We recommend having a notarised travel consent letter – just in case
As we approach the summer holiday season and the Christmas/New Year period, and naturally when people start planning their overseas travels, one of the increasing number of enquiries we that we receive is to notarise a Letter of Consent to Travel or a travel consent letter.
Who should carry a travel consent letter?
Any adult person travelling with a child (ie, someone under the age of 18 years), without one or both of that child’s parents, should carry a travel consent letter with them as they pass through immigration. We recommend keeping the travel consent letter with their travel documents (ie, passports/travel tickets) so that it can be easily produced when requested while entering or exiting a country and at all immigration checkpoints.
Why do I need a travel consent letter?
If you’re travelling with a child without one or both of that child’s parents, then immigration checkpoints at some countries may raise questions or even prevent you from entering or exiting the country if you cannot prove that you have consent from the child’s parents to travel with the child. In many cases, these hurdles are in place to prevent child trafficking, kidnapping or contravention of family law and custody orders. Be aware that different countries have different laws regarding how they deal with these issues. Make sure you pay attention to the travel advisory for each country that you intend to visit (even if it’s just passing through).
Unless there are specific requirements for travelling with children in the country that you’re visiting or passing through, we recommend travelling with some sort of letter to prove that the child’s parents allow the child to travel with you. The last thing you want is to run into problems with immigration officers or have complications in a foreign country over something that could have easily been prevented by a simple letter. In that sense, a little preparation can go a long way.
Where can I download the travel consent letter?
Check with the travel advisory (ie, https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/), your travel agent or the airline/cruise ship to determine whether any of the countries that you’re visiting have specific forms, formats or requirements for the travel consent letter.
If there’s no specific form, then you should prepare your own letter. As a general rule, your travel consent letter should state the full names of the child’s parents, the child, and the person travelling with the child. The letter should also state that the parents consent to their child travelling with the person travelling and include details such as names, birth dates, passport numbers, contact addresses and phone numbers.
If you want to include a travel itinerary, we recommend making allowances for potential last-minute changes to that itinerary or travel plans. For example, instead of specific travel dates, consider periods of travel. If you make the consent too limited, it can create more problems if travel plans have to change due to unforeseen circumstances or emergencies.
Does the travel consent letter need to be notarised?
In most cases, documents signed in Australia but used in another country should be notarised. This means the child’s parents must sign the travel consent letter in front of a notary public. The notary public will witness their signature and confirm that they were the people who signed the travel consent letter.
Does the travel consent letter need to be authenticated and legalised or stamped with an apostille?
In some cases, after the travel consent letter has been notarised, it might also need to be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and legalised. This requirement depends largely on the intended countries, their specific requirements, and how strictly those requirements are followed or enforced by immigration officials. If the travel consent letter must be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and legalised, then you have to allow for substantially more turnaround time for this process to take place (ie, weeks) and so you need to plan ahead. Many people ask for help at the last minute (ie, the day or day before they leave) and unfortunately, this is often not possible especially if they require notarisation and legalisation.
At the very least, you must still arrange for the travel consent letter to be notarised. As a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney, we can assist you with both the notarisation and with the authentication or apostille if required.
Do you have any questions?
Sending documents from Australia to other countries can be complicated. We make it simple.
If your documents must be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and then legalised, we can help with that too. We've also created a flowchart to explain the process.
So, what's next?
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We're a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. We're known for our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries, our low-cost fixed fees and service offering, and our availability to help on short notice.
Our office is conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area. We help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.
This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney.
Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to other countries.