Practical Guide: Children Traveling Alone

I’ll be heading to Europe soon, with my 11-year old niece in tow, without both of her parents.

I am lucky enough to read about the importance to prepare and bring appropriate documents to facilitate her solo trip, before our trip. Our month-long trips costs quite a bit. So imagine the horror if we get stuck at immigration check point, after 13 hours of flight time from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam!

Children traveling along, without their parents, or even with just one parent, need to be prepared. Some went through immigration unchecked, but some were stopped.

 Even though it causes additional works, I am pleased with it. My two nieces traveled to Bangkok before, sans their parents. But the immigration officers in both Malaysia and Thailand didn’t even bait an eyelid! What a lax attitude.

I downloaded a “Consent letter for minors travelling abroad” template from Netherlands Defence website here. I also jotted the supporting documents requirement, and shoot them across to my brother-in-law (BIL), for his next step action. Filling in the form is easy-peasy, but we were not sure of one of the documents required:

Appendices:
– Copy of travel document of the consent giving parent
– Recent certified extract of residence?
– Certified extract of birth certificate

Do I look like a child abductor with my water gun?
Do I look like a child abductor with my water gun?

I read that airlines will be able to advise on this subject, so I decided to check with KLM Malaysia. Whilst I correspond with KLM, my BIL approached Netherlands … I only realized that the officer he was communicating with is from International Child Abduction Center (Centrum Internationale Kinderontvoering).

In a twist of fate, from children traveling alone, it turned into potentially a child abduction case. Putting it bluntly, the reason for these documents is to prove that I am not a child abductor. Well, it makes sense, but …. D was having a field day laughing about it. *roll eyes

So, we received two separate replies: from International Child Abduction Center in Netherlands, and KLM in Malaysia. Same-same, but different.

I gotta take my hat off to Netherlands. There’s so much that we can learn from western countries.

 

Page 1/2 of the letter
Page 2/2 of the letter

 Despite a short e-mail sent by my BIL, he received an official reply. The letter carries a lot of weight, and it oozes confidence and authority.

To give KLM their due credit, they responded within 24 hours. But I think they could have send a longer reply, as I wasn’t assured with their one-liner e-mail:

Dear Ms. X,

 Thank you for contacting KLM.

Aside from the consent form, please also prepare copies of your birth cerificates (child, aunt, and parent) or other documents that will prove your relationship with one another.

Yes, there was also a typo error of ‘certificates’! Aiyoo Malaysian … and you represent an international airlines. Spell check, please.

I’ll report more after our trip. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we’ll be able to enter the EU with minimal hassle. Note to self: to exude charm and put on my angelic face at immigration check point. I ain’t no child abductor, mister!

Updated 14 Sept2015:

We will be bringing along:

  1. Consent letter – original copy
  2. A copy of  child’s birth certificate – certified true copy by a lawyer
  3. A copy of child’s parents birth certificate– certified true copy by a lawyer
  4. A copy of child’s parents Identification Card – certified true copy by a lawyer
  5. A copy of child’s parents passport – certified true copy by a lawyer
  6. A copy of child’s parents marriage certificate – certified true copy by a lawyer
  7. Original copy of child’s aunt birth certificate – because I was away and didn’t manage to pass it to my BIL 

 

 

 

 

Writer

Travel opens up a whole new world, which is cliche but true. I am a strong advocate for independent and solo travel. I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but now live in Bangkok, Thailand, resulted from a chance encounter in 2009 with my why-are-you-Thai bf. I am now split between two countries. One country for my bf, another for the family, for the occasional weekend together.

2 thoughts on “Practical Guide: Children Traveling Alone

  • September 5, 2015 at 1:34 am
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    Bravo , amazing niece and her aunt

    • September 5, 2015 at 1:36 am
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      My niece is indeed an amazing child!

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