As the Easter break and the May Bank holidays approach, this is one of the times of the year when we receive a higher number of requests from individuals who need a notarised travel consent so that their children can travel with just one of their parents, with other relatives or friends.
This has become an increasingly regular requirement from different government authorities as they look for ways to prevent cases of child abduction. As a result, when a parent is taking his/her own child on holiday or to visit family abroad, it is now often necessary for the non-travelling parent to issue a written confirmation which shows that they have given their consent for the child to travel.
This also tends to be necessary when a minor is left at the airport by a relative who is not travelling as well. As the minor will be under the care of the airline for the duration of the flight (a so-called ‘Unmin’ or ‘Unaccompanied Minor’), a written consent is also usually required from one or both of the parents, who will often need to sign it in advance in the presence of a notary public.
The need to produce a notarised consent, as well as the instructions about the details that should be included in the document, may come directly from the authorities of the country where the child is travelling to or from, or by the airline or travel agent. Some countries have specific legislation or rules about the need for these consents. For instance, South Africa is one of the countries that have recently introduced specific rules regarding travel consents for minors. This information and the current requirements can be found on the website of the South African High Commission in London. Other countries, such as Canada, may not have a legal requirement for these consents but would still strongly advise their citizens to prepare them. The website of the Canadian government offers information in respect of Canadian children, including a suggested wording for the form. Some airlines may also have their own policies in respect of children travelling on one of their flights.
Typically, the consent that parents need to give would have to include their personal details, as well as those of the child and the person travelling with the child, and details of the trip (i.e. dates, place of departure and arrival, and any stopover or flight connection).
In any event, it is highly recommended that parents make enquiries with the airline, the travel agent, and the relevant country’s authorities well in advance of the child’s trip. When a notarised consent is required, this will involve the parent or parents booking an appointment with a notary to sign the document in the notary’s presence. Proof of identity and address will need to be presented to the notary and, in some cases, the person signing may need to present proof of his/her connection to the child.
Depending on where the document is to be used, the notary’s certification may need to be complemented with an apostille issued by the Foreign Office and, sometimes, with a consular legalisation. The notary will normally be able to offer advice and arrange these procedures for you.
Our notaries will be very happy to help if you need to notarise a travel consent for your child. Contact us for more information.