When children travel to the U.S. with one parent or an adult, what documents should they bring?

Hello, I’m Vaughan de Kirby. I’m an investment immigration lawyer here in San Francisco. Today we’re going to address a problem that happens with parents. It’s very important. If your child is traveling with one parent, or another adult, they’re going to need more than merely a visa. The Department of Homeland Security is very concerned about child trafficking and disputes for custody that parents may experience. Therefore, they’re going to ask you to have a letter that authorizes either one parent or another adult to be traveling with the child. You should know that they’re not always going to ask for this. It seems to be a rather inconsistent policy, but it’s something you should always have when your child is travelling.

Now the Department of Homeland Security has not given us a template or a form to fill out, but they have indicated the basic information that they want to see in the letter. They are going to want to know who is traveling, so that means your child’s name, your child’s date of birth, their passport number and the other who, who is the adult they will be traveling with. Then they’re going to want to know when the travel is going to take place, and the arrival dates and when they’re returning to their home country. They’re going to want to know where the child is going to be staying while they’re in the United States, and they’re going to want a very clear why, why the child is in the United States, is it for a school program or traveling with one parent.

This letter should be signed by both parents, and it should be notarized. If you’re a parent and your child is going to be traveling with one parent or with another adult, I recommend you go to dhs.gov for more information as to the letter you need to protect your child when they travel to the United States.

I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 415-221-2345.

Vaughan de Kirby
California Immigration Attorney

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