Do I Need Permission for International Travel?


Do I need permission to travel out of the country with my child?

Yes. If you are traveling out of the country with a child, both parents must consent. If you have sole custody of your child, then you will need to prove you are the sole guardian of your child.   

To re-enter our country, your child must have a passport or Trusted Traveler Program document for U.S. entry.
oth parents should go with a child in-person to apply for a passport

Obtaining a U.S. Passport for a Minor

To get a passport for a minor child, you must have parental consent from both parents. Both parents should go with a child in-person to apply for a passport.

Passport Documentation Requirements

If you have sole custody, make sure you have all relevant documents with you that may also be necessary during international travel:
  • A court document
  • Birth certificate naming only one child
  • Or, death certificate
While the U.S. does not require this documentation to re-enter our country, many other countries have strict rules in place. These rules may require notarized permission letters and/or birth certificates to enter their country.

Also, if your last name is different from that of your children, you may want to have additional paperwork with you, such as a marriage certificate.
To re-enter our country, your child must have a passport or Trusted Traveler Program document for U.S. entry.

How to Get a Child Passport with One Parent Absent

If applying for a passport with both parents present is not possible, there are numerous steps you need to take as carefully outlined by the U.S. Department of State:

If you have sole legal custody:
You must submit evidence with your application. This evidence might include:
  • A court order or divorce decree
  • A certified birth certificate or adoption decree listing you as the only parent
  • A certified copy of the judicial declaration of incompetence of the parent who cannot appear
  • A certified death certificate. 
How to Get a Child Passport with One Parent Absent

If one parent is unable to appear:
That parent must complete a special form that must be signed and dated in front of a notary public. You must also include a photocopy of the front and backside of a government-issued ID. 

If you cannot locate the child’s other parent:
There is yet another special form you must provide. Usually, the government will ask for additional evidence as well, such as a custody order, a restraining order, etc. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also strongly recommends that you have a signed note of parental consent from the parent not traveling with you. 
have a signed note of parental consent from the parent not traveling with you.

Other Parent Denies Permission to Travel

What happens if you do not have sole custody, but your child’s other parent will not permit you to travel abroad? You will need to go to court to apply for permission to travel with them. You will need to present information about your trip in front of a judge or magistrate. The court will consider factors including if there are any current custody disputes.

Learn about the benefits of a co-parenting app