Guide – Parental Authorisation Letter For The Schengen Visa
What Is A Parental Authorisation Letter For A Schengen Visa Application?
A parental authorisation (also known as parental consent, child travel consent, or travel permission letter for children travelling abroad) is a document in which a child’s parent or legal guardian gives permission for the minor to travel alone or with another adult.
Parental authorisation is also required when both parents share legal custody of a child but only one of them is accompanying the child on the trip to the Schengen Area.
The main purpose of the document is to prevent child kidnapping or abduction and is a mandatory document to submit until the minor reaches the legal age of “majority” (which is 18 for most jurisdictions).
A parental authorisation must contain relevant details, such as the relationship between the minor and the person accompanying them during the trip (if applicable), the date when the letter was authenticated, travel dates, etc.
When should you get a Schengen Visa Parental Consent Letter?
The parental authorisation is a mandatory document for the Visa application for ALL Embassies/Consulates, meaning that you must submit it if:
- Your child (who is a minor) will be travelling alone
- An adult (e.g., a relative or a family friend – no a direct parent) will be travelling with your minor child
- One parent will be travelling with your minor child without the other parent accompanying them
The parental authorisation is an important document not only for your Visa application but also for the airlines and the border control requirements.
Most airlines will request a parental authorisation if one of the situations above is applicable to a minor (the minor travels alone, the minor travels with one of the parents while both parents share their legal custody, or the minor travels with an adult who is not their parent/legal guardian).
The same rule applies to the border control authorities. Most of the time, the border control authorities in the country of residence of the minor will request this letter, while the border control authorities of the destination country will no longer check it.
However, this is not a rule that applies to all countries, meaning that you should be prepared to show the document not only when you leave your country of residence but also when you cross the borders of the Schengen country you will enter first.
Important: Even if the minor and the person accompanying them (who is not a direct parent) have the same last name, parental consent is still required.
If you need to get a parental authorisation please consider the following key elements:
● If both parents share the custody of a minor
If the minor travels alone or with a relative or a friend, the travel consent must be signed by both parents.
If the minor travels with one of the parents, the letter must be signed by the parent who will not accompany them on the trip.
● If only one parent has the sole custody of a minor
If the minor travels alone or with a relative or a friend, the document must be signed only by the parent who has sole custody of the child.
However, this rule depends on the laws of your country.
For example, in some countries, even if a parent has sole custody, it is recommended that both parents sign the travel consent – because the parent who doesn’t have sole custody will usually retain access rights (visitation rights).
However, most of the time these details are determined when a couple gets separated or divorced (they can include terms for child travel in their separation).
If you have the sole custody of a minor and must sign the travel consent, it is important to prove to the Embassy/Consulate authorities that only you have the custody of the minor.
For example, you can submit a court order, a custody document, or a death certificate of the other parent – if applicable. Or, you can submit the birth certificate of the minor signed by one parent only (in some countries, a birth certificate signed by one parent only means that only one parent has the custody of a child).
You should submit the original parental authorisation and a copy of it to the Embassy/Consulate.
The Embassy/Consulate officers should check the original letter and hopefully provide it back to you so that you can show it to the border control authorities of your country of residence. They should keep just a copy of the letter in their archives.
However, we highly recommend you get two original copies of the travel authorisation. In the highly likely situation that you don’t get the letter back after submitting your documents for your Schengen Visa application (and the one of the minor that you will be travelling with) you will still have a copy left for the border control authorities.
The Importance Of The Parental Authorisation Letter For The Schengen Visa Application
Showing proof of parental permission for children travelling abroad is extremely important to prevent child kidnapping or abduction.
Taking a minor abroad without the permission of the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) is considered child abduction. Hence, the Embassy/Consulate officers must be sure that you do not plan to take a minor to the Schengen Region without the consent of the parent(s)/legal guardian(s).r
Perhaps you are asking yourself why is this letter still necessary if you want to travel to the Schengen Region with your own child but you do not have sole custody (for example, a minor’s mother planning to travel with her child needs the consent of the father).
The answer is: “Because it is considered child abduction if you take your child abroad without the consent of the other parent that you share the custody with”.
For most countries, parental child abduction is a crime (meaning hiding, taking abroad, or keeping hold of a child without the consent of the other parent).
Parental child abduction can occur especially when the parents separate or begin divorce proceedings.
How To Get A Parental Authorisation Letter For The Schengen Visa Application
The steps that you should follow in order to get a parental travel authorisation depend on the laws of your country of residence.
In most cases, the parental authorisation must be an official document (meaning that you cannot submit an ordinary letter written and signed by the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) of the minor that you will be travelling with).
There are a few exceptions when Embassies/Consulates do not require a notarised parental authorisation to be submitted and they accept ordinary authorisation letters (for example, some Embassies/Consulates do not require the travel authorisation to be notarised/authenticated if the ID documents of the minor’s parents show a signature) but we still recommend you get a notarised copy of the letter – this is because you might need to show it to the border control authorities.
First, think of where you can get an official authorisation letter/certified document in your place of residence.
In most countries, you can get an official authorisation letter/certified document from a public notary or attorney.
In other countries, professionals such as teachers, doctors, bankers, or pharmacists can help you get an official authorisation letter/certified document. For example, you can ask the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) of the minor to write and sign the letter and then ask a professional in your country of residence to certify it. However, this law is valid mostly in the UK and other Commonwealth countries such as Australia.
Once you figure out who can help you get an official parental authorisation in your country of residence (as we mentioned before, it is highly likely that you should get one from a public notary) you have two options, according to the rules in your country:
● Get an official parental authorisation letter fully written and authenticated by the person who can help you throughout this process.
Let’s assume, for example, that you are the relative of a minor that you plan to travel with to the Schengen Region.
You should go together with their parents to a public notary (make sure all three of you carry your ID cards/passports as well as the birth certificate of the minor) and ask for a parental authorisation.
The notary will write the letter (they should have a standard form that they will fill out with your details, the full name and details of the minor, and the ones of the parents/legal guardians.
They will also add other relevant details related to the trip, such as travel dates and countries where the letter is valid – in this case, all 26 Schengen Countries. Once the notary fills out the letter, the parents of the minor will sign it.
Also, the parental authorisation will include the signature, stamp, address, and contact information of the public notary.
● Fill out a parental authorisation letter template and take it to a public notary to get it authenticated.
This is the most common for Schengen Visa applications.
For example, imagine that you are the relative of a minor child and you plan to travel with them to the Schengen Region.
You can fill out a parental authorisation template with relevant information, then ask the minor’s parent(s)/legal guardian(s) to sign it, and then take it to a public notary (the parents of the minor must be present as well, or the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) can get it notarized without you).
The notary will check the details in the letter and then authenticate it by adding their stamp and signature.
For some public notaries, only the presence of the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) of the minor is mandatory (without the presence of the person who will be travelling with the minor to the Schengen Region).
In this case, they will ask for a copy of the ID/passport of the person accompanying the minor.
Also, most public notaries will provide you with a parental authorisation in the language of your country of residence. This means that you should contact a certified translator and translate it (most Embassies/Consulates will accept English translations).
If the notary in your country of residence does not have a parental authorisation template and requests you to fill out one before authenticating it, you can download the template from the official website of the Schengen Embassy where you are applying. Below you will find some examples:
- Parental Authorisation Letter of the Embassy of Norway (valid for all countries where you apply from)
Please consider that some of the Schengen Embassies/Consulates that have the parental authorisation template available on their official websites may not require you to authenticate the letter at the notary.
However, as we mentioned above, you may still need a notarised copy of the parental travel authorisation for the border control authorities.
If the Schengen Embassy/Consulate where you submit your application has an authorisation letter template available on their website, you should submit the form that they provide (and not a different form).
Even though they do not request you to notarise the letter, we still recommend you do it as a precautionary measure.
If the public notary in your home country does not allow or provide authentication services for the template letter form available on the website of the Schengen Embassy/Consulate where you apply (because they have their own forms or because they do not authenticate parental authorisation forms in English), then we recommend you submit both the Embassy/Consulate template and the notarised form in your application – eg:
- The parental authorisation available on the official website of the Embassy/Consulate where you submit your application (after you fill it out correctly and sign it)
- A copy of the parental authorisation you get from the notary in your country of residence (that you may need for the border control authorities)
Important: If the official website of the Schengen Embassy where you are applying has no type of travel consent template available (and the notary in your country of residence does not have a parental authorisation template to fill out and requires the letter to be already written and signed before authenticating it) you can download our templates as well and follow our instructions to fill them out correctly – in case the public notary will authenticate your letter in English.
Otherwise, you can translate one of the templates, fill it out, and take it to the notary to authenticate the letter.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing And Submitting A Parental Authorisation
The parental travel authorisation is an extremely important document for a Schengen Visa application.
Therefore, you should avoid making one of the following mistakes:
● Not submitting relevant documents if one parent has the sole custody of the minor
The Embassy/Consulate officers cannot know that only one parent has the sole custody of the minor.
Hence, you must submit relevant documents to support your application.
For example, you can submit a legalised copy of the divorce sentence, which clearly mentions the full custody, or a death certificate – if applicable (they should be legalised and translated in English or the official language of the Schengen Embassy where you are applying for the Visa).
● Not submitting the copies of the ID documents/passports of the parent(s)/legal guardian(s)
The Embassy/Consulate officers may reject the Visa if you do not submit the copies of the ID documents/passports of the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) along with the permission letter.
If the minor has a legal guardian, you should submit a Court Decision as well (otherwise, the Embassy/Consulate officers cannot know that someone is actually the legal guardian of the minor).
The Court Decision should be legalised and translated into English or the official language of the Schengen Embassy where you are applying for the Visa.
● For single-entry Schengen Visas – not mentioning that the consent is valid including for the so-called “period of grace”
The “period of grace” is a period of 15 days which is always added to the validity period of a single-entry Visa.
If the notary/attorney/public official/professional who will authorise your parental consent has a template that will fill out for you, ask them to mention that the consent is valid for the whole duration of stay in Schengen plus another 15 days.
This is a requirement for some Schengen Embassy/Consulates. Sometimes, unpredictable events occur (e.g. your flight is cancelled) and you may need to change your travel details slightly – this is why it is important to mention that the travel consent is valid for the whole duration of stay in the Schengen region plus another 15 days.