The desire to get away from it all at this time of year burns bright for many of us and it's important to be prepared. Any parents travelling overseas with their child but without the other parent may well need to obtain the written consent from the absent parent and have this process carried out before a notary public. This is often required by the country to which the child will be travelling before they will allow them to enter or leave. This should be done in good time before leaving the UK. I have experience of parents being in tears when a consent to travel has not been prepared (because neither parent was aware of the need for this) and consequently missing flights to family weddings and functions or being prevented from returning to the UK.
Consents to travel are usually required in the following circumstances:
- Where only one parent is travelling with their child; or
- Where neither parent is travelling with the child who is instead being accompanied by friends or other family members on a trip overseas.
Often it can be unclear whether such consent is required for travel to and from a certain country. It is advisable to check with the Embassy of the relevant country but if in doubt I would always recommend obtaining a consent to travel to avoid any ambiguity.
immigration authorities can become concerned if they believe that the child may be being taken somewhere without one or both parents’ knowledge and consent. They may therefore detain the travelling party at the airport pending clarification ......We therefore recommend that parents check with the relevant Embassy before travelling to see if a consent to travel may be required. It is widely required in South Africa, Portugal, Thailand, Australia and Russia. However, with increasing concerns about issues such as child abduction and people trafficking following recent high profile cases, it is likely that the countries expecting to see this type of documentation will expand moving forward.