Traveling Abroad with Your Children: Legal Aspects

When vacation time arrives, we get to plan all kinds of exciting trips with our children. Although, what happens when we travel abroad with our children and need authorization? Here are some legal implications you need to know.
Traveling Abroad with Your Children: Legal Aspects

Last update: 17 May, 2021

Traveling abroad with your children is a great adventure that requires a lot of planning. Since we focus on plane tickets, accommodation, itinerary, and places to visit, we might forget essential things such as legal documents.

Legal paperwork is a fundamental aspect that shouldn’t be left aside because otherwise, it could ruin your vacation. Accordingly, there are some documents that are necessary if you’re planning to leave the country with a minor.

However, there are different factors we must consider, such as if children are traveling with their parents or not. Besides, depending on your destination, there are certain countries that require a visa.

As we mentioned before, when traveling abroad with your children, you must think about the personal and legal documents you’ll need. It’ll all depend on the destination you choose. If you’re from a country that belongs to the European Union (EU) and you’re planning to travel to another country from the EU, your children only need their identity documents. However, if you’re traveling outside the EU, you’ll each need passports.

Children holding their bags.

Furthermore, it’s important to check each country’s requirements, such as visas or vaccines. And, it’s also important to bear in mind that, by traveling with minors, you may encounter specific restrictions.

Police from each country pay special attention to the safety of minors. It doesn’t matter if they travel alone or with an adult. It’s a preventive measure to avoid child abduction or even human trafficking.

Thus, authorities check the documents of adults that accompany children to verify if they’re their parents or legal guardians. This is a very important measure for the safety of minors.

Children traveling alone

What happens when children travel alone, with only one parent or with their legal guardian? There’s important information you need to know.

When minors travel abroad unaccompanied, they must have authorization from the adults that have legal custody. These are usually the parents. Border guards may perform an inspection to verify they’re not leaving the country without their guardians’ authorization and permission.

If children travel with an adult that isn’t one of their parents, they may need legal authorization from a police station. The authorization must include permission from the guardian that’ll allow the adult to take care of the child. It must also include the guardian’s ID.

On the other hand, if the minors are traveling with only one of the parents, the authorities may ask for the other parent’s authorization. This paperwork must also be arranged in a police station, too.

Girl prepared to travel.

What happens in the case of divorced parents?

Divorced parents normally share school vacations and divide the time they can spend with their children. Thus, each one plans a series of activities that may include traveling abroad. Sometimes, this might cause conflict.

When divorced parents decide to travel abroad during vacations, many questions arise. Is it necessary to ask for an authorization from the other parent to travel abroad? What happens if the other parent doesn’t allow them to go?

In Spain, for instance, it’s not necessary since it relates to the legal time that the parent gets to spend with their child. And, the destination isn’t an important issue for that matter either. So, in this case, it’s not necessary to ask for authorization to travel abroad with your children.

On the other hand, the situation changes if there’s an order issued to prohibit children from leaving the country. In this case, authorization is absolutely essential. However, it’s always better to have the authorization, in case authorities ask for it at the border or at the airport.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.