If your children have a different surname from you or if indeed you are travelling with children who you have not been appointed guardian to, you may be asked to prove that you have a right to travel with them. This is more common in some countries more than others. The reason for this is to prevent child abduction and smuggling. In order to ensure that your trip is as smooth and hassle free as possible, you should do the following:
- Check your airline’s requirements
- Check with your own embassy and with the embassy of your destination country for their requirements.
- Ensure you have relevant documents: passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates. If you’re travelling under your maiden name with children of a different surname, a marriage certificate alongside your passport will ‘prove’ who you are.
- Pack a consent letter which demonstrates that the child or children in question have permission to travel abroad from parents or guardians who aren’t accompanying them. Make sure it is signed by whoever is not travelling and get it notarised by a notary or solicitor. This will allow grandparents to travel with kids also. The letter of consent should have as much detail as possible as to the names, dates of birth of the children and the persons taking them abroad.
- Should your parenting arrangement have special terms regarding international travel, then double check with a solicitor to ensure you have the relevant supporting documents.
- Foster parents should take a copy of the court order appointing them.
- If you both share parental responsibility for your children, then you should have his permission before you travel overseas. He will also need yours should the roles be reversed. You’ll need to apply to a court for permission to take a child abroad if you don’t have permission from the other people with parental responsibility. A solicitor will be able to help you with this process.