Children travelling overseas with only one parent or by themselves often require a Parental Consent form to enter a country. This means that while your child may be able to leave Australia freely (unless they are on the Australian Federal Police (AFP) airport watch list), entering another country may not be as easy. The reason is that some countries take a stricter approach in order to help prevent international child abduction.
A Parental Consent form is required to be signed by the parent/s or guardian/s who will not be travelling with the child overseas. It confirms that the child’s travel plans are agreed to, and that it is known that the child will be travelling with the other parent or a third party adult like a grandparent, aunt or uncle.
Even though consent forms may be different for each country, all forms will contain information about the child and the adult travelling with them. This includes the name and passport number of the child and adult. The adult’s local identity card number and/or that the adult is the authorised guardian of the child is also sometimes included on the consent form.
To be valid overseas, a Parental Consent form is required to be signed before a Notary Public. This means the Consent form will to be signed by the non-travelling parent/s or guardian/s in front of the Notary.
Sometimes the Parental Consent form will also need to be authenticated and legalised in order to be considered a legal document in the country where to the child will be travelling.
It is also important to check whether contents and layout of the Consent form are acceptable to the other country’s border protection authorities. Local foreign offices such as Consulates and Embassies can provide information on acceptable Parental Consent forms and the processes that need to be followed to make these forms legally recognised in their country.