Notarising the Travel Consent Letter
Travelling internationally with children
With international borders reopening, more and more clients have been asking about notarising the travel consent letter. In this article, we attempt to address some of the most frequently asked questions relating to the travel consent letter.
What is a travel consent letter?
A travel consent letter is usually some form of authority given by one or both parents of a child (ie, someone under 18 years old) to travel with one parent but not both parents or with an adult who is not the child’s parent. The authority permits the child to travel with that person and to leave or enter countries or cross international borders.
When do I need a travel consent letter?
Generally, a travel consent letter is required if you are travelling with a child who is not your child or if you are travelling with your child but without the child’s other parent. Usually, you will need a travel consent letter if you are crossing international borders in case you are questioned at immigration checkpoints.
Why do I need a travel consent letter?
Different countries have different attitudes and approaches towards children travelling with adults who are not their parents or with a single parent. These attitudes and approaches usually relate to law enforcement to prevent child/human trafficking or breach of family law parenting or custody orders. The travel consent letter is intended to show immigration officials that the child has parental permission to travel with you and leave or enter the country.
How do I write a travel consent letter?
There are templates for the travel consent letter available from different sources. You should check the travel advisory for the destination country, you can ask the airlines or cruise liner that you are travelling with, or approach your travel agent. Some countries have specific forms or formats, but in the absence of anything specific, the travel consent letter should contain the following information:
- The name of the child and their passport number.
- The name of the person who is authorised to take the child and their passport number.
- The name of the parent or parents who authorise the child to travel, including their contact information.
You can also include:
- Dates of birth
If you want to be more specific (or restrictive), you can also include:
- The destination countries
- The dates of travel
Is there any benefit to being specific or restrictive?
If you are concerned about where your child may be travelling, when they may be travelling or who they may be travelling with, then you should be more specific and/or restrictive in what you permit. For example, if they can only travel to certain countries during a certain period of time, then you should specify that in the travel consent letter. Just keep in mind that if there are last minute changes to travel plans or there are emergencies, then this may become too restrictive and create more problems for your child and for the person that they are travelling with.
If you are not concerned and you want the travel consent letter to be as general as possible, then you should not be specific or restrictive. This will also avoid additional complications or problems for your child or for the person who is travelling with your child.
I am separated from the child’s other parent, do I need a travel consent letter?
This is probably one of the reasons that a travel consent letter may be required. In Australia, there is generally no restriction for children to leave the country with one or other parent – unless there are existing family law issues, court orders, restrictions on the child’s passport or the child is on the airport watchlist. For other countries, their processes and procedures for allowing children to enter or leave their country or pass through their borders can be very different, especially if they want to ensure that both parents (whether those parents are together or separated) consent to the child travelling.
Does the travel consent letter need to be notarised?
Usually, any document that is signed in Australia but used in another country must first be notarised. Notarisation by a notary public involves the person (or people) providing the consent to identify themselves before the notary public and sign the consent in front of the notary public. The notary public will then verify that they identified those people and witnessed them sign the consent.
Does the travel consent letter need to be stamped with an apostille or legalised?
While notarisation is usually the minimum requirement, if you wanted to be extra cautious (and you have enough time) you can also arrange for the travel consent letter to be stamped with an apostille or legalised, depending on the intended destination country.
What other documents should I carry?
Aside from your passport, the child’s passport and the travel consent letter, if you wanted to be extra cautious, you may want to carry copies of the child’s birth certificate and the parent’s photo identification documents (ie, passport). These documents all ‘connect the dots’ necessary to prove that the travel consent letter was issued by the parents of the child (ie, proving the identity of the parents as well as their relationship to the child).
What is the process?
Do you have any questions regarding this article?
Whether you're notarising a document for the first time or the hundreth time, the requirements, processes, and terms can be confusing and daunting - or just a pain and a hassle (especially if you need an apostille, or to authenticate or legalise as well). Don't worry! We're here to simplify it, explain it, and help you with what you need to achieve it.
Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about our notary public services. We've also created a flowchart to help explain notarisation, apostille, authentication and legalisation.
So, what's next?
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We're a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney 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. With our offices 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.