This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
This one applies to families as well as coaches, chaperones, or any other adult in charge of getting a minor that isn’t a part of their family overseas and back: Make sure you bring proper documentation.
Given the responsibility that immigration desks and airlines globally have to detect and stop human trafficking, there’s an increasing amount of documentation required to travel with minors who aren’t your own children — specifically notarized parental consent forms.
As an anecdote, my brother-in-law recently returned from a trip to Jamaica, where he was overseeing a group of teenagers on a humanitarian mission. Upon arrival into Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport (MBJ), he was asked to produce parental consent forms for each member of the party. The immigration agent studied each form carefully, matching the names on the forms with the names on passports. Had he not had those forms, all of the fundraising for the trip would’ve been for naught, as each member of the party would have had to return home without entering the country.
Who Would This Impact?
If you’re a coach, instructor, or group leader, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in charge of a minor that isn’t related to you. Here are a few international travel situations where you’d need to be mindful should you find yourself in charge of a group:
- Sports team traveling overseas for competition
- Musical, dance, or artistic team
- Humanitarian, philanthropic, or charity group
- Educational or study abroad group
- Family vacation, wedding, or funeral with unrelated friends joining
What Do I Need?
While rules surrounding what’s needed for a minor traveling with you to clear immigration vary from nation to nation, you should definitely require that each minor traveling with you bring their birth certificate, a notarized parental consent form and their passport.
While the United States Customs and Border Protection agency doesn’t supply an official form to act as a Parental Consent Letter, it does provide a recommendation overview. Moreover, you can find a solid template here. If you wish to create your own, make sure it has the following:
- Your team or organization’s letterhead, graphic, or logo
- The minor’s full name (matching the passport and birth certificate that they’re carrying)
- The minor’s date of birth
- The minor’s place of birth
- The minor’s passport nationality and number
- The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) full names, both printed and signed
- A brief paragraph summarizing the reason for the trip, acknowledgment of the chaperone’s name, and permission for the minor to be a part of the trip
- The travel period (start and end date)
- A list of the hotels or addresses where the minor will be staying
- A notary’s seal
Yes, securing these documents ahead of time can be tedious, but it pales in comparison to the potential headache of having minors in your group asked to board the first flight back to their homeland. Do you have any tips for large families and groups traveling abroad? Let us know in comments, and chime in at the TPG Lounge on Facebook.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards