Traveling can be an exciting opportunity for relaxation and for learning. The joys of experiencing new places, different cultures, and interacting with other people can be eye-opening. For children, it can be breathtaking to sense the greater world with their own eyes, ears, and noses. If you are fortunate enough to have the time and resources to take an international trip with your children, proper planning is the key to maximizing this opportunity.
Tips to Traveling Internationally with Children
- Be mindful of court orders or parenting agreements. Most child custody orders and formal parenting agreements contain provisions requiring approval from the other parent or from the court in order to take a child outside of a specified geographic range. Be sure that you are in full compliance with any such provision. If you have any doubts, communicate with an attorney to review your options, or to see what steps are possible to allow for international travel.
- Make sure you have the proper customs documentation to show that you have permission to travel internationally with your children. The United States and many other countries are rightfully concerned about the prospect of parental kidnapping or leaving the United States in violation of child custody orders. Therefore, S. Customs recommends obtaining a signed and notarized letter of consent from the non-travelling parent that you can travel abroad with the children.
- Do your homework about the country you are visiting. In addition to the “tourist” highlights of your destination, also read parent blogs that highlight the various child-friendly activities available.
- Obtain and bring your child’s passport. It can take a long time to obtain a child’s passport. Give yourself plenty of advance time to allow the passport to arrive.
- Acquire any necessary travel visas for the country that you are visiting. Some countries require a visa application, while other countries do not if you intend to stay for a short time.
- Talk with your child’s pediatrician about any shots or health precautions that you and your child should obtain in anticipation of the country you are visiting. Bring the medical records of these shots with you.
- Bring a photocopy of your child’s birth certificate and make a photocopy of all passports. Keep these in a separate bag than the originals in the event that the originals are lost or destroyed.
- Make sure your seats are together. Do not let the airline or travel service automatically choose seats. Look at the layout of plane and make sure your seats are in a block together.
- Get ready for a long trip. Be sure that your children have activities to keep them busy for the many hours they are going to be on planes and in airports. This may be one time it is okay to load up a tablet with videos and games.
New Direction Family Law
The attorneys at New Direction Family Law provide counsel and legal representation regarding child custody issues. Your time with your children matters a great deal to us and we will utilize our knowledge and experience to serve your legal interests. Our office serves clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment, or contact us at our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law