One document that requires notarization and is frequently overlooked until the last moment is the a Parental Authorization for Minor to Travel. Any time a minor is traveling out of the country without one or both parents, it is recommended to get authorization from the non-traveling parent(s) in advance, and to have that authorization notarized.
I have met countless parents the night before traveling who have overlooked this important document prior to dropping their child off for an educational trip or an out of the country visit with grandparents living abroad.
The consent can be a simple letter or a template found online which is signed by the non-traveling parent and accompanies the minor on their travel to assure TSA that the child is traveling out of the country with the absent parent’s consent.
I once received an call at 9:00am on a Sunday from a panicked parent who was at the Denver International Airport. He and his minor child had landed and were preparing to depart on the next leg of their flight to Belize when he realized he would be required to show a notarized travel consent from his wife before they would be permitted to leave the country. His flight was departing in 30 minutes and his wife was at home in Pleasanton. Fortunately, I live just a few minutes from my office and I immediately left to meet her there. We quickly drafted a letter and I notarized it, then I quickly scanned it and sent it to my electronic fax provider to fax it to the airport gate. Time slowed as we waited for confirmation that it had been successfully sent. As we anxiously waited, we could hear the gate attendant telling him they were going to need to remove his bags! Then, not a moment too soon, he said “We got it!”. As a precaution, I texted him a photo of the notarized document for his records.
While I am usually available on short notice, 7 days a week, that was a close call and an extreme case of short notice!
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