What are the requirements for minor children traveling to the United States?

The United States Embassy is happy to share information about the requirements for minor children traveling to the United States.

Visas for Minors:

Q: Do children need to appear in person for their visa interview?

A:  Children under the age of 14 do not need to appear for the interview.  One parent must appear with applicant’s birth certificate and passport.  A guardian with custody from the court must appear with the relevant court order and documents to prove legal custody.

Q:  Do minors qualify for the Interview Waiver Program?

A:  For a minor (under 14) to qualify as an Interview Waiver Program applicant, he/she must have at least one parent already in possession of a valid B1/B2 visa.  The applicant must not have been refused a visa in the past.

Q:  How do minors renew their visas?

A: Minors (under 14) renewing visas do not need to appear in person.  One parent can bring in their current passport and the valid visa for the case to be processed.  Please schedule an appointment under our Interview Waiver Program on Wednesday afternoons.

Children who are renewing their visa and have attained age 14 before the expiration of their last visa must appear at the U.S. Embassy to be fingerprinted.

Travel to U.S. for Minors:

Q:  Can a child under the age of 18 travel to the United States without both parents?

A: Yes, a child under the age of 18 can travel to the United States without both parents.

Q: What paperwork is required for a child under the age of 18 entering the U.S.?

A: There is no mandatory paperwork required for a child under the age of 18 traveling to the United States as long as they have a valid U.S. visa or U.S. passport to enter the United States.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly recommends that unless the child is accompanied by both parents, the accompanying adult has a note from the child’s other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, friends, or in groups, a note signed by both parents) stating “I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter/group.  He/She/They has/have my permission.”

Please see U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s advice on minors on their website https://help.cbp.gov/, and search “minors” or “traveling with children.”

 

Q: What is parental consent?

A:  There is not a CBP Form letter but this is a letter you create.  The “Parental Consent Letter” should include the following elements:

Who

What

Where

When

Why

Contact information for the absent parent(s).

Having the letter notarized is not necessary but highly recommended.  For frequent border crossers, the letter should not exceed one year.  It is recommended to have the letter in English.

Passports for U.S. Citizens:

Q:  What paperwork is required for a U.S. Citizen Child applying for a U.S. Passport?

A: Consent of both parents or a statement of exigent circumstances is required for issuance of a passport to U. S. citizen minors under the age of 16.  U.S. citizens 16 years or older may sign for their own passports, and once they obtain their passport, they may travel freely. There is no requirement that they travel with either or both parents.

“Ask the Consul” from the U.S. Embassy Consular Section answers questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. If you have a general question about visa policy, please email it to us at AskGeorge@state.gov. We select questions every other week and publish the answers in Stabroek News.

Information about visas and travel can be viewed at https://gy.usembassy.gov/, http://travel.state.gov, and http://www.dhs.gov.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. Regulations change frequently and non-US government advisors frequently provide inadequate, incomplete and inaccurate information.

Other than the columns you see printed here, we aren’t able to respond to questions sent to Ask the Consul. Please contact the Visa Information Service on telephone number 225-8732 or 703-439-2359 if you have procedural questions or e-mail visageorge@state.gov for case specific information.

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