Semestral or summer school breaks are great opportunities for children to travel abroad.
When traveling with minors, the key to a stress-free journey is advanced preparation. Here are some things to remember:
1. For travels abroad, as a rule of thumb, a child will need a valid passport with at least 6 months left in its expiry period.
2. Always check passports for expiry dates and apply for a renewal passport at the soonest time. The Department of Foreign Affairs is reportedly experiencing some delays in the release of passports with RUSH applications reaching several weeks!
3. A minor (below 18 years old) Filipino who is not traveling with any of his/her parents must have a travel clearance obtained from the DSWD. Click on this link to learn more about the Travel Clearance and who needs it.
4. Parents with pending child custody cases should first obtain a favorable order from the court regarding any foreign travel to avoid being stopped at the airport (port of exit). Some immigration officers don’t bother to check the authority of parents to bring their children out of the country, but others still do.
5. It can be especially stressful to lose a passport when one is abroad. Always keep photocopies of all the pages of a child’s passport to facilitate applications for new ones in case of loss or renewal.
6. Teach children not to accept packages from anyone (friends and relatives included) to be carried or packed in any of their belongings. Prohibited or illegal objects found in their possession during routine airport checks may subject them to penalties simply by having them in their luggage, bags or pockets.
7. Make sure that your child carries a maximum of Php 10,000 (pesos). If more, then you may have to secure prior approval to do so from the Bangko Sentral. I suggest giving your child travelers checks which are typically denominated in US dollars or wherever possible, letting your child carry a supplement credit card that is internationally acceptable to finance his or her needs abroad.