iStock child travel 13032984_A divorced parent who is traveling abroad with his or her children has additional hurdles to overcome before leaving for the trip.  To insure that the experience is memorable from the start, make sure to follow these easy travel tips.  Every person who will be travelling outside of the United States, including a minor under the age of 18, must obtain and travel with a valid United States passport.  In order for a minor to apply for and obtain a United States passport, he or she must apply in person with both parents.  Child passports cannot be obtained or renewed by mail.

The documents necessary for a minor to apply for a United States passport are (1)the  completed DS-11 form, which can be obtained online and completed before the actual application process, (2) evidence of the child’s United States citizenship, which can include the child’s certified birth certificate or naturalization certificate, (3) the parents’ proof of relationship to the child, which can include the child’s certified birth certificate, adoption decree, or custody decree, (4) photo identification for both parents of the child, which can include an undamaged passport or valid driver’s license, (5) photocopies of each identification document; listed above and(6) a passport photograph, which can be no larger than 2 x 2 and taken within the last six months.

In addition to passports, many countries, including Mexico and Canada, require a minor accompanied by only one parent to carry a written, notarized consent form from the absent parent permitting the travel.  This document includes information surrounding the child’s departure and return dates, airline flight or cruise ship number/name, the countries to be visited on the trip, with who the child is traveling, and consent for the traveling parent to obtain routine or emergency medical treatment for the child during the trip.  It is always a good idea to contact the embassy of the destination country before the trip in order to learn what documents are necessary to ensure easy entrance and departure.


Boyanowski, CCara A. Boyanowski concentrates her practice in the field of domestic law and wills and estates.  As a domestic law practitioner, she represents clients in simple and complex divorce, support, custody, alimony, step-parent adoptions, name change and same-sex divorce and custody matters.  She works out of Obermayer’s Harrisburg, PA office and can be reached at 717-234-5315 or at Cara.Boyanowski@obermayer.com.