Travelling with children is always memorable; it’s a chance to embrace new cultures, explore what the world has to offer and deepen your bond with them. If you are travelling as a single/solo parent or are taking a child abroad without their parent/guardian, in addition to the child’s passport and visa, you will need to ensure you have the following documents and/or permissions.

I Have Joint Parental Responsibility, Can I Take My Child Abroad?

Firstly, you must ensure you have written permission from anyone with parental responsibility to take your child out of the country. You will need a letter signed by them which states you have permission to take the child abroad, the other parent/guardians contact details and details of the trip. This may need to be shown at the UK border and/or once you land in the country you are travelling to.

If your family name is different from your child’s, it is a good idea to take your marriage or divorce certificate or your child’s birth certificate.

If you are unable to get permission from the other parent/guardian you can apply to court. More information on this can be found on the Government website.

I Have Full Parental Responsibility, Can I Take My Child Abroad?

Under UK law, if you are the child’s mother you automatically have parental responsibility. If there is no one else with parental responsibility it is advised you take the child’s birth certificate with you, particularly if you and your child do not share the same family name. If you are not the child’s mother but have been granted full parental responsibility you will need to be able to show evidence of this.

You may be asked to show evidence of your relationship to the child and your parental responsibility at the UK border or when you arrive in the country you are travelling to.

If you are in contact with the child’s other parent/guardian, even if they do not have parental responsibility, it may be a good idea to have a letter of permission with you – but this is not a legal requirement.

Do I Always Need Permission To Take My Child Abroad?

 You do not need permission from the child’s parent/guardian if you have full custody of the child. But, you will need to provide evidence of this.

If the child lives with you and you have a Child Arrangement Order, you can take them abroad for 28 days without permission, unless it is specifically stated by the court order that you can’t.

I Am Taking A Child Abroad, But I Am Not The Parent/Guardian, What Documents Do I Need?

It is not uncommon for a child to travel abroad with a family member or friend. However if you are taking a child abroad that you do not have parental responsibility for, you will need to ensure you have written permission from anyone that does have parental responsibility. This should include the child’s details, the parent/guardians contact details, the trip details and confirmation that they are happy for the child to travel abroad with you.

What Documents Does a Child Need to Travel Abroad?

All children must have a valid passport to be able to travel abroad. A child’s passport is valid for five years and you should check the expiry date meets the entry requirements for the country you are travelling to. For example, the passport may need to be valid for an additional three or six months from the day you leave the country.

Although not all countries will request a child to have their own visa, it is important to check.

If vaccinations are required for the country you are travelling to, you may need to show evidence that the child has had the relevant vaccines. For more information on vaccinations, please visit our friends over at Travel Health Pro.

What Happens If I Don’t Have The Correct Documents for Travel?

Arriving without all the required documents could mean you are refused entry to the country you are travelling to and will need to return home. If there are suspicions as to why you are travelling, you may be detained by border security. Please note, according to the UK Government website, taking a child abroad without permission is classed as child abduction.

It is important you check what age is classed as a child for the country you are travelling to.

Travel insurance will not assist with, or reimburse any costs associated with being denied entry to a country for not having the correct documentation.


If you have any travel insurance questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch at and a member of the team will gladly help.

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