Consortium for International Education & Multicultural Studies
Children, Minors, Teenagers Traveling Abroad
In addition to a passport, an unaccompanied minor must carry a parental permission slip authorizing travel abroad alone. Several copies should be made of the permission slip, and the copies should be kept in separate but safe places. The minor should carry one of the copies of them at all times as part of their travel documents.
The permission slip should be signed by both parents and, if traveling to Mexico, notarized. If the minor is from a one-parent household, a call to the proper country consulate office may be a good idea. In the case of death or divorce, a substantiating document might also have to be carried along (copy of death certificate, legal guardianship, or divorce papers). A letter signed by either parent specifying who will be meeting the minor at the foreign airport (sometimes an airline requirement) may also be needed.
It is the minor's responsibility, and that of the parents, to make sure correct and proper travel documents have been secured prior to traveling abroad. Some documents may result in additional cost.
If an adult is traveling abroad with children other than their own, they should seek out proper documentation from the minor's parents stating that the adult in question has permission from the parents to travel abroad with the minor and make life and death decisions on their behalf. Again, the document should be properly signed and notarized; copied several times with the copies kept separate in safe places; and one copy carried with you at all times as part of your travel documents.
Penalties regarding minors consuming alcohol or trafficking in drugs carry stiff penalties abroad. Do some additional research on this subject as it pertains to the country you're visiting.
Minors traveling abroad, either accompanied or unaccompanied, should be mature, down-to-earth, sensible young adults who can be trusted and depended on to do the right thing.
Teens and young adults who exhibit social problems and do not adjust well should not travel abroad. The problems exhibited at home may be magnified abroad, will be far harder to deal with over long distances, and may turn out to be very costly. Exercise good judgment.