Procedures for grand kids in customs declarations

We take grand kids to Cozumel and Progresso out of Galveston.  When we check in all they want is passports and boarding pass, and coming back to U S: some customs officers are o k with passports.  This last trip the customs officer wanted a written letter authorizing us to take them on a cruise. (we were wondering if they would let us in)(he gave us a chewing out)  Our grand kids have the same last name as us, but they live in Arlington.  So to cover our tail we will bring a letter, but this is inconsistant.  Carnival says passport is good enough. Any input would help

Tags: Mexico Cozumel Caribbean - Western

8 Answers

The letter is never a bad idea. With the rash of kidnappings and alien smuggling (including kids) it makes it a lot easier to breeze through Customs/Immigration.

When my kids were little and with grandparents or relatives, I always had a medical release form that I gave them so they could make medical decisions in my absence. Back in those days, an unexpected broken arm or trip to ER meant hours of sitting and waiting until parents could be contacted for medical release.

I would combine some sort of medical release / info with permission to travel from the parents and you cover two possible problems at once....

Coasterking - if you google Permission to treat minor child, there are a zillion simple forms that you could adapt to include permission to travel ...

When my bonus grand cruised with our family, her Dad (my son-in law) brought a statement from her Mom giving him permission to take her out of country and also a medical release form.  Her Mom would never cause any issues, but better safe than sorry.  There used to always be a thread going on FV about this with opinions on both sides, but from what I remember, the "official" answer was always to take the letters in case they were needed.

A letter and contact information of the parents or legal guardian gives the officers insight as to who you are and who the minors are.  If deemed needed you can be sent to secondary if it appears suspicious and will be run through a gauntlet of system checks.  Passport photos of children do not always look the same because kids grow and change quickly.  A letter can be written by anyone and anyone can answer the phone if CBP calls.  They are very astute with minors.  As far as letting you back in the country all USC are allowed in even with no papers.  The officers will determine who you are eventualy.  If someone claims US citizenenship and found fraudulent that person is banned from US travel for 20 years.. Remember, it's the carrier that requires passports because they are responsible for the return of the person who gets kicked out right on primary... 

Hope this helps.

Thanks for confirming the requirement Todd. We haven't taken our grandkids out of the country yet, but it's good to know in case we do sometime.

Thanks for the info.  Will bring all forms

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