My daughter and I are going to Grand Cayman and Cozumel for Spring Break but I've read that their could be problems unless I have a notorized letter from her father allowing her to travel with only me. The problem I have is that her father is no longer in the picture and I do not know how to reach him. I do have a passport for her and I do have full physical custody of her. Short of faking a document, what should I do? Does customs really check those papers? What could happen? I find it hard to believe that single parents always are able to get a paper from an ex or in the case of a death do they bring the death certificate?
Thanks for your help with this. I so want to have everthing perfect when I get there so that there are not any glitches in paperwork that keeps us from traveling.
I will give you an "opinion" based on experience but you should never take anything on a message board as gospel. You should verify what you need with the cruise line, travel agent and State Department.
If you have full custody you should have been awarded it by the court. Bring your custody papers with you and make sure your daughter has her passport. The custody papers would have been required to obtain your daughter's passport, unless the father had also been present when the passport application was submitted.
Under no circumstances forge a document.
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I went with my 2 kids in May on Carnival Liberty. My oldest was 19, she didn't need papers, but my 15 yo son did. Got their Mom to sign the document saying she knew I was bringing him out the country and giving me full power to make decisions in case of a medical emergency. Didn't get it notarized either. Best part, while I did have a signed paper, no one ever asked to see it. By all means it is best to have the right documents with you because you never know when you may need them.
I agree with other poster, don't forge anything. Why not call your lawyer, I'm sure he/she would know what to do.
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Thank you all for your advice. Of course I'm going to get the proper paperwork because I don't want to end up on shore or in a mexican jail of some sort I guess my thought that her dad had signed off on getting her a passport would have been enough but I do understand with the kidnapping situations one never know. Out of curiosity in this day and age when you don't know who the father is or he is deceased I wonder what happens.
I will say that I had contacted Carnival and they told me I wouldn't have to worry about it but sent me a form giving her permission to travel in a youth group. That's not a secure enough feeling for me as my gut says I better have the correct paperwork just in case.
We took our two nephews on a cruise last year and all we needed were their passports and a letter from their parents. One of the nephews, his mom has full custody and all we needed was permission from her. His dad did not need to sign anything. Given that we are not even the parent of either one, I would think you would be fine, but please do follow Mike's advice. If for no other reason than your peace of mind. And, actually, the other countries don't really seem to care. Worst case would be that you would be denied boarding when you get on the ship. But, that is bad enough!
Good luck and have fun!