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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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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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