Posted March 27th, 2009, 06:19 AM
That form is the one to use, particularly in cases such as the one you have described where the absent parent has made no contact with the child. Just clearly state the same information, date of last contact, last known whereabouts, what has been done to try and find him, who (and when) in his family was contacted to try and establish his current location, etc. Payment of child support is probably irrelevant for this case unless it establishes a last known location and date. Go ahead and have your sister (?) apply for your nephew's passport now, so that if there IS a delay, it can be resolved before the cruise final payment deadline.
LBNL, possession of a passport does not automatically give travel permission; although rarely asked for, a travel permission letter can be requested if a child is not accompanied by both parents. Your sister really should legally clear up the custody matter. It probably won't be an issue for the cruise, because those travel letters are rarely requested if the child is travelling with one parent and/or grandparents, but it could become a problem in the future.
Excellent advice. Parents often do not realize that having a passport for their child doesn't constitute permission to travel out of the country. Some countries are very strict in requiring permission, even when the child's parents are married. It has to do with parental child abductions. Some people will write that they've "never been asked to show proof, so don't bother/worry about it." This will do no good at all if you're one of the parents who is required by any of the various agents to show proof. This can even happen when returning to the US. Many members here have reported that the US immigrations agents have asked for the appropriate paperwork at the end of the cruise. Others, typically when the parents are married and didn't even consider that the rule might apply in that case, have reported frantically calling their spouse to "fill out a letter, get it notarized, and fax it here right now
or we're not going to be allowed to board!" Better safe than sorry.
Proof that one parent gives permission for the other parent to take the child out of the country/into another country can be a notarized signed note/letter from the non-traveling parent; court papers showing that the traveling parent has full/sole physical and
legal custody; proof that the other parent has died (official death certificate); or a court order, usually from a family court judge, stating the that traveling parent has the court's permission to travel with the child (this is used when the other parent can't be found, hasn't been in the child's life ever, or the parents are divorced and the ex is being a PITA and "punishing" their ex by denying permission for no good reason).
: I hope everything works out and that you all have a wonderful cruise.