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Kathleen May 15th, 2002 11:40 AM

Traveling with Stepchild
My hubby and I and the kids are set for our first cruise. No problem with our 3 year old, we clearly own her. But what about hubby's 9 year old? We have been told we need to have a notarized statement from his mother in order to take him out of the country. We have talked to his mom and she has no problem signing the statement, now we just need to know what it should say.

The folks at child services were not very helpful other than to say yes, you need to have something from her saying she knows. The TA said we need to have a very explicit statement that includes all trip info, names and social security numbers of all involved.

Is there a happy medium somewhere? It seems silly to put social security numbers on the statement when they aren't on the birth certificates.

Bill May 15th, 2002 01:07 PM

Re: Traveling with Stepchild
Why fight city hall? Put down the child's name, the adults he (she) will be travelling with, the itinerary, a statement giving permission to travel, (and while you are at it a statement giving permission to make medical decisions) and why not the social security number? John Jones with SS# xxx-xx-xxxx is a seperate and distinct person than all the other John Jones in the world. Go overboard and do more, it will be a lot better than being turned away at the airport or at the cruise terminal. By the way, even a nine year old should have a social security number, for that matter so should the 3 year old ,. Don't fight it . It is being done to prevent children from being taken from the country during custody battles.

Kathleen May 15th, 2002 02:00 PM

Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
The kids both have SSNs, and picture IDs for that matter; it just seemed like such a nuisance to write all that out. I hadn't thought about the medical permission. Thanks for mentioning that.

Bill May 15th, 2002 05:10 PM

Re: Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
Papa Bill and Grandma Mrs Bill have medical permission slips on file at the Grandchildrens day care facilities just in case we are the first ones contacted in an emergency ,so that little item is always on my mind.
For that matter, if your step son has a different last name than yours, you should have
something in writing establishing your right to make those decisions even domestically
Enjoy your cruise . sounds like you will be having a nice family vacation..

Kathleen May 15th, 2002 05:23 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
Same last name - he's hubby's son. I wrote up a page long thing with all our names, birthdates, SSNs, the itinerary, confirmation number, stateroom number, ship name, dates, the whole nine yards!

helicopter2213 May 15th, 2002 05:58 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
I have cruised several times, different lines, always with children, grandchildredn, stepchildren. I have always been told the same thing. However, not once has anyone ever asked or questioned the children traveling with me. I have never shown a paper regarding any of them. This procedure is much more watched when traveling by air (when you land in a foreign country they will ask). Cruise lines just don't seem to adhere to this procedure. Once again on June 9 with all these children I will for my grand children have my daughter notarize a letter simply saying "I ___ am aware that my children __ and ___ will be traveling out of the country with their grandparents ___ and ___ from ____ to ______. This letter also serves as authorization for any medical attention they may need." Still I have never been asked to show a paper.

Carole Dunham May 17th, 2002 11:33 AM

Re: Traveling with Stepchild
I traveled with my grandson a few years ago. My permission paper from both his parents was notarized. After all of that, no one eveer asked for the permission, even when we left to go to Canada for our Alaska cruise. He's 18 now so I can take him without permission,


Kathleen May 19th, 2002 09:31 AM

Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
this is what I got from RCI......maybe that explains why nobody ever gets asked to show the permission letter.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Please be advised that we do not have a format for this letter. The letter
is not a requirement, it is just precautionary to protect yourself from any
legal action from the boy's mother.

Thank you for choosing Royal Caribbean International,

Vacation Planner Representative.

kimberly May 24th, 2002 01:50 AM

Re: Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
Hi Kathleen:

I hope that this message isn't too late to be of assistance to you. I don't know where you are cruising to but I have a recommendation in order for you to cover yourself in this situation.

While it may seem a pain I can tell you why this documentation is necessary. Because of child abductions by non-custodial parents foreign countries are increasingly becoming more stringent with their admittance policies. This isn't a cruise line policy its foreign policy and the bottom line is that a foreign country can refuse to allow you admittance without the proper documentation. For more specifics on foreign policies see the US Department of State website. The bottom line is you don't want to be refused admittance so have your step-child's passport or birth cerficate in order.

Though it may not be entirely necessary if you want a legal type document that should pass muster wherever you go, my recommendation would be to draft a document which you can entitle something like "Affidavit Regarding Parental Authorization". Here is some very basic language for you. I can't pass out legal advice in this forum but you could find an affidavit document like this from a book at your local office supply store so I see no harm in providing a basic affidavit type form. You MUST have this notarized.

Affidavit Regarding Parental Authorization

I, ___________________, being first duly sworn states as follows:

1.That I ________________________ am a person of suitable age and discretion.
2. That I am the custodial parent (or non-custodial if that's the case) of ___________________, born (date, place) as evidenced by certificate of birth, attached. (attach it).
3.Citizenship/address of custodial parent and child.(and all other contact info)
4.Child SS.
5.That I hereby authorize (your name and husbands name, relationships to child, address, SS#) to travel with child to (include entire trip schedule land and cruise, dates (indent using outline form if needed)) including but not limited to any unscheduled destinations resulting from cruise lines alteration of itinerary at its option for stated period of time or for a reasonable time thereafter in the event of unforseen airline flight and/or cruise line cancellation/delays.
6.That I hereby authorize (your name and husbands name) to seek and provide any all necessary medical attention to child should the same become necessary in their discretion.
7.That I have personal knowledge of these facts and if called as a witness I am competent to testify to the same.

Signature ________________________

State of ____________)
County of ___________)

Subscirbed and sworn to before me:

______________________, notary public,
on this _______ day of _________, 2002.
Witness my hand and official seal.
My commission expires:

Known to me:_______ I.D.____________

I hope this helps you. My intention was not to make this more difficult for you as a letter probably would suffice for carribbean destinations but why not have it look legal since this one page (or so) document won't take long to type. If you still have concerns consult your attorney. Most of all just enjoy your cruise with your family.

Kathleen May 24th, 2002 07:20 AM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
I wrote up a letter similar to that, listed our names, address, SSNs, trip itinerary, contact info, etc. The child's mother is signing it and having it notarized. We carry my stepson on our health insurance, so that is a plus if we do need to use it.

I understand about the problem with abductions and quite frankly I am surprised that the cruise lines do not have a more concrete policy regarding situations like mine. You'd think they would want to make sure their own butts were covered before allowing a minor to travel.

kimberly May 24th, 2002 09:25 AM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
I'm glad you were able to get it taken care of.

I agree that the cruise lines should make people more aware that this type of documentation is necessary in some instances. Unfortunately they don't have to. Its ironic that they give you an idea of what to wear but skip over important issues like these assuming people will just know. Perhaps if more people make them aware that they would appreciate some guidance in this area they would provide recommendations in their FAQ's. However, I wouldn't expect any type of formal policy change coming in the near future. The cruise lines already have you release them from so many types of liability they certainly won't go creating policies that could open them up to any when they can easily just wash their hands of it.

Again, I hope you have a wonderful time on your cruise.

Kathleen May 24th, 2002 08:52 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
Suffer the children.....tonite the mother tells us that she called RCI and since they don't require a statement, she won't sign one. We told her to call Customs and Immigration so they could explain it to her, but she is a couple crayons short of a full box. She says no go on the statement, guess you'll just have to stay on the ship if son gets refused entry, or not go at all if you get there and they won't let him on with you. So, for some selfish reason that we cannot begin to understand, she would rather ruin her sons vacation than let him have a good time with his family.

I guess we'll be doing without her signature. We do have his birth certificate and one of those Ident-a-Kid cards that lists our address, so hopefully we are covered. Fortunately this is only a trip to the bahamas, but it certainly gives us pause for planning to take him on another cruise next year!

Bon Voyage in 2 weeks

kimberly May 24th, 2002 10:46 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
I'm sorry. That is awful. I honestly can't understand some people. I've alway thought "better safe than sorry." With any luck there will be no problem with it just being the bahamas. The Bahamas, unlike many other destinations does allow admittance for U.S. citizens with just a birth certificate instead of a passport (so I suppose you can assume they are more liberal).

If you do intend to make a last ditch effort to convince the child's mother that its necessary (especially to give you an even better piece of mind) you could refer her to this link from the US State Department:

Under entry requirements for the Bahamas it states the following: "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 not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry and departure."

Be advised that this advice is given for most countries and its definitely not an absolute so in any event try not to worry because I'm sure you'll all have a wonderful time.

Kathleen May 25th, 2002 06:22 AM

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Thank you for that link. I was going to take some time today to research, and you saved me from that.

I'm not surprised at her actions - she's typically difficult to deal with. But she doesn't have enough power over us to ruin this vacation (or any vacation). I printed the information and we will give it to her next time we are over there. Of course, her reaction will likely be to read only the part that says ..."even if not required", and only actually see the words "not required". Like I said, our next cruise will become a threesome instead of foursome. At least the child is older now, so when we have to explain to him that we can't take him somewhere because of his mother, now he understands instead of blaming us and thinking his dad doesn't care about him.

kimberly May 25th, 2002 11:36 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Traveling with Stepchild
You're welcome. Hopefully she'll come to her senses and do what is in the best interest of the child.

Next year I would recommend getting everybody passports. They aren't terribly expensive considering they are good for 10 years. We got ours in the mail today. Surprisingly it only took about 2 weeks and we didn't pay for a rush order. I have traveled without them many times before to Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada (I live only 45 minutes from the Canadian border and they even let me live there and work as an intern for their Senate without a passport) and have never ever had a problem but its required for our upcoming Mediterranean cruise. In viewing the message boards post 9/11 it seems people are recommending them just to expedite things even for places where they aren't required.

Happy cruising!

Kathleen May 26th, 2002 07:20 AM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Traveling with Stepc
Yeah, we will get passports for everyone. We didn't have enough time this year to get three new American passports and renew one Canadian one. Mmy husband, who is a Canadian citizen, forgot to have his renewed last year. The closest Canadian consulate to us is in Atlanta..

I grew up about 20 minutes from the border and we used to cross like it was any other bridge on earth. Not so any more!

Thank you so much for all your help. We'll see what happens next

Deborah June 16th, 2002 07:07 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Traveling with S
Just FYI ~~my sister ran into this problem with our upcoming cruise. If you are getting a US Passport for the boy, his non custodial parent will have to sign the application (notarized) if he is under 16. And you STILL should have altter authorizing you to take him out of the country. You never know what someone will do if they get angry enough.. and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Regarding her not wanting to sign something~ some people just aren't happy seeing other people happy!

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