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Travel Abroad of 16 Year Old of Divorced Parents

by Gayle
(Seattle, King County USA)

Question: The mother is the designated custodian of a 16-year-old. Can the 16-year-old get a passport without the father's permission? Can the 16-year-old travel abroad without the father's permission?


All reside in Washington State. The parenting plan says of travel:

"Each parent shall be permitted to travel with the child that is in their primary care within the United States and to Canada without the consent of the other parent. Neither child shall travel to Pakistan so long as the U. S. Department of State has (current) travel warnings for United State Citizens warning against non-essential travel to Pakistan. The parent wishing to travel to Pakistan must also have the written permission of the other parent."

Answer: I will attempt to answer your questions in their order.

Can the 16-year-old get a passport without the father's permission?

If the mother has sole legal custody, then the father's permission in not necessary. If the parents have shared custody, then consent may be necessary.

Notarized parental consent is required from the non-applying parent for minors age 15 and younger. Minors ages 16 and 17 "may be requested to provide written parental consent for a child age 16 or 17 if it is not implied on the application".

The agent who attends to the minor at the time he or she submits the passport application will inform him or her as to whether there is a need to submit a parental consent form or not.

Can the 16-year-old travel abroad without the father's permission?

According to the parenting plan above, the only destination that the minor can travel outside the United States without consent of the non-primary care parent is Canada. This implies that travel to any other destination outside the U.S. must have the consent of the non-primary care parent.

Comments for Travel Abroad of 16 Year Old of Divorced Parents

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Traveling to Aruba
by: Anonymous

Question: I am traveling with my 16-year-old child to Aruba for a one-week vacation . Do I need a written permission from my ex for my child to travel with me?

Answer: Consent is generally not required for minors age 16 and 17. However, we recommend that you contact the airline you are flying with to confirm travel requirements.

16-year-old traveling out of the U.S.
by: Anonymous

Question: My daughter is 16 and traveling alone. I want to know ifI need the father’s permission for her to go outside the U.S. The father is out of the picture and he is not part of her life. There is no communication at all. Do I need his permission?

Answer: The answer depends on the requirements imposed by the destination country on unaccompanied minors. Please contact the embassy of the country your daughter is traveling to to find out.

Parental consent
by: Anonymous

Question: I am wondering. Do I need parental consent if I travel (air) from the U.S to UK? I am 17.

Answer: Please contact the British Embassy about their latest stand on the need for consent for minors traveling without parents or legal guardians.

Travel to Peru
by: Anonymous

Question: I'm planning to travel to Peru on vacation and I want to take my 16 and 17-year-old. Do I need their father's consent since they are traveling with me? We don't know where to find him and I have no idea where to start.

Thank you.

Answer: A consent may not be required since the children are traveling with a parent. Please contact the Embassy of Peru for confirmation.

Traveling to the U.K.
by: Anonymous

Question: I’m about to turn 17 and my birthday gift is to go to the United Kingdom. I will be flying alone to see family and friends in the U.K.. My parents are divorced and they have split custody of me. Do I need consent from both parents or just one?

Answer: Consent is not a requirement but is strongly recommended. Consent from both parents should cover all your bases.

16 YEAR OLD
by: Anonymous

Question: Can a 16 year old travel internationally to Jordan and back with only one parental consent? Will it make a difference if a family relative accompanies the minor? Mother has full custody of the child for past 7 years. Father is not in the picture nor does the child want to be in contact with the father. Please respond, thanks.

Answer: Please contact the Embassy of Jordan regarding consent requirements for minors.

Traveling with 17-year-old
by: Anonymous

Question: Do I need consent from father of a 17-year-old to travel if she has the right to refuse contact with him?

Answer: There should be no need. Please speak to a lawyer regarding legal ramifications.

Sending my son home to his mom
by: Anonymous

Question: I want to send my 16-year-old son to his mom in Brazil. Do I have to travel with him? He has American and Brazilian citizenship. We have joint custody.

Answer: The minor may travel unaccompanied but a statement of consent to travel may be required. Please contact the Embassy of Brazil or the airline your son is traveling with to verify special requirements.

Travel to Spain/Italy
by: Mom of 16-year-old

Question: I am divorced with joint custody of a 16 year-old daughter with my ex-husband. I am planning to take her to Spain and then on a cruise to Italy this summer. Her dad does not travel and constantly threatens that travel outside the U.S. can not happen without his permission, then deliberately refuses to sign consent forms until the last minute. Do I really need written consent now that she is 16 if she has a valid passport and I can prove I am her mother (we have two different last names).

Answer: There is no requirement for parental consent for travel to Schengen countries. Please contact the embassies of Spain and Italy for confirmation.

17 year old traveling with grandparents
by: Anonymous

Question: My 17 year old daughter will be traveling with her grandparents to the Dominican Republic. Her father and I are divorced with shared custody. Can she travel with her grandparents with one parental consent?

Answer: Please contact the Embassy of The Dominican Republic for entry requirements specific to minors not traveling with parents.

Travel
by: Anonymous

Question: I am 16 years old my dad wants me to travel to Italy for vacation with him for a week but my mom won't let him and has no reason for keeping me from seeing him. We don't live in the same country. Do I need her consent to travel with him?

Answer: You may not need your mother's permission since you will be traveling with a parent. Please contact the Embassy of Italy to confirm.

MEX to the US and back to MEX
by: Anonymous

Question: Hi, my daughter is 16 years old. She is an American citizen. We live in Cancun and she will be traveling to the US and back to Mexico with some friends. Do we need to have some kind of written permission to her? She already has her passport renewed.

Answer: The Mexican government have stringent rules for minors traveling without parents or legal guardians. Please provide your child with a statement of consent to travel detailing her trip in case she is asked for one at the border.

Travel with aunt overseas
by: Anonymous

Question: I want to take my nephew on cruise out of the U.K. to US. Parents are in the middle of a bad divorce. Will having a note from his mother with me be enough? She is parent with primary custody.

Answer: Please contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for requirements specific to children arriving by boat from the UK.

Cruise to Bahamas
by: Anonymous

Question: Do I need a consent from the father if I have sole custody of my 17-year-old daughter to take a cruise to the Bahamas?

Answer: Consent is not required but recommended in case questions arise.

Traveling to Turks and Caicos Island
by: Anonymous

Question: I am traveling to Turks with my 17-year-old daughter. Her father and I are divorced but she live with me; we have joint custody. Can I travel to this island without a consent? Her father lives overseas so its hard for me to get a consent letter.

Answer: There will be no need for a consent.

Travel to the Philippines
by: Gina B

Question: I want to take my daughter to the Philippines. She is 16 years old and I have joint custody -- I'm the primary custodian. Do I need consent from her father if she already has her passport?

Answer: Hello, Gina. We deleted your last name for security reasons. Your daughter may travel to the Philippines without issue as long as her passport meets the requirements. Since she will be traveling with a parent, she does not need any additional documentation.

We recommend that you contact the Philippine Embassy for the latest travel requirements for U.S. citizens.

Travel to Mexico, mom has primary custody
by: Anonymous

Question: I want to take my 16-year-old daughter to Mexico for a week to help her get extra credit in high school for Spanish and a family trip. I, the mom, have custody of her. Do we need her dad's permission? He has been estranged for over 3.5 years with no contact, visit, etc. I am not even sure how to find or get a hold of him. He abandoned her back then by never ever making any contact.

Answer: There is no need to get the father's consent since the child will be traveling with a parent.

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