Updated: Oct 9, 2019
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), if a child is traveling abroad (including Canada) with one parent, the other parent must supply a letter granting permission. If the child is traveling with an adult other than her parents (school trip, tours, sports, etc.), both parents must provide written permission. See U.S. CBP article 3643.
The agency strongly recommends that the permission form be notarized. While the U.S. customs officials do not always ask for this documentation, many countries do, and the “failure to produce notarized permission letters” could result in being denied entry. This may be required for air, land and cruise ship travel. Major cruise lines require the notarized permission to travel letter for any children wishing to do any on shore excursion.
This is about protecting children and deterring parental / international child abduction.
Proper notarization will require the signing parent(s) to be present and sign in the notary’s presence. I suggest having multiple copies notarized in case a border official requests to keep a copy or if a copy is lost.
Does this apply to you? Download a Permission to Travel or Parental Consent Letter and contact me if you have any other questions.