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If a minor is traveling with only one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency suggests that the adult traveling with the child should a carry a letter from the child's other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, or friends, a note signed by both parents) stating "I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter. He/She/They has my permission to do so."  CBP also suggests that the letter be notarized. While CBP may not ask to see this documentation, if they ask, you need to be prepared. If you do not have the proper documentation, you may be detained until the circumstances of the child traveling without both parents can be fully assessed. If there is no second parent with legal claims to the child (deceased, sole custody, etc.), any other relevant paperwork, such as a court decision, birth certificate naming only one parent, death certificate, etc., would be useful.

Adults traveling with children should also be aware that many countries require such documentation, and failure to produce notarized permission letters and/or birth certificates could result in travelers being refused entry. For example, Canada has very strict requirements.

Traveling with Minors


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Sail Away Adventures recommends that all travelers carry a valid, unexpired passport regardless of where your travels take you. Carrying a valid, unexpired passport may facilitate your return home should an emergency arise.

Information provided on this page is taken from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency website for the convenience of our clients. However, only the information provided on www.cbp.gov should be relied upon.

By Air: If you are a United States citizen traveling out of the USA by air, an unexpired Passport is required for everyone, including infants and children.

By Land or Sea: All U.S. citizens who are 16 or older traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), are required to present a valid passport or other alternative documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.  U.S. citizens who are 15 years old or younger are allowed to travel with just a copy of their birth certificate, as will teens between the age of 16-18 if they are part of an adult supervised school, religious, cultural or athletic group.​​