Travel to Ireland with a child under 18

The following is intended to provide practical information which you may find useful when travelling to Ireland with children in your care. A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 who is not or has not been married.

Safeguarding children travelling to Ireland

INIS is committed to the highest standards in child safeguarding. In the course of our work at the border, we inevitably deal with children and our officers need to be alert to the possibility of a child protection issue arising. Thankfully, in the vast majority of our encounters with children, no such issues arise but we must remain alert to the risk. Possible child protection issues include human trafficking and the exploitation of children.

In circumstances where concerns emerge or remain in relation to the welfare of any children, immigration officers will refer such children to Tusla, the statutory agency responsible for the welfare of children.

General advice

The following is intended to provide practical information that you may find useful when travelling to Ireland with a minor in your care or for minors travelling unaccompanied by an adult. These are guidelines only. You are under no obligation to carry this supplementary documentation. However, where an immigration officer considers it necessary to make further inquiries, this documentation may help to clarify matters, in particular regarding family relationships.

It should be noted that airlines/carriers might have separate policies in relation to the children.

Minors travelling unaccompanied

It is advisable that anyone under the age of 18, not in the care/company of an adult, presents the following documentation:

Evidence of consent from a parent or guardian of the child, such as:

  • A signed letter from the child’s parent(s)/guardian giving consent for travel and providing his/her contact details
  • A copy of a document identifying the parent/guardian, e.g. a copy of the picture page of a passport or driving licence
  • Evidence of the parent/guardian relationship with the child, e.g. a copy of a birth or adoption certificate, or guardianship papers
  • A death certificate in the case of a deceased parent

If the minor is not ordinarily resident in Ireland:

  • Full address of where they will be staying
  • Full contact details of who they will be staying with

Meeting an unaccompanied minor on arrival

An immigration officer may also seek to establish the relationship between an unaccompanied minor and any adult meeting the child on arrival at an airport, before permitting the child to enter the State. In this case the immigration officer may seek similar documentation to that outlined above.

Travelling with a minor who is not your child / has a different surname

It is advisable that children under the age of 18 present to an immigration officer as part of their family unit or group and not individually.

An immigration officer may ask questions to establish the identity of persons presenting at the border. In the case where a minor is accompanied by an adult with a different surname or by a person who is not his/her parent, the officer may seek to determine the relationship between the minor and accompanying adult. It is important to note that in a situation where a child is travelling with one parent only, an immigration officer may seek evidence of consent from the child’s other parent.

It is advisable to have the following documentation for presentation to an immigration officer to assist with such enquiries:

Evidence that you are a parent or guardian of the child, such as copies or originals of:

  • A birth or adoption certificate, or guardianship papers showing your relationship with the child
  • A marriage / divorce certificate if you are the child’s parent but have a different surname to the child
  • A death certificate in the case of a deceased parent

Evidence of consent from a parent or guardian of the child, such as:

  • A signed letter from the child’s parent(s)/guardian giving consent for travel with you and providing his/her contact details
  • A copy of a document identifying the parent/guardian, e.g. a copy of the picture page of a passport or driving licence
  • Evidence of the parent/guardian relationship with the child, e.g. a copy of a birth or adoption certificate, or guardianship papers

Groups travelling with Minors (e.g. school tour groups)

It is advisable that groups organise themselves as follows when presenting to Immigration Control on arrival:

  • Groups consisting of both adults and minors should gather in the immigration hall in advance of presentation to an immigration officer
  • The group leader is advised to make themselves known to a member of immigration staff, if available
  • The adult group leader should present to the immigration officer first and should have the following documentation ready to present to the immigration officer:
     
    1. A list of all members in the group
    2. For each child:
    • (2a.) A letter of consent for travel with the adult group leader from each minor’s parent(s)/guardian(s), including contact details
    • (2b.) A copy of a birth or adoption certificate, or guardianship papers showing the parent(s)/guardian(s) relationship with the child
    • (2c.) A copy of marriage / divorce certificate in the case where the child’s parent has a different surname to the child
    • (2d.) A copy of the parent/guardian’s passport or state identity document
  • Each child should carry their own passport or identity document
 

Carrying relevant documentation to support your particular circumstances will ensure that your experience through immigration control will be as fast and efficient as possible.

Contact

If you have questions please contact us by email bmu@justice.ie.

Updated: 20 September 2018

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