For volunteers who are under 18 on their departure date for the trip, we strongly recommend the optional step of traveling with a Permission to Travel Letter for Minors.
This is a letter that your parents create that grants you permission to travel outside your country of residence or citizenship.
You would carry this letter and present it to airline staff and/or immigration officials upon request.
As a minor, you should carry a Permission Letter with you if you are:
1) Traveling abroad “Unaccompanied” OR 2) Traveling abroad WITH only ONE of your parent(s)/guardian(s).
You are considered an “Unaccompanied” minor as long as you’re not with your parent(s) or legal guardian(s). So if even if you will be accompanied on your volunteer trip abroad with friends, your church, teacher and/or by staff of a volunteer organization like Cosmic Volunteers – you will still be considered “Unaccompanied” by authorities because you are not with your parent(s) or guardian(s).
Note that the Permission Letter MUST be filled out in the presence of a NOTARY PUBLIC.
BOTH natural parents or legal guardians must sign the Permission Letter — even if divorced. Step-parents CANNOT sign, unless the child has been legally adopted, in which case, legal documentation supporting this must be attached and notarized.
Permission letters for minors to travel abroad are not usually required – whether by an airline, immigration department, school, volunteer organization, or host family. However, there are important benefits to having a permission letter for your trip:
First, you will be have peace of mind in case you DO get asked for such a letter by one of the entities above – especially if you’re at the check-in counter at the airport or at the immigration desk after landing in the host country.
Second, carrying proper documentation to travel as a minor is a good practice to help prevent the ongoing and tragic reality around the world involving human trafficking as well as the transport of runaways and children involved in custody disputes.
Our template for Permission to Travel Letter for Minors
Permission Letter For Unaccompanied Minor To Travel
(This letter MUST be signed in the presence of a NOTARY PUBLIC in order to be valid)
We ________________________________________ AND ________________________________________,
(PRINT name of Parent/Guardian #1) (PRINT name of Parent/Guardian #2)
the Legal Parents/Guardians of ____________________________________________, a minor,
(PRINT name of Son/Daughter)
give our permission for our Son/Daughter to travel to ________________________________________
(PRINT name of Host Country)
on a volunteer trip with Cosmic Volunteers, Inc.
during the following dates: _________________________ to _________________________.
Parent/Guardian #1 Signature: ______________________________________ Date: ________________
Parent/Guardian #2 Signature: ______________________________________ Date: ________________
TO BE FILLED OUT BY A NOTARY PUBLIC:
The above parties signed and sworn before me on (MM/DD/Year): ______________________________
Notary Public Signature: ____________________________________________________________________
Notary Public in and for the Country of: _________________________________________________________
and the State of: _____________________________________________________________________________
My commission expires: _______________________________
Notary Seal or Stamp: