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Travel Documents For Children

The best place to find out this information is the official government of the country you are travelling too. Your own country may have a travel guidance website too. We’ve included, the U.S.A, U.K, Australia, South Africa and Canada official websites as a helpful starting point for you plus some useful tips.

Do children need ID to fly?

Travel documents and entry requirements do vary from country to country but most importantly, if you are flying internationally a passport is needed for everyone travelling, including baby.

Some countries do have restrictions if you are pregnant – for example non-national pregnant women flying to Malaysia.

Some countries require at least 6 months remaining on your passport. Always check what visas you need too!

What else do I need?

In some countries, like South Africa, even if you are travelling with both parents, you require the child’s full birth certificate, and further documentation if you are flying without one of the parents.

It’s a good idea to take along a copy of your child’s birth certificate, and if travelling solo consider bringing  a letter from your partner acknowledging they are aware of you travelling.

If neither parent or legal guardian is travelling with your children, then usually a form of written consent is a requirement from the parents.

Below are some countries regulations for travel documents. Do always check with your local government for any updated travel advice and country specific requirements before you book. Make sure you take clear passport photos too


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Australia

Domestic travel – If children do not have their own passport, then the accompanying adult must write the full name of the child on the reverse of the adult’s boarding pass, so that the minor can be linked to the accompanying adult and their identification.

International – A valid passport is required for all ages.

More information from Australian Border Force website


Canada

Domestic travel -For travellers younger than 18, no passport is required. However, it is recommended that children carry an original birth certificate or non-government issued ID, e.g. a student card.

Travel to/from USA  All passengers, including minors (children under 18) are required to present a valid passport or other valid travel document such as a Nexus card when travelling by air between Canada and the United States.

International – Some countries require one or more of the following documents when travelling with a child:

  • The child’s birth certificate showing the names of both parents.
  • Any legal documents (e.g. court order or letter of special circumstances) pertaining to custody.
  • parental consent letter or affidavit authorizing travel (if the child is travelling with one parent, the letter must be signed and dated by the other parent; if the child is travelling without his parents, the letter must be signed and dated by both parents.)
  • death certificate if one of the parents is deceased

South Africa

Where parent/s are travelling with a child – the parent/s must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child (certified copies are acceptable).

And if both parents are not travelling, show consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent, or a court order, or (where applicable) a death certificate for a deceased parent.

– Where a person is travelling with a child who is not their biological child – he/she must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child (certified copies are acceptable), affidavit from the child’s parents or legal guardian giving consent and copies of the identity documents or passport of the parents or legal guardian.

– Unaccompanied minors – must produce

(i) consent for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa, in the form of a letter or affidavit from one or both parents or legal guardian (if only one parent then also a court order under which he/she has full parental responsibilities);

(ii) a letter from the person who is to receive the child in South Africa, containing his or her residential address and contact details in South Africa where the child will be residing;

(iii) a certified copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in South Africa; and

(iv) the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child. For update information, as these regulations re due to be modified, please visit the South African Department of Home Affairs site.


UK

Domestic flights – Children under the age of 16 do not need to show ID on domestic routes. The adult they are travelling with can vouch for the infant’s/child’s identification, providing the relevant photo ID is shown (by the adult)

If the child is traveling unaccompanied and aged between 12-16 years, they will be required to produce photographic ID. For UK

When travelling with an infant on a domestic route, it’s a good idea to bring either a birth certificate or passport to prove date of birth.

International -A valid passport is required for all ages.


USA

Domestic flights–  No ID or documentation needs to be shown for children under the age of 18 on a domestic flight, unless they are under 14 days old – (in which case a Doctors letter is required)

OR if they are travelling as a lap child

ID may be asked for if the infants age is questionable. In this instance proof of age such as a passport, birth certificate (photo or digital copies are allowed) or an immunization record are permitted.

If a child is travelling as an unaccompanied minor, the adult dropping and picking them up will need photo ID, but the child does not.

International – A valid passport is required for all ages.

If you are flying from overseas, you may be eligible for a visa Waiver. If eligible, EVERY person, including babies need one. Be wary of sites which charge a premium for sorting this for you. The official USA government site to apply for a USA ESTA is by the Homeland Security and currently has the Statue of Liberty on its cover page.


Travelling tips with minors

Preparation and Planning

  • Having a detailed itinerary outlining all activities you wish to do or places to see will help you make the most out of your trip.
  • Don’t forget to purchase comprehensive travel insurance to safeguard your trip against unforeseen circumstances.
  • Have your airline tickets booked well in advance to secure your seats, especially if you want to travel with a car seat or require a bassinet.
  • Confirm your accommodation arrangements by making a hotel reservation prior to your journey.
  • Research and obtain all travel authorization documents like visa required to enter your holiday destination country.
  • If you have questions about what’s required from you, websites like IATA will help you check the up-to-date travel documents requirements for your holiday destination country.
  • Keep your travel documents holder in your handbag or backpack for easy access.
  • Utilize a travel organizer of some sort to keep track of reservations, tickets, and other essential items. I have a checklist I tick against as I pack our travel bag.

Traveling with Minors

  • When traveling with minors, it’s advisable to carry a consent letter signed by the guardians in your travel wallet. Its not all countries that will request this travel consent but I know that South Africa requires a consent letter from parents or legal guardian.
  • If applicable, ensure you have the necessary documentation regarding custody arrangements when traveling with minors.

Safety and Security

  • Keep a list of emergency contacts handy, including family members, friends, and local authorities.
  • Attach a durable luggage tag to your travel bags to easily identify them during travel.
  • Ensure that all travelers have valid passports with sufficient validity before embarking on your journey.
  • Carry a valid driver’s license if you plan to rent a vehicle or require identification during your travels.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of nearby physicians or medical services in case of emergencies.

 A useful link to check the up-to-date travel documents requirements is on the IATA page . IATA is an official airline site.

Passport Photos for Children

For tips on how to take a baby passport photo see here.

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aldi

Saturday 4th of December 2021

hi if someone can help me with a response. My baby is 6 months old and she born in Uk and she has birth certificate in Uk and i have pree-settled status that is like a visa for 5 years so uk resident. Can i travel to Albania with my baby with birth certificate, also baby has albania passport as well ? i want to know if i will have problems when i will be back in Uk?

Monday 20th of December 2021

@aldi, Please check official entry requirements. If you are resident of UK then the Uk gov site can help . https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/albania

Alina adil

Sunday 27th of October 2019

hi

Hi gave born in uk but want to go back to germany can my infant travel with birth certificate back to germany

Monday 18th of February 2019

Hi. Pwede po bang magamit ang immunization record as id of my baby? . Kasi wla pa pong birth certificate yung baby ko na 1 year and 6 months. Domestic flight lang po tnx.

CarrieB

Monday 18th of February 2019

Hi- I am so sorry- I only speak English. I recognise the word immunisation record - its always best to check with your doctor.

Melina bridget

Friday 28th of December 2018

I can understand your position I got a Chinese baby as well but am asking for the same question

Laura

Saturday 18th of August 2018

Hi, my name is Laura and I want to know what I need to travel from Uk to Italy for my baby. he is born in the UK but is a Romanian citizen and has a Roman passport. Do I need a document signed by my husband that he agrees to take the baby?

CarrieB

Sunday 19th of August 2018

Hello, I would always check with the embassy first. However, if you are travelling without your partner, then its always good to have a signed letter giving permission which is stamped by a solicitor. Also take a copy of the children's birth certificates too

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