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Important documents for traveling with children

I come from a family that likes to travel a lot during the holiday seasons. As the years have gone by, traveling has become more of an ordeal than a luxury with the added security and airlines charging an arm and leg for carry-on or checked bags. The lines have gotten longer, and this alone can give anyone the feeling of anxiety, and I can’t imagine what that mix is like when you add kids. We have put together a few helpful tips for domestic and international travel to make the adventure a little less stressful.

Domestic Traveling

Traveling with children can be a stressful event, and with the added security that is in place recently, you can never be over-prepared. If you are traveling with your children and they are under the age of 18, there is not any added paperwork needed. However, if you are traveling with a child that is not related to you or if your child is traveling with someone other than you, you may consider having a Power of Attorney for a child. With this document, another person will have legal authority for health, medical and other major decisions, with certain limitations, when you’re absent. A Power of Attorney is only temporary, and most states limit the timeframe to no more than six months. The information that will be needed to fill out the Power of Attorney are:

  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of parents or guardians that are signing the Power of Attorney for Child.
  • Names and addresses of those who will be taking care of the child
  • Name and date of birth for each child being covered by this Power of Attorney for Child.
  • Specify when the caretaker’s authority will begin. This is when the temporary authority will become effective.
  • Include each Parent’s contact information where they can be reached while Power of Attorney for Child is in effect.

International Traveling

If you are traveling internationally, in addition to having a Power of Attorney, you will also want to make sure that you have an updated passport the child and yourself. To travel domestically, a child does not need any identification if they are under the age of 18 but to travel internationally, they will need a passport regardless of their age, or relation to the caretaker. Security may question the child to verify their identity or make sure that travel documents are accurate. Keep in mind that that the authorities are trying to prevent child abduction and not offend anyone.

Getting a Passport

Getting a passport for a minor is going to require a little more work and patience than getting one for an adult. There have been new regulations set in place to help stop child abduction and trafficking. To apply for the passport, there are a few things that are needed:

  • The child needs to be present with both parents
  • You will need to complete the Form DS-11 (this can be done in person or online)
  • You will also need to present some supporting documents
  • Child’s evidence of U.S. citizenship
  • Photo ID of parents/guardians or child
  • Photocopy of identification documents
  • One passport photo
  • Evidence of U.S. Citizenship for parents
  • Evidence of Parental Relationship

After you have submitted all documentation needed, you will need to visit an application acceptance facility. You can check out U.S. Passports and International Travel for more information regarding getting a passport for a minor.

You should be excited about your actual travels and not stressed about what you have forgotten. Getting the appropriate documents in place and ready to go, it will be one less thing that you will have to stress. If you have any questions regarding traveling with children, it may be helpful to ask an attorney about the law in your state.

We hope that you have a fun and safe trip wherever you are going this season.

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