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3 Tips For Notarizing Travel Documents For Minors

travel-child-resized.jpgUpdated 3-25-19. With summer and family vacations just around the corner, many Notaries can expect requests to notarize permission forms for children traveling abroad. Here's what you need to know about these forms. 

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), if a child is traveling abroad with one parent, the other parent must supply a letter granting permission. If the child is traveling with an adult other than her parents, both parents must provide written permission.

The agency strongly recommends that the permission form be notarized. While the U.S. customs officials do not always ask for this documentation, many countries do, and the “failure to produce notarized permission letters” could result in being denied entry.

When asked to notarize permission forms for summer travel with children, remember these tips:

1. Follow State Requirements.

A parent who needs their signature notarized must personally appear before you. Many parents aren’t familiar with notarial rules and procedures, and may ask you to notarize an absent spouse’s signature, not realizing it’s against the law. As always, follow all the other requirements for a proper notarization in your state. For example, if a permission form requires either an acknowledgment or a jurat in California, the signer must provide satisfactory proof of identity to the Notary because personal knowledge cannot be used to identify signers in California. In Florida, the Notary may not be able to perform the notarization if the person signing is a family member, because Florida Notaries cannot notarize the signatures of their spouses, parents or children. In Texas, in order to notarize a minor's signature, the signer must be identified through 1 of 3 methods: A) The minor signer is personally known to the Notary; B) The minor signer can be identified by a credible witness personally known to the Notary or C)The minor signer must present a form of ID issued by the federal or a state government that includes the minor signer's photograph and signature. 

2. Don't Give Advice.

Requirements for a child’s permission letter may vary depending on the destination and the rules of the airline or cruise ship line. As a Notary, you cannot give legal advice regarding the contents of a permission letter or how a document must be completed. If the signer has questions, they will need to contact the company or agency requiring the document for further instructions. 

3. Be Patient.

International travelers often rush and panic at the last minute to make sure the necessary paperwork is in order prior to imminent departure. Parents who need notarized permission for a child to travel at the last minute may get flustered if their signatures cannot be notarized due to lack of acceptable ID or another issue.  

When these summer travel crises crop up, remain calm and courteous and explain that you can’t notarize without the signer’s personal appearance. Offer to reschedule so that the signer can appear before you with paperwork in order to complete the notarization properly.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

 

 

 

65 Comments

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Cheryl Casebolt

27 Apr 2015

I do not know what you mean by #2. It should be the parent's responsibility to know what is required for the ship or plane or other country, not the notary's.

Anna C Maya

27 Apr 2015

I have done this notarizations before and now with this information I feel more knowledgeable, thanks for the great information.

Giulliano

27 Apr 2015

So pretty much your providing an acknowledgement or those that specific document have an area where you place your seal.

Elizabeth Viana

27 Apr 2015

If a parent presents a permission to travel with minor letter mentioning the other spouse gives permission (and was signed by the other spouse), and the parent presenting the letter signs the letter, is notarization for both signatures required?

National Notary Association

27 Apr 2015

Hello Elizabeth. Different organizations may have different requirements for travel permission documents. The parents should contact the agency asking for the permission document (for example, if the child is flying they should contact the airline) to find out any requirements.

tblevins@classicalacademy.com

27 Apr 2015

For California, you would use an acknowledgement right? Not a jurat for this type?

National Notary Association

27 Apr 2015

Nonattorney Notaries may not choose what type of notarial act is required for a document on behalf of a signer, as this would be unauthorized practice of law. You would perform whatever notarial act is requested by the signer or follow the instructions provided by the issuing agency or another appropriate source.

Cheryl

27 Apr 2015

I have done at least 3 of these and each time both parents were present and brought the form required. It was pretty straight-forward and easy.

Deborah Jones

27 Apr 2015

What are Washington State requirements?

National Notary Association

28 Apr 2015

Hello Deborah. As stated above, requirements for a child’s permission letter may vary depending on the destination and the rules of the airline or cruise ship line on which the child is traveling. They are normally not set by the state.

Rocio Velinov

27 Apr 2015

Great information. The protection of a child specially now days is extremely important.

Patricia

27 Apr 2015

I am a very new Notary. And I appreciate these tips a Lot! Thank you

JanaiPresident@gmail.com

31 May 2015

The statement of consent form I have seen downloaded from the source lately doesn't not have the 'notary does not verify validity' statement that has been added for California in Jan. of 2015. Is this valid? Do I need to attach a separate form? Or should this statement be on the document.?

National Notary Association

01 Jun 2015

Hello. If the document is being notarized in the state of California, and includes a signature that requires an acknowledgment, jurat or proof of execution, then the new statutory wording must be included with the notarial certificate. The only exception would be for an acknowledgment on a document being filed out of state. CC 1189[c] states: “On documents to be filed in another state or jurisdiction of the United States, a California notary public may complete any acknowledgment form as may be required in that other state or jurisdiction on a document, provided the form does not require the notary to determine or certify that the signer holds a particular representative capacity or to make other determinations and certifications not allowed by California law.” Please note that a California Notary must still follow all CA notarial laws if completing an out-of-state acknowledgment form as described above. For example, a signer must still present satisfactory evidence of identity that meets CA statutory requirements in order to have his or her signature notarized.

Evelyn Oseguera

02 Jun 2015

If they type a letter and have the correct wording for an acknowledgment, we no longer have to attach any other loose certificate correct?

National Notary Association

04 Jun 2015

Hello. No, if a signer requests a notarial act and the document already has the correct certificate wording pre-printed and ready for your use, there's no need to attach a loose certificate.

Mike

09 Jun 2015

You don't decide whether an ack or jurat is used, the client chooses. As far as knowing the law, the passport agency expects the notary to use their form even though it is not up to state compliance. Talking about California. They asked the client what was this ack that I filled out for them since the wording wasn't correct.

Jack Crawford

09 Jun 2015

I see these Permission to Travel documents on a regular basis. Some have Jurat wording, some have Acklowledgement wording, some have no notarial wording and some have no document. Jurat wording is easy. Either it has the precise California wording or it doesn't. If not I use an attachment. For Acknowledgement wording I use the same standard. Even if the trip is a Carribean cruise out of Florida they're still going to have to get out of California somehow so there is a good chance it will have to be used in California. If there's no notarial wording or no document at all, I explain the differences between Jurat and Acknowledgement, suggest they contact the airline or agency that requires the notarized document for guidance or make the decision themselves.

Laurie Goldstein

09 Jun 2015

To clarify, if a parent brings in the letter for a notary seal and the pre-printed wording is not on the page, we cannot suggest a loose certificate because that would be unauthorized practice of law so we would need them to come back with the proper format?

National Notary Association

09 Jun 2015

You may describe the different types of notarial acts (for example, acknowledgment vs. jurat) and let the signer choose which one the signer wants. Once the signer instructs you what type of act is needed, you may attach the appropriate wording. However, you may not choose the certificate on the signer's behalf. If the signer does not know what act he or she needs, the signer will need to contact the issuing or receiving agency for instructions.

Manuel Garcia

17 Jun 2015

They are flexible when traveling inside the US territory but if they are traveling international then the security measures are higher when traveling with a minor. Usually I request to have both parents addresses and phone numbers if divorced or separated and the other parent's info who is not traveling. This will prevent many issues that may arise when presenting to authorities. Also, make sure the child ID is written on document such as passport number and full name of child to make sure it identifies the minor and the traveling dates are a good plus.

Ana

02 Jul 2015

Do both parents need to be present at the same time? Can one parent notarize his signature and the other one do the same at a later date?

National Notary Association

07 Jul 2015

Hello. Those questions depend on the requirements of the individual agency requesting the permission document. You would need to contact the agency for instructions in this regard.

Renee

28 Jul 2015

Wow! I just call to do this yesterday. It made me chuckle because the child was 2 months old and the photo was hysterical. The parents were very organized and that made the signing all that better.

Tonia

22 Nov 2015

My husband needs to sign a consent form for his minor daughter to renew her passport. There is an oath on the form that states the notary is not affiliated with the parent signing, however, I am a notary in the state of Colorado and Colorado law states I can notarize it for him. So can I or can I not notarize this for him? It does not directly affect me. Thanks

National Notary Association

23 Nov 2015

Hello Tonia. Even if your state permits notarizing for relatives or spouses, if the document has instructions that specifically state the Notary must not be affiliated with the signer, then it is better to err on the side of caution and have an unrelated Notary perform the notarization.

Tamara Shatar

02 May 2016

If the parent of the minor has sole custody does the non-custodial parent need to give permission, in the state of California?

National Notary Association

03 May 2016

Hello. As mentioned previously, travel form requirements for minors vary depending on the destination and the agency requesting the permission form. Notaries cannot advise signers on travel form requirements for minors-the parent would need to contact the agency requesting the permission form to answer any questions regarding permission requirements.

Irene Ogus

02 May 2016

What about a single parent who became pregnant with a donor who is unknown ?

National Notary Association

02 May 2016

Hello. Requirements for a child’s permission letter may vary depending on the destination and the rules of the agency requesting the permission form. As a Notary, you cannot give legal advice regarding the contents of a permission letter or how a document must be completed. If the signer has questions, they will need to contact the company or agency requiring the document for further instructions.

HANIF THAKOR

02 May 2016

How or where can I get the minor travel permission form? Please let me know! thank you!

National Notary Association

02 May 2016

Hello. Requirements for individual notarized travel permission forms may vary depending on the destination and the organization asking for the form. A signer who needs such a form should contact the organization requsting the form for instructions as to what information must be included-a Notary cannot advise a signer on travel permission form requirements.

Margie

02 May 2016

What if the parent states they have full custody? Or the other parent is not in the childs life? Do I have to verify this?

National Notary Association

02 May 2016

Hello. When notarizing a travel permission document, the Notary needs to follow all normal requirements for notarization under state law. If the signer has other questions or concerns regarding requirements for a travel permission form for a minor, the signer will need to contact the company or agency requiring the document for further instructions. A Notary cannot advise a signer regarding a permission form's requirements-such requirements can vary greatly depending on the travel destination and organization asking for the permission form.

Andrea Estrada

02 May 2016

If the custodial parent has a notarized form to take out a passport for a minor child, do they still have to provide a notarized permission letter from the non-custodial parent granting permission for travel?

National Notary Association

02 May 2016

Hi Andrea, The signer would need to contact the organization requesting the permission form to find out this information.

Mindy

02 May 2016

thanks for the information, had not heard of this before, and feel more confident if it comes about

John Marquez

02 May 2016

What if they are a single parent allowing a relative to travel with a minor?

National Notary Association

03 May 2016

Hello. If there are questions regarding the requirements for a travel permission form, the signer should contact the agency requesting the form for instructions. Notaries cannot advise signers regarding the requirements for a minor's travel permission document.

J.R.

03 May 2016

Yes. That's pretty much what it says there in plain type. The parent must contact the transportation provider to find out what regulations apply....not the Notary.

Shelis Thomas

03 May 2016

I've encountered a situation where one parent is incarcerated. The mother did have him to write a permission letter, but is there another way to get through situation like this?

National Notary Association

03 May 2016

Hello. As mentioned previously, Notaries can't advise signers regarding what type of permission form is acceptable. If there is an issue with the father's status, the mother would need to contact the agency requesting the permission form for instructions.

Rosa Saldarriaga

05 May 2016

I would like to know if in a travel authorization letter it is really necessary to mention the number of the passports of the parents, and children.

National Notary Association

05 May 2016

Hello. As mentioned previously, requirements for travel permission documents vary depending on the destination and agency requesting the documents. Notaries may not advise signers regarding the requirements for travel permission forms for minors - if someone has questions, they should contact the agency requesting the permission form for more information on specific requirements.

Cesca

25 Jul 2016

I have a question i wanna travel to peru with my 1 year old twins but their father who left me 2 months ago don't wanna go and get their passport with me just because he wants to bother me . How can i get my babies passport?

National Notary Association

26 Jul 2016

Hello. The information on this website may be helpful to you: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/under-16.html

Viana Romano

08 Nov 2016

Hello! When dealing with this type of document, do both parent need to sign the journal? Thank you!

National Notary Association

09 Nov 2016

Hello. It would depend on the requirements of the document and your state's journal rules. To help us provide a more specific answer, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Sandra

16 Nov 2016

Can I notarize a letter of consent 3 months prior the trip? And as of now I know the month we are leaving but not the exact day cam i just put the month and year on the letter? Communication witht rhe other parent is difficult and i wont be able to get it done closer to the date

National Notary Association

17 Nov 2016

Hello. You should contact the agency you are submitting the letter to and ask them if this would be acceptable to them.

Nicole in CA

16 Feb 2017

If the wording is not correct on the passport statement of consent, will they accept my attachment of an acknowledgment? I don't want the one parent to be denied when applying for a passport.

Amy Pence-Lanctot

24 Apr 2017

I just had an acknowledgement for a man who was giving permission for his wife to take their daughter to China. The first paragraph was in Chinese and had his signature printed in Chinese alphabet. The second part was the translation with his signature printed in English. What would you have done? His ID was a current US driver's license.

National Notary Association

25 Apr 2017

Hi Amy. This article may be helpful to you: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/09/questions-for-foreign-language-issues

Jose Rafael Molleja S

05 May 2017

Hello the airline only requires a notarized document where I authorize my son to travel alone to Venezuela .. he is Venezuelan .. my question that I must do and how you can help me to do it Thank you

National Notary Association

10 May 2017

Hello. You would need to ask the airline what type of notarization they require-for example, an acknowledgment of a signature or a jurat which requires a oath or affirmation taken before the Notary. Once the airline has told you what type of notarization is required, you can bring the document to a Notary and ask them to perform the appropriate notarization. Any other questions regarding preparation and requirements for the document would have to be answered by the airline.

Susan

06 Jul 2017

Thank you for this information. I'm a new Notary

Mizue

02 Apr 2018

I have a question. I need to prepare for parent consent form of traveling minor. My daughter travels with her dance coach to another country. My husband lives in CA, I lives in NY, and the daughter lives with me. Each of us would prepare a consent form and notarized. But, in California, he needs to choose between Jurat or acknowledgement. Which one is appropriate for a parent consent for traveling?

National Notary Association

03 Apr 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but that would depend on the requirements of the agency requesting the permission form. You would need to contact the agency directly and ask what type of notarization they require for the document.

sholthouse@yahoo.com

31 May 2018

I have a parent asking me to notarize two documents for their child to be able to travel to India with them to visit grandparents. Both parents have signed the documents and the instructions from the Indian consulate is to have both forms notarized. Does this mean that both parents have to have their signatures notarized or is one sufficient. I am in California. Thank you.

National Notary Association

31 May 2018

Hello. The parents would need to contact the consulate to ask if both their signatures require notarization.

Dale Wilmot

01 Apr 2019

I have a question. The article states that a Florida Notary can not notarize for a sibling. Is this a recent change to Florida Notary law? Florida Statue 117.107, paragraph 11 states that a Florida Notary may not notarize for a spouse, son, daughter, mother, or father. It does not list siblings. I have notarized documents for my sister in the past and would like to know if this is now prohibited.

National Notary Association

01 Apr 2019

Hi Dale. You are correct and we have removed the sibling reference from the Florida information. Thanks for bringing that to our attention.

Alma Rosales

30 Apr 2019

This is my first request for this..I have a parent asking for a letter to notarize for his child to travel out of the country with its mother. He writes up his own letter and we notarize and attach notary certiifate?

National Notary Association

30 Apr 2019

Hello. As a Notary, you are not permitted to provide instructions on how to prepare a document for a signer. The parent would need to contact the agency requesting the letter to ask for instructions and what type of notarization it requires.

Lucas Harper

15 May 2019

I am enjoying reading this nice article. This content is very useful. I am loving it.

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