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What Identification to Kids Need to Travel?

Family vacations can be a time of great fun but they can also be total chaos if you aren’t properly prepared to travel with kids. It’s important to know what identification kids need to travel. In this article we’re going to talk about traveling in the US and flying abroad, and touch upon a few other important tips for traveling with kids.

What ID do kids need to travel graphic

Though we are mostly discussing traveling as a family, it’s important to know that if you are traveling as a solo parent with a child under the age of 18, please make sure you have a note either from the other parent or a lawyer stating that you have permission to travel solo with the child. 

The US border patrol may ask for documents. Be prepared.

There’s nothing worse than being getting to the airport or on the road only to hit a major block because you weren’t fully prepared OR you assumed you knew what was needed, and assumed wrong. 

Do children need an ID to fly?

Long gone are the days where you could get on a plane, train, bus with your child’s birth certificate and away you go. These days, everyone needs an ID to fly, especially kids. 

As mentioned above, a note from another parent is mandatory. If the child is flying with someone other than the parents, besides their passport, they also need a note from the parents giving the accompanying adult permission to travel with the child. 

Passports are absolutely required for children to fly, even babies. 

If your upcoming trip is an international one, you’re probably wondering whether or not your baby will need a passport. The answer is yes: Every human, no matter how young, needs a passport if she will be leaving one country and entering another.

Source What to Expect

For instructions on how to apply for a passport for your child, please click here US Department of State for more information. Please note that it’s not as easy to obtain a child’s passport as it is one for an adult. 

It’s also good to note that a minor, aged 16 and 17, does not need a parent present to apply for a passport whereas a child under 16 does. 

What documents do I need to travel within the US with my child?

Whether you are traveling by land or air, if you are within the US a passport is not required by either adults or children. However, an adult should have proper identification for themselves and the children they are traveling with. 

TSA does require all adults to have state issued identification cards though children do not require ID. It is recommended to at least make sure you have the child’s birth certificate. 

What documents do I need to travel internationally with my child?

If you are traveling by land or sea, the child’s birth certificate will suffice as identification. If the child is traveling without one parent, a letter is required by the other parent to confirm permission to travel. 

I should make note now as well that when a child is traveling with only one parent, besides the consent letter, a letter stating the child’s relationship to the adult is also required. If they were adopted or the adult is a legal guardian, make sure you have proper documentation stating that. 

Make sure you are fully prepared to travel with kids

If you are taking a road trip across the country or flying to foreign lands around the world, it’s always better to be fully prepared then sadly disappointed because you forgot one little piece of ID for your kids. 

Before you head out, double and triple check to make sure all documents are in order and kept in a safe place so you don’t lose or forget them. 

Happy trails!!

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