Due to the increasing incidents of child abductions in disputed custody cases and as possible victims of child pornography, Customs and Border Protection(CBP)strongly recommends that unless the child is accompanied by both parents, the adult have a note from the child's other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, friends - a note signed by both parents) stating "I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter/group. He/She/They has/have my permission to do so."
CBP also suggests that this note be notarized.
While CBP may not ask to see this documentation, if they do ask, and you do not have it, you may be detained until the circumstances of the child traveling without both parents can be fully assessed. If there is no second parent with legal claims to the child (deceased, sole custody, etc.) any other relevant paperwork, such as a court decision, birth certificate naming only one parent, death certificate, etc., would be useful.
Adults traveling with children should also be aware that, while the U.S. does not require this documentation, many other countries do; failure to produce notarized permission letters and/or birth certificates could result in travelers being refused entry (Canada has very strict requirements in this regard).
If a child (under the age of 18) is traveling with only one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian, it’s important to know what paperwork should the adult have to indicate permission or legal authority to have that child in their care.
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Notaries have the power to impart an official imprimatur to a document or transaction. There are a plethora of judicial opinions that declare Notaries are “public officers.” (See, e.g., Britton v. Nicolls, 104 U.S. 757, 765 (1881); Werner v. Werner, 526 P.2d 370, 376 (Wash. 1974); and Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. Burt Thomas-Aitken Const. Co., 230 A.2d 498, 499 (N.J. 1967).) But public official status is different for a Notary than for many other public officials. Unlike some public officials, e.g., elected officers, appointed administrators or policemen, a Notary is not a government employee, per se. This distinction can have far-reaching ramifications, especially in the area of personal liability.
Usually Notaries are not afforded the sovereign immunity protection routinely available to public officials acting within the scope of their authority. Indeed, in some jurisdictions the enabling statute identifies the Notary as a quasi-public official (see, e.g., Kan. Stat. Ann. § 53-101; and Mo. Rev. Stat. § 486.220.3) and in others the same result has been reached by court decision (see, e.g., Transamerica Ins. Co. v. Valley Nat’l Bank, 462 P.2d 814, 817 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1969); and Ely Walker Dry Goods Co. v. Smith, 160 P. 898, 900 (Okla. 1916)). These classifications, however, are primarily for liability purposes, and do not detract from the central thesis that a Notary is a public official empowered by the states to perform specified duties.
Notary should be identify as a public servant because notarial services are rendered to the public at large under the authority of state statutory rules. Notaries are important functionaries who are obligated to serve individual members of the public. Although notarial acts benefit the public at large by fostering reliance on various types of documents and acts, Notaries nevertheless are distinguishable from other public servants whose primary obligations are to the public as a whole, instead of individual members. My Express Notary does it the right way! Unlike other notary companies.