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

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Family Cruises
Cruising with kids? Best Family Cruise Advice
Cruise Critic's Family Cruising Resources
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 05:26 AM.
#1
2 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
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!
#2
12,048 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
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
#3
2,788 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by beachchick
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
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#4
New Mexico
14,737 Posts
Joined May 2004
If the certified birth certificate only lists one parent, then you only need to bring that to prove sole legal custody.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature




Been There Done That:Emerald Princess Oct 2017 Hawaii-Tahiti-Samoa, Crown Princess Jan 2017 Cape Horn, Regal Princess Sep 2016, Diamond Princess Feb-Mar 2016, Royal Princess Oct. 2015, Africa Sept. 2015, Caribbean Princess Dec. 2014, Ruby Princess Dec. 2014, Crown Princess April 2013, Crown Princess Oct/Nov 2012, Grand Princess Dec 2011, Sapphire Princess March 2011, Emerald Princess July 2010, Maui by Kayak March 2008, Grand Princess March 2007 (Man Overboard Cruise) Carnival Spirit March 2006, Golden Princess June 2004, Star Princess July 2002, Ryndam June 1998, Nordic Prince 1986, Norway 1984
#5
14,689 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by cherylandtk
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.
#6
235 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
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.)
#7
Juneau, Alaska
410 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
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
#8
Richmond, VA/Pace, FL
1,066 Posts
Joined May 2007
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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Luci

Carnival (Sunshine x2, Holiday x2, Conquest x3, Fantasy x3, Elation x2, Celebration x2, Fascination, Triumph, Paradise, Splendor, Breeze)
RCCL (Majesty of the Seas)
Holland America (Eurodam)
Disney (Fantasy) 5/2/2015

Next: Carnival Pride 10/29/2017
#9
Toronto
3,517 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Previous Cruises

49 nights with RCCL, 7 nights with Carnival, 11 nights with Disney, 14 nights with Princess, 45 nights with HAL
#10
New Mexico
14,737 Posts
Joined May 2004
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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature




Been There Done That:Emerald Princess Oct 2017 Hawaii-Tahiti-Samoa, Crown Princess Jan 2017 Cape Horn, Regal Princess Sep 2016, Diamond Princess Feb-Mar 2016, Royal Princess Oct. 2015, Africa Sept. 2015, Caribbean Princess Dec. 2014, Ruby Princess Dec. 2014, Crown Princess April 2013, Crown Princess Oct/Nov 2012, Grand Princess Dec 2011, Sapphire Princess March 2011, Emerald Princess July 2010, Maui by Kayak March 2008, Grand Princess March 2007 (Man Overboard Cruise) Carnival Spirit March 2006, Golden Princess June 2004, Star Princess July 2002, Ryndam June 1998, Nordic Prince 1986, Norway 1984
#11
14,689 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by cherylandtk
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!
#12
12,048 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
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
#13
New Mexico
14,737 Posts
Joined May 2004
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...inors_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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature




Been There Done That:Emerald Princess Oct 2017 Hawaii-Tahiti-Samoa, Crown Princess Jan 2017 Cape Horn, Regal Princess Sep 2016, Diamond Princess Feb-Mar 2016, Royal Princess Oct. 2015, Africa Sept. 2015, Caribbean Princess Dec. 2014, Ruby Princess Dec. 2014, Crown Princess April 2013, Crown Princess Oct/Nov 2012, Grand Princess Dec 2011, Sapphire Princess March 2011, Emerald Princess July 2010, Maui by Kayak March 2008, Grand Princess March 2007 (Man Overboard Cruise) Carnival Spirit March 2006, Golden Princess June 2004, Star Princess July 2002, Ryndam June 1998, Nordic Prince 1986, Norway 1984
#14
NY
792 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by c-pinay
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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
<a href="http://www.ucruiser.com/"><img src="http://www.ucruiser.com/ticker/carni...sn26q92sus.png" alt="Cruise Countdown Tickers" border="0"/></a>



A PROUD MEMBER OF FRITOS BANDITOS
Creative Director
#15
Ontario, Canada
370 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Julie
E-mail Me!

#16
Knoxville, TN, USA
936 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Jules












Sunshine 9/29/18
Paradise 10/9/17
Conquest 10/29/16
Paradise 2/1/16
Dream 10/25/15

Sunshine 9/20/14
Fantasy 10/28/13
Legend 10/28/12
Fantasy 1/1/11
Legend 10/18/09
Holiday 7/19/08
Glory 10/20/07
Pride 3/22/03
Jubilee 12/29/01


"Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard your call"
#17
1 Posts
Joined Jul 2015
Originally posted by mamajules
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.

Can I ask how you got a passport without the father? I am in the same situation and needing passport. No father listed on Birth Certificate. Thanks.
#19
2,175 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
A little different twist. My daughter is a single mom with a child out of wedlock.
Fathers name is on BC. During custody litigation daughter has as part of agreement has sole custody with a court order that child is to maintain passport, updated as needed and father cannot interfere or try to restrict international travel of either of them.
#20
36 Posts
Joined May 2014
I specifically asked this question when getting our passports and was told that the BC lists only me-so the LAW states it's only me! I'm bringing BC and passport.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature