May 17, 2010,
R.J. asks from Schertz, TX on May 14, 2010
I Wish to Take My 9 Year Old Son on an Overseas Vacation to Egypt
I have a nine year old son I wish to take on vacation with me overseas. I have heard different things about the documents I need. My question is what do I really need? My son's father was killed while I was just 3 months pregnant and we were not married. I am the only parent on his birth certificate. The state where he was born doesnt let anyone put another's name on the certificate unless they sign it themselves. Which is quite humerous to me when I see movies where the father finds out years later they have a child and his name happens to be on the birth certificate, alas I am degressing. Can anyone help me with this issue. We are planning a trip to Egypt in July.
I guess in the question I forgot to say what a big planner I am. We both have our passports and I know that we will get visas at the airport in Cairo when we arrive. I am just really concerned about taking my son overseas as a single parent. I have heard tales of others needing permission slips from the other parent. In my case that is why I have all these questions. I want my son to enjoy other cultures and learn everything he can.
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So What Happened?™
I was prepared for everything. I had birth certificates of both my son and myself, I had everything you can imagine with me to explain why my son was traveling with just me and the reason he had no father to question it. When we got to the airport they checked just our 2 passports and we were on the way.That was it! Our vacation was fantastic and I don't regret anything about it. I worried for months for nothing and I will continue to take my son with me when I travel. Egypt was very safe and set up for tourists. We did everything you could think a tourist could do in Egypt and Jordan. My son turned 10 on the trip and so he can tell his school friends he got to spend his 10th birthday party in Cairo and got to ride camels to the pyramids. His favorite part of the vacation was the cruise down the Nile on the ship. Thank you all
L.C. answers from Austin on May 15, 2010
You definitely need to get him a passport ASAP. TSA will not allow anyone to fly overseas without one. I believe you can travel with just the passport but to really understand what you will need, read all about it at: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/minors/minors_834.html
S.H. answers from San Antonio on May 14, 2010
You should contact the Egyptian consulate to see if you need any special shots and visas. It is possible that you'll both need Hep A and B shots which have to be taken in series that require 6 months to complete. But I don't know specifically what Egypt's health requirements are. You will need a visa. That can also take time, so talk to them very soon.
A passport (book, not card) is also required. You can get this at a local post office, but for July you might be cutting it short. Where I live it takes a month to get an appointment, then another few weeks to receive the document. You must bring your passport or birth certificate along with his birth certificate to do so. If you are the only person listed on the BC, you won't need to worry about the father.
Don't listen to people who live their lives in fear! My parents took me to Pakistan when I was a child and my own daughter was born in El Salvador where we served as missionaries. It is a huge gift to give your son. He'll grow up a better citizen and unafraid of people different from him. Kudos to you!
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L.B. answers from Austin on May 15, 2010
You should also look closely at your health insurance policy before you travel. Many policies exclude coverage for accidents or illnesses that happen out of the country. Even a childhood accident like stitches or a broken arm could become an expensive surprise. You can buy an inexpensive temporary policy to cover any medical treatment you or your son might need while you're traveling. Many companies offer this service fully online. You can also find options through a travel medical clinic -- a place here that can give you the shots and medinice you might need before your trip.
Have a wonderful time!
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T.V. answers from San Francisco on May 14, 2010
Nothing would be humerous if you found yourself in a country where your parental rights could perhaps mean NOTHING! Who are you visiting? Your family or the deceased father's?
R.J. answers from San Diego on May 14, 2010
Ditto Ina... whenever we've traveled I've only ever needed kiddo's passport and any required visas.
The whole permission slip & birth certificate thing comes from 2 arenas:
- During an Amber Alert, airports are disallowed from letting children fly without a birth certificate proving that they are flying with their parent and not being kidnapped. It's a real pain in the neck if you're making a connecting flight, or if you have to run home to get one and miss your flight. So having a certified copy with you circumvents Murphey's Law. We've never been asked for ours... but our friends always seem to be flying during an an Amber Alert.
- If you're traveling with a child that is not your own... having a permission slip from the parents authorizing travel and medical treatment is always a good idea.
- In many divorces, a stipulation in the divorce is that one parent is not allowed to travel without the other parent's authorization... but those permission slips are CYA for the courts (since a way to trick someone into breaking their custody agreement is to agree verbally and then file with the courts claiming that you hadn't agreed), not for the airports
has all of the travel warnings, passport, & visa information you may need.
has all the vaccinations and general health info you'll need (like to bring along anti-diahrreah meds, what kind of filters for the water, what parasites are common, etc.)
OH!!! And have fun :) I can't wait to get to Cairo & Thebes & Luxor, take a dahabeeyah up the nile... oh the list just goes on!
I.G. answers from Seattle on May 14, 2010
I have taken my daughter to Europe a couple of times by myself. I am married to a US citizen, but I am a legal resident myself.
The only document I have ever needed was her passport.
I realize that there are a lot of people advocating that you need some sort of permission slip, but I have not found this to be true and could not find any sources (airlines or department of state) advocating that you do. If anybody knows of an official agency saying you need some sort of permission, please post a link... I am always interested in finding out were this comes from (other than anecdotes).
In your case you may just take his birth certificate with you to prove there is no one else on it.
You do usually need both parents present to get a passport, but I am sure in your case, since there is no father on the birth certificate, it will be fine if it's just you. You can call ahead and ask...
For Egypt you will probably need a visa, call the egyptian embassy or consulate or visit their website to inquire.
July is a pretty short time frame, so if you haven't started yet, you may have to pay for expedited service.
One last thing, check with the department of state on travel advisories and safe travel habits. Unfortunately some extremists in Egypt have in the past targeted western tourists. It doesn't mean you shouldn't go, but just make sure you know how to be safe.
It is a great country and this will surely be a lifetime memory for your son! Have fun!
E.O. answers from Austin on May 15, 2010
Your child - and you - need a passport to travel anywhere outside the United States. You need to take a birth certificate, drivers license, Social Security card, voter registration card and anything else that is a legal form of identification. Our teenager took her school ID card. You also need passport photos. You should have done this as soon as at least 6 months before the trip because it can take a while to get a passport. You can pay to have it expedited but it's expensive. Certain countries - such as China where we went last year - also require you go to to the nearest consulate of that country to get a visa. You must pay in cash. It cost us $150 per person for the visas to China. Don't know what the rules are for Egypt.
S.H. answers from Honolulu on May 14, 2010
Do you have his "Death Certificate"? I am assuming not, because you were not his "spouse"... and therefore, I doubt it would be given to you. Then, there is no way to "prove" it, or that he is the Dad of your son.... and YOU are the only parent on his birth certificate.
But you were not married, and are a "single-parent." And what about all those other Moms/women, who have a child by artificial insemination? There is no "Dad" on the Birth Certificate either.
I would, ask an Attorney.
And, call the department that issues the birth certificates and ask them.
You need to call the airlines you booked your trip with. And ask them.
Or, ALSO go to the "TSA" website and per International travel, you have to read the guidelines.
Ultimately, you have to find out and then attain, all the legal authorizations for travel with children, & passports.
Just some things off the top of my head. We have traveled internationally... and these are the things we had to do and consider. It takes a lot of prep... before the trip. Ahead of time.
Passports, if you do not have one, can take time to receive. I don't know that by July, all your documents would be arrived yet in your mail.
L.M. answers from Houston on May 17, 2010
Since your son's father is not on the birth certificate, you will have nothing to worry about. You will both need passports, if you don't already have them. Since the father is not listed on the birth certificate, you should not have to produce a death certificate to apply for the passport for your son (there is no father listed that you have to prove is deceased). Rules for an underage child require that both parents on the birth certificate be present when presenting the passport application.
Currently, only Mexico and Canada require a certified letter from a not-present parent when taking a child into their country. However, at the travel agency I work for, we highly recommend that the traveling parent get one from the non-traveling parent no matter what country they are traveling to.
Passports are currently taking about 4 weeks for normal processing. For full information and to print a copy of the passport application, go to www.travel.state.gov.
You can also go to this web-st to see what documents are needed to travel to Egypt. You can look up Egypt to see if a visa is required for travel. If you are going as part of a tour group or cruise, they typically take care of getting any needed visas. But, you will need to check with the tour group or cruise line to verify this.