It’s that time of year. The “All Irelands” and World Irish Dance Championships are just around the corner and parents of Irish dancers are buying airline tickets and making hotel reservations.
For various reasons, especially the costs involved, many young Irish dancers are traveling with only one parent and for dancers traveling in this situation, it is highly recommended that the traveling adult/parent have documentation, in the form of a notarized letter from the non-traveling parent, giving permission for the child to travel.
Many airline websites carry this warning: “In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child’s travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.”
But hey, don’t believe me… “Google” the above quote.
This documentation is even more important if the parents have two different surnames, as in our situation.
And before you say, “I’ve travelled before and nobody asked for a letter”, well, more often than not, so have we. But it’s not always “not”…
I spent 45 minutes at the U.S./Canadian border while my car was being searched for guns and my seven year-old daughter was being interviewed by “The nice lady with the lollipops” because I didn’t have that documentation.
My wife was also asked for the same documentation at an airline check-in counter when traveling with our then twelve year-old daughter to London (because of our little “Canadian Incident five years earlier, you can be assured she had a consent letter in hand).
A generic copy of the consent letter my family used can be downloaded by clicking here:
As I already mentioned, most countries don’t require these forms but it’s in the best interest of all involved to have the information available, especially in a medical emergency. Please do not construe this as legal advice but rather a best practice I’ve learned over the years. Ultimately, it’s up to the traveler to verify entry and exit requirements for all destinations.