January 21, 2008

A baby traveling with only one parent across an international border

These days, it is important to be prepared if you are going to cross an international border (including Canada) with a baby and only one parent. Whether you are a single parent, parent with custody or without, grandparents, or if you are a two parent family but your spouse is not with you- you need to be ready for questions from immigration. To help fight child abductions, customs in many countries are cracking down. To be honest, I have flown to 9 different countries with our daughter (and without my husband) and have not yet been questioned- but I do believe it is very important to be prepared when it does come up. It is simple to be prepared, just have the following paperwork with you:

1) Proper I.D.'s for you and your child. This is obvious, (and there is another post below on how to apply for a baby passport) but keep copies of both of your passports in case you lose one. I have scanned our passports and emailed them to myself so I can print them out from any computer anywhere in the world.

2) A notarized letter from the other parent (or both parents if grandparents are traveling with the children) giving permission for the other to take the child out of the country. It doesn't have to be too formal or lengthy- just something that says: "I, John Smith, father of Baby Smith, do hereby give full permission for my wife, Jane Smith, to travel to Canada with Baby Smith for two weeks from August 15- August 30, 2008. If you should have any questions, please contact me at email XXXX or mobile phone XXXX. " Then just head down to your local Mailboxes Etc. or other closest notary and get it notarized. You can put more information, if you would like, on the letter explaining why you are going but it is not necessary to write something too detailed.

3) Full itinerary and contact info for everywhere you are going. Put it on a spreadsheet or document so you don't have to carry too much paperwork (and email it to yourself in case you lose your copy)

This should take care of traveling internationally with only one parent. Not being prepared can lead to a domino nightmare effect- for example- being stuck in customs and missing a connecting flight which then makes you miss your cruise, etc.

If you have questions or thoughts on traveling internationally with a baby and only one parent- send us a comment or email babyjetsetter@gmail.com

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