You must get the permission of someone with parental responsibility for a child or from a court before taking the child abroad.

Taking a child abroad without permission is child abduction.

You automatically have parental responsibility if you’re the child’s mother, but you still need the permission of anyone else with parental responsibility before you take the child abroad.

You can take a child abroad for 28 days without the permission of anyone else with parental responsibility for the child if you have a child arrangements order.

Get permission from someone with parental responsibility

A letter from the person with parental responsibility for the child is usually enough to show you’ve got permission to take them abroad. You might be asked for the letter at a UK or foreign border, or if there’s a dispute about taking a child abroad. The letter should include the other person’s contact details and details about the trip.

It also helps if you’ve:

  • evidence of your relationship with the child, eg a birth or adoption certificate
  • a divorce or marriage certificate, if you are a single parent but your family name is different from the child’s

Get permission from a court

You’ll need to apply to a court for permission to take a child abroad if you haven’t got permission from the other people with parental responsibility.

You must give details of the trip, eg the date of departure, when and how you’re returning, and contact details of people with parental responsibility staying in the UK.

You must give more information if you’re taking the child abroad for a longer trip, eg what education the child will get while they’re abroad.

Find a solicitor to get legal advice about permission to take a child abroad.

Check the age limit in the country you’re travelling to

You need to contact the embassy or consular office of the country you are travelling to for information about the age limit up to which a person is considered a child.