February 19, 2008

International Travel Consent for the Children of Travelers
Lima, Peru

Tatiana and I are both lovers of travel, and we both plan on continuing to travel extensively while our son is a minor. Sometimes we'll travel together, and sometimes it'll be done independently.

Perhaps one day I'll be traveling in the middle of Africa, and Tatiana will want to take Aidric from Peru to Brazil. Or perhaps one day a teenaged Aidric and I will take a trip through Thailand with my brother.

But almost regardless the destination, there will be an overarching immigration requirement that must be satisfied: Proof that Aidric has the consent of both parents to travel abroad.

The spirit of these laws is to prevent child abduction, but poses a particularly strong nuisance to regular international travelers and multi-national families.

From what I can tell (from both experience and research) is that an unreachable parent, divorce, or death aren't reasons to have incomplete paperwork. It would appear that material status, or lack thereof, is not a factor in all this. Unless the child has been decreed the sole custody of a specific parent or guardian, there must be consent.

What I want to be able to do is sign and notarize a document to authorize Aidric to travel internationally with Tatiana, without my presence, until he turns 18. Both of us would likely do this in English and in Spanish, in the U.S. and in Peru, respectively.

But every document template I turn up and every source I come across indicates that the specifics of each every trip must be indicated—countries to be visited, for what dates, etc.—for every unique instance of travel.

(sigh) Heaven forbid I be able authorize such things for 18 years. Do I really need to worry about this each and every time Aidric will travel without both of us until the year 2026?

The real problem that we're dealing with is not one country's bureaucratic policy; but the upcoming battles that will be fought with hundreds of international territories, border crossings, and airlines. The gatekeepers, and their subjective interpretations of authorized consent, are an utter minefield of potential misery.

There are just too many negative scenarios playing out in my head to mitigate. If we can't obtain a convincing 18-year consent form, something like a relationship problem between Tatiana and I, or an inability to get satisfactory authorization transmitted whilst one of us is traveling abroad, could strand Aidric (and the one with him) in a country.

It's a real mess, and the idea of doing paperwork each and every time Aidric crosses a border without the two of us present—for 18 years—feels like living nightmare.

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February 20th, 2008

I get the point of the post, but this line at the beginning caught my eye - "…perhaps one day a teenaged Aidric and I will take a trip through Thailand with my brother."

Now that's a trip I'd like to be on… =)


Craig | travelvice.com

February 21st, 2008

The drama with the letter continues:

A lawyer working in a notary office told us today that, for $60-something US dollars, a special power of attorney can be created to allow Tatiana to create an unlimited number of notarized, single-use travel consent letters (which might very well be the only recognized letter accepted at Peru's immigration checkpoints). Each single-use travel letter costs between US$12 and $40, depending on where you get typed up and signed at.

The number of countries that have this type of dual-parent consent policy is staggering: Hague Abduction Convention Country List

Although I can find no reference to some type of unlimited travel consent form, I'm not surprised. Tatiana and I are a rare case, and what I'm asking for is way outside the norm.

I still believe that I can draft my own letter, have it notarized, and that will be good enough. A pair of copies for each of us in Spanish and in English — that should satisfy a large chunk of the countries on that list. Lord only knows what type of drama awaits at airports and immigration stations in the future…


February 23rd, 2008

Hi Craig!

I am actually a Notary so if you want to draft a letter I can do it for you if you like.




Craig | travelvice.com

February 23rd, 2008

That's pretty rad — thanks.

I still have an account w/ a bank in the U.S. that provides this service for free — or they did a couple of years ago.

Will keep you posted. :)

andrea b

May 10th, 2009

This reminded me that my mom had some problems on Friday trying to get a consent permit at the notary because the birth certificate that she had was 2 years old… It was only for traveling within the country but she had to go find another notary to get the permit at the last minute.
When I lived in Lima and my parents lived in Huaraz my mom got a 6 month permit in a notary in Huaraz that said that I could travel back and forth by myself from Lima to Huaraz… What I think is that particularly for inside-the-country traveling these permits are next to useless as photo IDs aren't mandatory so anyone can pass as anyone…

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