Travelling abroad with your minor children

September 12, 2018

In the run up to holiday season, I seem to be flooded with calls from anxious parents checking up on the necessary paperwork required when travelling overseas with their children. The attached pamphlet issued by Home Affairs should answer most of your questions, but here’s a quick checklist for the usual scenarios – it’s actually not too difficult:

  1. You will need a CERTIFIED COPY of the child’s UNABRIDGED BIRTH CERTIFICATE. I’m learning that some officials get sticky about certified copies, so here are some extra tips on certified copies (generally):
    1. don’t do your own (even if you are a Commissioner of Oaths). I would have thought this was pretty obvious, but evidently not;
    2. make sure that the certified copy is dated, and that it is within the last three months;
    3. to be safe, the Commissioner should also write in his/her contact number (if it’s not already included in his/her stamp).
  2. Obviously, you will be travelling with the child’s VALID PASSPORT (bear in mind that children’s passports need renewing more often than ours do, every 5 years). You should make sure that their passport (and yours) always has at least two blank pages.
  3. Equally obviously, you will need to make sure that you are in possession of any visas that may be required for your trip. Bear in mind that children’s visas are often linked to one parent’s passport. If only one of you is travelling with your child, make sure your child’s visa is linked to your passport. Actually, it’s generally good practice to make sure that you always carefully check your and your children’s visas thoroughly before travelling. Last time I went to the UK, my son’s UK visa had been issued and linked to a strange passport number. We were denied access to the UK. Turns out that the visa had been linked to my (long since) expired passport. I spent a day at Heathrow trying to sort that out.
  4. If your child is only travelling with one parent, you will need an affidavit by the other parent consenting to the proposed trip. The easiest thing to do is to complete the standard form “PARENTAL CONSENT AFFIDAVIT” from Home Affairs. I’ve attached a copy to save you time. You should travel with the ORIGINAL of this affidavit.
  5. In addition to the Parental Consent Affidavit referred to above, you will also need to provide a CERTIFIED COPY OF THE OTHER PARENT’S ID OR PASSPORT. (See point 1 above regarding certified copies generally…)
  6. If you are the SOLE GUARDIAN of your minor child, then you won’t require the PARENTAL CONSENT AFFIDAVIT referred to above, or a copy of the other parent’s ID or passport. You will however be required to produce evidence of your SOLE GUARDIANSHIP. If only one parent appears on the child’s unabridged birth certificate, this isn’t a problem, but if both parents are listed on the unabridged birth certificate then you will need to produce a CERTIFIED COPY OF THE COURT ORDER awarding you SOLE GUARDIANSHIP.
  7. Finally, you need to hang on to all of the above-mentioned documentation and try to avoid misplacing it in the general chaos of travelling, as both the airline and passport control officials will ask to see it.

Hope that helps. Give us a shout if we can help further.

HAPPY TRAVELS!

 

Access the Home Affairs pamphlet here.

Access the Parental Consent Affidavit form here.