I really wish I could reach out to every parent who is travelling overseas with their kids as I was totally clueless with certain aspects on my first overseas trip with my toddler. When I came back I realised I was not alone, majority parents were in my boat.
Although we had a super-lovely family trip to South Africa, our exit out of India as well as South-Africa were quite dramatic….to say the least!! That’s when I realised how different it is to travel with and without kids and another thing was added to my travel checklist for the next-time- ‘APPROPRIATE’ TRAVEL DOCUMENTS.
A Passport Off course!
This goes without saying! Your child needs a valid passport with a visa in most cases.
The ORIGINAL copy of the Birth Certificate
At the check-in counter in India, we were told, we needed the original copy of our daughter’s birth certificate and they would not issue our boarding pass without it. An anxious one-hour while we had someone ferry this across for us. I don’t understand what the birth certificate has that the passport doesn’t and obviously the guys at the counter had no explanation either but were not allowed by their authorities to issue us boarding passes.
What I realised later, is that this was also a requirement in South Africa and my research tells me that it is required in several other places as well so do not travel without it.
With child trafficking on a rampage world-over, rules regarding child travel have become super-stringent.
Apparently a birth certificate has been mandatory for infants travelling overseas since a very long time but I do strongly recommend that you keep it along with you even in case of children.
An Affidavit from the Other Parent if Only One Parent is Travelling with the Child
Getting back to India was not easy as well!! My husband had left a day earlier than all of us, as he had to resume work so I was travelling back with my daughter and the rest of the family. At the South African immigration on the way out, I was asked for consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent authorising me to depart from the Republic with the child. They completely refused to let me or my child leave until we literally begged and pleaded and convinced them that we all were here together on a family vacation.
This rule applies to several countries and hence it is important to have this affidavit with you for all overseas travel with one parent. Infact what I realised is that; one has to have such an affidavit from both parents in case any one has to leave in an emergency situation.
Documentation for Single Parents & Adopted Children
For single parents, the documentation requirement would be even more so one has to look into that as well. For example in case of divorced parents, a custody certificate would be mandatory while in cases where one of the parents is deceased, photocopy of the death certificate would be required.
In case of adopted children, the adoption papers and other relevant documents would be mandatory.
So to keep it short, let ‘Appropriate Travel Documents’ form another point in your travel checklist before you go on to enjoy your dream family vacation!!!