My 17-year-old son is a dual US-UK citizen and is travelling to the USA this summer on his own. I have been told U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recommends that the child carries a notarized written consent letter from both parents, in case it is requested for review by US immigration officials.

  • Does anyone have a link to an example letter to show what this should look like?

  • Does he need to bring an original of his birth certificate or any other documents?

  • Also, regarding the notarization, does this have to be done as per US guidelines or UK guidelines? I understood that in the UK the equivalent of US notarization would be a solicitor's/lawyer's signature witnessing the signatures or for example having this done by a bank. Would this be sufficient, as the cost of having something notarized in the UK is quite expensive.

Many thanks.

  • @TheZealot I would be less sanguine. Under the Hague Convention, I don't think minor children have a right to enter the USA over the objections of parents or a custodial parent. Apr 16, 2018 at 16:56
  • @AndrewLazarus the Hague Convention says nothing about entering countries or crossing borders. A border crossing is just a convenient point for identifying children who have been wrongfully removed from someone's custody.
    – phoog
    Apr 16, 2018 at 19:40
  • @phoog Agreed. My point is showing up without permission documentation is a good way to get invited to an extended secondary screening. If it's a child-napping in progress, I don't see admission into the USA as happening. There have been cases where USA citizen minors were forcibly repatriated with their non-citizen parents who were leaving voluntarily. I don't think a USA passport is any guarantee that a minor will be admitted if there is reason to think a custodial parent does not want that to happen. Apr 16, 2018 at 20:18
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    If you're worried about the UK notarization being accepted stateside, you can get the FCO to legalize (apply an apostille to) the notary/solicitor's signature: gov.uk/get-document-legalised This confirms to overseas authorities that they're a legit notary/solicitor. Apr 16, 2018 at 22:06
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    @phoog But it does have authority to act in loco parentis. Example where 4 year old USA citizen was going to be placed in a child detention facility when visa of accompanying non-citizen grandparent was found to be invalid. I suggest (a) we take this to chat and (b) you come up with some cases where minors were admitted under these or similar circumstances while adult was not. Apr 17, 2018 at 6:07

2 Answers 2


thanks for your feedback, he has a US and UK passport.

In the meantime I've had a reply from CPB:

Thank you for contacting U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Information Center.

CBP strongly recommends that unless a child is accompanied by both parents, provide a letter which states you are giving him permission to travel by himself internationally. Letter from the child's other parent or parents stating: "I acknowledge that my son/daughter is traveling out of the country . He/She has/have my permission to do so”. The letter should include Who, What, Where, When, Why, and contact information for the absent parent(s). Having the letter notarized is not necessary but is highly recommended.


These regulations are in place to stop interference with custody orders, and I suppose runaways although that is a little hard to worry about for an airfare. A 17-year-old who can answer questions about his home life and travel plans is a small risk. I think a witnessed letter would be ample. My younger child was never asked anything at all, although he was armed with a US Notarized letter.

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