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View Full Version : Single mom / only one listed on birth certificate / do i need letter to travel???


c-pinay
July 29th, 2009, 12:21 AM
Hi,

This is my first post, been a lurker for years. I'm going on my 3rd Carnival cruise (Montego Bay, Cayman Islands, Cozumel) on 8/23 (next month), my last cruise was in 2004 so from what I've read things have changed since my last one.

Anyway, I'm a single mom of a 16 mth and I've read the posts about needing a letter especially for Mexico. I'm the only one listed on her birth certificate and she has a passport. So will I need some type of documentation that I have sole legal and physical custody. Her father from the start has never been in the picture.

Hope someone can help, so I can get the process started asap if I need documentation. Thanks in advance!

beachchick
July 29th, 2009, 05:30 AM
Generally, yes for some countries you will need a copy of whatever documents give you sole legal and physical custody. Even though the birth certificate only lists you, your child does have a father, and even though your daughter has a passport, neither of those is proof that her father has no custody rights. Immigration agents won't necessarily take your word for it that the father is not involved and that you are the sole legal guardian. Mexico is particularly touchy about this.

You don't need a notarized letter from the father giving permission. That's for when parents both have legal rights to a child and to prevent parental kidnapping out of the country. All you will need is a court document stating your sole custody, especially legal custody. If you don't have anything like that, I suggest you contact your county's Child Welfare Services (or similar). They can help you get through the process with as little fuss as possible.

Have a wonderful time with your precious daughter!:)

beachchick

Kerry's Girls
July 29th, 2009, 11:54 AM
Even though the birth certificate only lists you, your child does have a father,

Have a wonderful time with your precious daughter!:)



I'll be interested to hear how this plays out. I think I usually agree with beachchick, and I'm not a lawyer, but it sounds like the child does not have a father. I'm someone who would rather be over-prepared, but I would have thought for this instance since the birth certificate makes it clear that there is no father, that would be enough.

OP, please let us know if you try to get court docs, and if so, what the court says.

And have a great cruise with your toddler! It's such a wonderful way to go as a single parent (or any kind of parent!).

Best,
Mia

cherylandtk
July 29th, 2009, 01:21 PM
If the certified birth certificate only lists one parent, then you only need to bring that to prove sole legal custody.

6rugrats
July 29th, 2009, 02:41 PM
If the certified birth certificate only lists one parent, then you only need to bring that to prove sole legal custody.

I believe cherylandtk is correct:

Minor has one parent: If the birth certificate shows that the minor only has one parent, it will be sufficient to hold only a notarized copy of the birth certificate.

FrogLover215
July 30th, 2009, 01:42 AM
My personal experience is that cherrylandtk and 6rugrats are correct. We sailed on Princess 2 years ago (to Alaska and Canada) and brought out DD's 15 YO friend. The friend's birth certificate only listed her mother. The friend's mother gave us a notarized letter stating that we had her permission to travel with the kid, and we boarded with no problem.

(This was before passports were *required* so the friend didn't have one - no idea what effect, if any, having one would have had.)

RLBlack
July 30th, 2009, 01:57 AM
My daughter is a single parent. Our grandson's birth certificate has only her name- and he has a passport. His birth father, has never had a role in his life.

We have all gone to Mexico 6 times and there has never been a question about her custody rights. Airline agents checking documents- they have not commented- At immigration she always hands over the birth certificate, and passport. The agent on the Mexican side- says " have a great vacation"- and on the U.S. side- says "welcome home".

I would not worry about it at all. rlb

lucigo
July 30th, 2009, 08:59 AM
I have been on at least 6 cruises with my older kids and have never been asked for a copy of their dad's death certificate. Better safe than sorry though, I do bring it.

boulders
July 30th, 2009, 10:03 AM
I have been on at least 6 cruises with my older kids and have never been asked for a copy of their dad's death certificate. Better safe than sorry though, I do bring it.

And I'm asked for mine almost every time. It's best to have the proper documents. Parents have been denied boarding without it.

cherylandtk
July 30th, 2009, 10:41 AM
Just to clarify a bit; these are two different situations. There is a difference between having a deceased father (who IS listed on the birth certificate) and not having a father listed in the first place. In the former, it is often required to provide the death certificate.

Here is another oddity: In the case of a single parent - only one listed on the BC - and a child with a passport; it may be necessary to bring both the BC and the passport when traveling. The BC proves the single parent custody which the passport does not. A passport is an ID and citizenship document; it is not unlimited travel permission for a minor.

6rugrats
July 30th, 2009, 11:44 AM
Just to clarify a bit; these are two different situations. There is a difference between having a deceased father (who IS listed on the birth certificate) and not having a father listed in the first place. In the former, it is often required to provide the death certificate.

Here is another oddity: In the case of a single parent - only one listed on the BC - and a child with a passport; it may be necessary to bring both the BC and the passport when traveling. The BC proves the single parent custody which the passport does not. A passport is an ID and citizenship document; it is not unlimited travel permission for a minor.

Exactly correct, and a distinction that is confused by so many people who constantly post incorrect information about this issue!

beachchick
July 31st, 2009, 06:28 AM
Hm, interesting about the BC and only one parent listed. I know that it varies from state to state, but some states do not consider the fact that only one parent is listed as that parent automatically having all parental rights. I think that may be because a woman (obviously, not sexist here--it's we women who actually have the babies and who give the information for the BC) wants to keep the father out of the child's life for whatever reason (generally, good ones, no doubt). But a birth father in some states automatically does have parental rights, even if he's not listed on the BC. Of course, he has to prove paternity and so forth, but nevertheless, a single parent BC doesn't give the mother sole legal and physical custody just because she doesn't list the father's name.

I'd be interested to know what Mexico's legal stance is on this. As we all know, just because someone has never been asked to prove sole legal custody doesn't mean that no one in that situation has ever been asked. What does Mexico say specifically about a single-parent BC as proof of sole legal custody? Because I know for a fact that some US states do not consider it proof, I would suggest that having a court document verify it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to do.

beachchick

cherylandtk
July 31st, 2009, 06:11 PM
Well, I cannot speak for every state, much less Mexico, but the federal government says if only one parent is listed on the birth certificate, then that parent has sole authority for the child.

Submit primary evidence of sole authority to apply for the child with one of the following:
-Minor's certified U.S. or foreign birth certificate listing only the applying parent...
from: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/minors/minors_834.html

If it is good enough for the feds, I imagine that is all one needs getting into and out of the country. I know of several single-listed parents on these boards who have travelled to Mexico on cruises with no trouble using the BC as proof of their sole authority over the child.

tinkherbelle
August 2nd, 2009, 06:36 PM
Hi,

This is my first post, been a lurker for years. I'm going on my 3rd Carnival cruise (Montego Bay, Cayman Islands, Cozumel) on 8/23 (next month), my last cruise was in 2004 so from what I've read things have changed since my last one.

Anyway, I'm a single mom of a 16 mth and I've read the posts about needing a letter especially for Mexico. I'm the only one listed on her birth certificate and she has a passport. So will I need some type of documentation that I have sole legal and physical custody. Her father from the start has never been in the picture.

Hope someone can help, so I can get the process started asap if I need documentation. Thanks in advance!


I was in exactly the same boat. I never had any papers until I took him to court and never had a problem with Mexico and Jamaica. If you have custody papers bring them by all means. I have never been asked for them but tote them along just in case. Only my name is on the bc and her last name is the same as mine.

Jewel99
August 2nd, 2009, 07:38 PM
Interesting thread and something I'm sure my sister will have to consider as her son gets older. She's a single parent and had a child through a donor, so no 'father' would be listed... but I seem to remember that the birth certificate does indicate this as opposed to "unknown".

We also always have concerns when we travel with our son as he's adopted and looks different from us (he's Korean and we are caucasian). Even with a passport for all three of us, we've been warned by other parents who have adopted internationally to expect a lot more questions and scrutiny than other families might go through. I have no issues with ensure children are with their legal parents/guardians and can legally travel, so I'm sure it won't be an issue at all - but we do always give ourselves extra time when crossing a border, and getting through security, etc.

mamajules
August 5th, 2009, 02:02 PM
I am a single mother of a now 16 year old. I am the only one listed on his birth certificate as parent, no father listed - the "sperm donor" as I call him was gone from our lives while I was still pregnant. I have been on three cruises with my son to Mexico, Grand Cayman, St. Martin, Belize, Roatan, etc. We have NEVER had a problem about needing anything but his official birth certificate and picture ID - he has a passport now. There was never a need for a letter, court papers regarding custody (which there are none - situation never arose), etc.