Information

Travel and Relocation

This information page provides information on domestic & international travel and relocation. It will provide advice on the circumstances which require consent to be provided in order to travel domestically or internationally with a child and the options available if consent is not provided.

Introduction


This information page has four individual sub-headings: 
  • Domestic Travel (within the UK)
  • Domestic Relocation (within the UK)
  • Foreign Travel (outside the UK)
  • Foreign Relocation (outside the UK)
Each sub-heading provides the legal position according to three common scenarios which are listed below: 
Scenario 1: 
I have a Special Guardianship Order, a Residence Order (granted before 22/04/2014) or I am named as the person with whom the child lives under a Child Arrangements Order. 
Scenario 2: 
There is a court order in place that regulates arrangements relating to the children, i.e. Special Guardianship Order, Residence Order or Child Arrangements Order and I am the non-resident parent. 
Scenario 3: 
There is no court order in place that regulates arrangements relating to the children, i.e. Special Guardianship Order, Residence Order or Child Arrangements Order. 

NOTE: This information page provides the general legal position. There are circumstances in which a court order has terms included which are specific to the case in question and contradict the general legal position explained below. Therefore, consult the court order (if there is a court order in place) as this will take precedence. 


Domestic Travel (within the UK)


Scenario 1
Answer:
There is not a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility. However, there is an exception to this rule if the travel would coincide with the court ordered contact time of the non-resident parent. In this circumstance, consent would be required in order to travel and arrangements should be made in order to compensate the non-resident parent for their missed contact.
Scenario 2
Answer:
There is not a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility as long as the travel takes place during their court ordered contact time. 
There is a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility or the permission of the court (through a Specific Issue Order) if the travel would take place outside of their court ordered contact time. 
Scenario 3
Answer:
There is not a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility. 
We strongly recommend that consent be sought of all those with parental responsibility or seek the permission of the court (through a Specific Issue Order) if travelling for an extended period of time. 

Domestic Relocation (within the UK)


Scenario 1
Answer:
Strictly speaking, there is not a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility. However, there is a requirement on the person with whom the child lives to continue providing any court ordered contact that the non-resident parent has. The relocating parent would need to consider applying for a variation of the order if it is not feasible to continue providing the court ordered contact, due to distance for example. 
We strongly recommend that consent be sought of all those with parental responsibility or seek the permission of the court (through a Specific Issue Order) if looking to relocate within the UK as it is a potentially significant change in the child’s life. 
Scenario 2
Answer:
There is a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility or the permission of the court (through a Specific Issue Order) as it would be a clear breach of the order otherwise. 
Scenario 3
Answer:
Strictly speaking, there is not a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility. 
We strongly recommend that consent be sought of all those with parental responsibility or seek the permission of the court (through a Specific Issue Order) if looking to relocate within the UK as it is a potentially significant change in the child’s life. 

Foreign Travel (outside of the UK) 


Scenario 1
Answer:
In the case of being the person with whom the child lives with under a Special Guardianship Order, there is not a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility as long as the duration of travel does not exceed three months.
In the case of being the person with whom the child lives with under a Residence Order or a Child Arrangements Order, there is not a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility as long as the duration of travel does not exceed 28 days. 
There is a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility or seek the permission of the court (through a Specific Issue Order) if the duration of travel exceeds three months or 28 days respectively. 
Scenario 2
Answer:
There is a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility or the permission of the court (through a Specific Issue Order).
Scenario 3
Answer:
There is a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility or the permission of the court (through a Specific Issue Order). 

Foreign Relocation (outside of the UK) 


Scenario 1
Answer:
There is a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility or the permission of the court (through a Removal from Jurisdiction Order).
Scenario 2
Answer:
There is a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility or the permission of the court (through a Removal from Jurisdiction Order).
Scenario 3
Answer:
There is a legal requirement to obtain the consent of all those with parental responsibility or the permission of the court (through a Removal from Jurisdiction Order).

What legal steps can I take if I do not obtain the consent of other persons with parental responsibility?

If you are unable to obtain the consent of other persons with parental responsibility, it is possible to seek the permission of the court.

There is a legal requirement to attempt mediation before an application can be made to court. For more information see our page on Family Mediation.

If mediation is unsuccessful, an application can be made to court for a Specific Issue Order or a Removal from Jurisdiction Order depending on the circumstances. A Removal from Jurisdiction Order would be necessary if relocating abroad on a permanent basis or for a considerable duration of time whereas a Specific Issue Order would be used in all other circumstances. 

The relevant court form to make an application for a Specific Issue Order would be a C100 form

For further information on Removal from Jurisdiction please see our How to Guide

In what format should consent be provided? 

We advise that consent be written in the form of a letter and it is signed and dated and includes the contact details of all those with parental responsibility. 

It is also worth checking with the travel operator and border control agencies whether any other forms of evidence will be required in order to prove that the child is travelling with the appropriate consent. The evidence required will often differ according to the destination and how strict their individual requirements are. 

Please note that some countries have very strict visa requirements. We are aware that since June 2015, South Africa has extra requirements where only one parent is travelling with a child under 18, where a child is unaccompanied or where a child is travelling with someone other than their parent(s). For more information see the government South Africa entry requirements page.

For information on other country travel requirements consult the government Foreign Travel Advice page.


What can I do if I do not provide consent but the parent or other person with parental responsibility intends to travels/relocate with the child regardless?

An application can be made to court for a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent a parent or other person with parental responsibility from travelling/relocating with the child. 

The application for a prohibited steps order would be made on a C100 form but the applicant is legally required to attempt mediation with the respondent prior to making the application to court. 

Please note that it is possible to apply for a prohibited steps order to prevent a parent or other person with parental responsibility from travelling/relocating with the child even if they are not legally required to seek consent before travelling/relocating. 

View our information page on Abduction which explains the legal position if the child has been taken out of the UK without the required consent. 

What can I do if my child has been taken somewhere within England and Wales and I do not know their whereabouts? 

There is the option of making an application to court for ‘disclosure of a child’s whereabouts’. For further information please view our page on Locating a child.