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What You Need to Know Before Travelling Alone with Your Children

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If you are leaving the country alone with a child, you may need to take extra documents with you to establish your relationship and that you are travelling with the proper consent.

This applies even if you are one of the child’s parents.

Why? Put simply, this is to protect children from trafficking and international child abduction, which is when a parent (or family member) removes a child from the country without consent from the other parent.

If you are separated from your child’s other parent you usually need their permission to take the child out the country.

What does this mean for you?

You must have consent from anyone else who has parental responsibility for the child (usually both parents) before taking them outside of England and Wales. This usually means that the child’s other parent will need to provide a letter of consent, which contains their contact details so that its authenticity can be checked.

If your child lives with you and that is recorded in a Child Arrangements Order, you can usually take them overseas for up to 28 days without permission. In which case, you will need to take a sealed copy of any relevant Court Orders and we recommend that you check with your Solicitor if you need to do anything else, such as having the documents verified.

If you do not have the same surname as your child, you may be asked to prove your relationship to them. We advise taking extra documentation such as a copy of their birth certificate, adoption certificate or your parental order, as well as any relevant divorce or marriage certificates.

What else should you do?

It is a good idea to contact the airline you are travelling with, as well as the embassy for the country you are travelling to, to see if they have any other requirements.

Some countries, such as USA and South Africa, have very strict requirements and although you may have the documents you need to leave the UK, you may not have everything you need to gain entry on arrival.

You can find the contact details for all foreign embassies and High Commissions in UK here.

Legal Advice

Further information about International Child Abduction can be found here. If you think your child may be taken overseas without your consent, it is important to act quickly.

If you would like to speak confidentially to our team of family lawyers you can call 020 7993 2936 to schedule a no-obligation consultation or make a Contact Request here

Alternatively, you can Get Started Online to receive a Free Confidential Report outlining your position.