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A letter of consent for a minor to travel

When you are traveling it is important to make sure you have all the necessary documents required for your trip. 

Things can get further complicated when you are traveling with children as there are various different type of documents that will be required depending on the situation.

Necessary Documents for All Children

When traveling out of the country, children of all ages are required to have the same documentation as adults. This is usually in the form of a passport along with the relevant paperwork needed for traveling to a particular country.

It is always best to find out in advance what is needed in order to avoid issues later on.

Letters of Parental or Guardians Consent

Oftentimes, children will travel with one parent or with other family members, friends and school groups. In such cases, Customs and Border Protection recommend that a note of consent from one or both parents is carried. 

This is due to the increasing number of custody disputes, child abductions, and cases of child exploitation taking place around the world. 

In many countries, having a letter of consent to travel is required by law. This letter should confirm that you have given your child permission to travel out of the country and who they are traveling with. 

It must then be signed by one or both parents or the legal guardians and then notarized. 

In some cases you may be required to provide other information in the letter of consent to travel. It is also mandatory for the letter to be notarised and legalised in most countries.  

What happens when a child is traveling with one parent or guardian who has sole custody?

In such a case, a consent form isn’t required however, depending on the situation, a court order which serves as proof of your custody rights might be necessary. 

What if the child is traveling with one parent or guardian who doesn’t have sole custody?

A parent with joint custody will require a letter of consent to travel that has been signed by the parent not traveling with the child.

What if the child is traveling with a school, organisation, group or anyone who isn’t a legal guardian?

A letter of consent to travel needs to be signed by all parties with custody rights who aren’t traveling with the child. 

In scenarios where a parent has sole custody over a child, a copy of the court order showing these rights needs to also be carried.


As is the case with all documents that are intended for use abroad, a Notary Public needs to be present when the consent letter is being signed. 

He or she will then attach an attestation certificate along with notarised copies of identification documents, birth certificates, passports or the court order which serves as proof of custody rights. 

These documents will then be legalised for use abroad, however this depends on the country you intend on traveling to.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated - Attorneys & Notaries Cape Town & Johannesburg

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