A travel consent letter does not need to be apostilled unless specifically requested by an overseas authority. However, to be extra careful, depending on the destination country, you may want to apostille your consent letter to ensure that overseas authorities accept it.

We recommend you check with the destination country if an apostille is required. At a minimum, all travel consent letters issued in the UK should be notarised for overseas travel.

When do you need a travel consent letter apostilled?

You need an apostille for the travel consent letter if an authority abroad has requested that the child’s documents must be legalised. When an apostille has been requested for the consent letter, you have two options to get an apostille in the UK.

Why do you need an apostilled travel consent letter for a child?

Immigration, customs, and law enforcement officials often have the right to request a child travel consent form. Also, not all countries have the same rules and laws for children travelling without their parents. [1]

Human trafficking or unresolved custody issues could be reasons why an apostille is requested or strongly recommended.

The travel consent letter shows officials that the child has parental permission to travel to leave or enter the country.

Why does a travel consent form need to be notarised?

The reason why a travel consent letter needs to be notarised can come from overseas authorities, from airlines and more recently, from travel agents.

Notarisation of consent requires the parent(s) to arrange an appointment with a notary public so the notary can witness the signature.

Identity documentation and proof of connection to the child must be presented to the notary. In addition, the signing party may also need to provide evidence of their relationship with the child.

Who needs an apostilled travel consent letter?

Children crossing international borders alone, with someone who isn’t their legal guardian or who travels with one parent, must have an adult consent form signed by both parents.

This includes grandparents and any other family members who wish to take a child abroad.

A travel consent form should also be used if the parent and child have different surnames.

Separated parents travelling alone with their children should check with the destination country if permission to travel is required from both parents, especially in South Africa and Norway.

What are the risks of travelling without a parental consent letter internationally?

Not being able to prove that you have the authority to travel with a minor could get you in real trouble. Not least, travel agents, airlines and border control can refuse travel.

If you are not the parent, taking a child abroad without proper permission can be considered child abduction – which is a criminal offence.

Where can you get a consent letter for children to travel that can be apostilled?

Free templates can be downloaded from the UK Home Office website, airlines, travel agents, and the destination county’s embassies and consulates. [2, 3, 4 ]

Also, an online search for a child travel consent template will show options.

Just make sure you choose one that is free of errors, doesn’t miss any information and has been created for the UK.

Ask the requesting authority (travel agents, airlines). They often provide templates that you could use.

Remember that most solicitors and notaries will also draft consent letters for you.

Download: Emergency travel document for a child – letter of consent [.gov] (word templates)

Free Travel Consent Form Template

How to make sure your travel consent letter is ready for international travel

To make sure your travel consent letter is ready for international travel, check that:

  • You have the correct consent form. For example, in the UK, there are two different forms for travel consent letters: one for children travelling with one parent or two parents, and one for children travelling with another adult.
  • Your consent form is completed correctly and contains all relevant information, such as the travel dates, e-mail address, passport number, and contact information. Be sure to fill out everything and provide details accurately.
  • Get the consent form notarised. The notary will verify that the form’s information is complete and correct.
  • Make copies of the form. You may want to make copies. You may need to hand over a consent form, or in case you lose a form.

Benefits of getting an apostille for your travel consent letter

Although legalisation with an apostille is not always required, legalising your travel consent letter can be beneficial to avoid any unforeseen issues whilst overseas.

FAQs

  • Both parents of a child can give consent to travel internationally with a guardian.
  • Under certain circumstances, a UK court can also give permission to travel abroad.
  • Divorced parents – if required or requested, the other parents can also consent for the children to travel.

The UK does not have a legal requirement for guardians of children to carry a travel consent letter.

But a consent letter may be requested by various authorities when entering or leaving a foreign country, including the United Kingdom. Failure to produce a letter of authorisation to travel upon request may result in delays or refusal to enter or exit a country.

It is recommended that anyone under the age of 18 should carry a letter of consent to travel.

Either separate letters or a single letter may be acceptable. However, if both parents choose to sign separate consent letters, we strongly recommend that a notary public witness both letters.

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