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What Legal Documents Do Children Need to Travel?


Children and even infants often need legal documents in order to travel. But what papers or IDs
are required? The answer depends on where you're going, and perhaps even which mode of
transportation you choose.
Here's a general overview of what documents are required for children to travel:
International Travel
All children need some form of government-accepted identification in order to travel
internationally -- if you intend to return to the United States, that is. The Department of
Homeland Security notes that "all children, even infants" need a passport or other Trusted Traveler
Program document to enter the United States.
Can infants get passports? Absolutely. Any U.S. citizen under the age of 16 can get a passport valid
for five years, as long as their parents take them in person to apply. With your child or infant's
passport in hand, you should have no issue taking your child anywhere in the world.
Domestic Travel
By Plane: According to the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), children under 18 don't
need to show ID to travel on a domestic flight, just a boarding pass. In fact, children under the
age of 12 will get to skip a few of the more intrusive parts of airport security.
Still, some airlines will reserve the right to see a birth certificate for infants under the age of 2.
Many airlines offer parents the right to let infants under 2 years of age sit on their parents' laps
(i.e., a "lap child") without purchasing a separate ticket. This birth certificate policy may be a way
to keep parents honest.
By Train: Most children seem fascinated by trains, and you may have a wild hair to take them on
one. Amtrak does not require children under 18 who are accompanied by their parents to carry ID.
However, for unaccompanied children 16 and 17 years old, they will need to show a passport,
driver's license, student ID, or other government ID to purchase a ticket.
By Bus: You shouldn't worry about showing ID on your local transit buses, but if you plan to travel
long distances by bus, you should check the rules of your carrier. For example, Megabus requires
that all children under the age of 17 be accompanied by an adult, and requires a valid passport for
any passengers when crossing the U.S.-Canada border. Greyhound, on the other hand, will allow
children ages 15 and up to travel alone. Generally, interstate bus travel doesn't require
identification for either children or adults.
Be prepared and legally smart when travelling with your kids.
(Original post can be found here: http://bit.ly/1EJJn0s)