Published: May 24, 2019, Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Parents and legal guardians should be aware of restrictions when traveling to the United States with a minor or child. In U.S. immigration law, a child is considered an individual that is under 18 years of age. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires documentation to be provided so that children entering the U.S. are doing so with the knowledge and / or consent of the child’s parents or legal guardians.
The following is a list of documentation that CBP can request at the border:
CBP has the right to detain the traveling parent or legal guardian until they have clarity around the circumstances. If one of the parents is either deceased, or one parent has sole custody, then other documentation such as custody court decisions, birth certificates with one parent’s name, or death certificates of the other parent would help CBP officials determine the nature of the child’s travel situation.
Traveling to the United States with a child will require single parents or legal guardians to bring additional documentation regarding their travels with the minor. Such documents can be notarized consent letters from non-traveling parents, or be documents such as a court’s custody rulings, birth certificates and other legal documents which help establish the right of the traveling parent or legal guardian to be crossing into the U.S. border with the child.