stay or, if the case may be, a letter from their host with their information. Immigration services may also ask you to demonstrate sufficient financial means for the duration of your stay (100$/day).

    If the minor is travelling with just one of their parents to Mauritius, its strongly recommended to have something to prove the family ties such as a birth certificate or a marriage certificate, especially if the child and parent don’t have the same last name. Furthermore, it is important to bring along a consent to travel form completed and signed by the other parent (with a legalized signature), accompanied by a photocopy of their identification.

    More information is available on the official site of the Mauritian Government.

    My child is travelling alone, with grandma or grandpa, Aunt Simone or Fred, our family friend

    Minors must bring along their own valid passport. It is strongly recommended that they bring a consent to travel form signed by one of their parents with custody (with the signature legalized) and a photocopy of the signing parent’s identification. In order to simplify communication and save time at customs, consider translating your official documents into English or use this bilingual PDF example.

    More information is available on the official site of the Mauritian Government.

     

    More information can be found on the site of the French public services.

    Vaccines and health advice:

    In order to travel to the island, there are no required vaccinations. However, travellers who have previously travelled in regions affected by yellow fever might be asked by the Mauritian health agents to present a vaccination certificate.

    As of April 2018, numerous cases of the measles have been seen across the country. The French Embassy recommends that you take precautions and make sure your vaccinations are up to date, especially those of children, teenagers and young adults.

    On the Pasteur institutes site, you can find all the health recommendations you’ll need before the trip.

    In order to avoid unwelcome surprises, research what extra documents are required for children travelling alone or with their parents by talking to the embassy or a consultant in the country to which you are travelling as well as someone with your airline.

     

    Some tips …

    • When it comes to papers, it’s better to not leave anything to chance! Bring along the front and back photocopies of all of your identification papers and put them in a safe place inside your luggage. In case of theft, these documents will make everything easier. If you prefer to travel light, you may prefer a digital version: a photo of your papers, sent to your own email address or that of whoever is travelling with your child. For French travellers, it is possible to upload a digital version of your documents on Mon-service-public.fr
    • It may be a good idea to set the length of the permission to a few days longer than the actual length of stay just in case there is any issue with the schedule.
    • Make sure to have a consent to travel form for every country that your child is travelling to!
    • Children are not the only ones who have to take certain documents with them to make sure the holidays go smoothly! Although they vary from country to country and length of stay, the conditions of access to the territory share a common point: they may require certain official documents. For example, if you want to go to the United States with your family, please read our article on the visa requirements for this country!

     

    SOURCES

     

    EU site in English

    EN : https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/travel-documents-minors/

    Practical informations for travelling with a minor in French.

    Example of bilingual consent to travel forms.

    Mylene Mylène

     

    Mylène, 28 ans, passionnée d’art et de voyage, originaire de Strasbourg, France

     

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