Travel documents for minors
Children’s travelling without parents is regulated not only by legal acts but also by the internal regulations of international carriers. The situation differs when children travel in the Schengen and other than Schengen area.
Travelling in the Schengen countries
A minor may travel alone to the countries belonging to the Schengen Area, that is, without being accompanied by his parents or one of the parents. It is necessary for him to have a passport or an identity card.
It should be noted that some carriers (airlines, bus companies) can establish a different, stricter procedure seeking to ensure the interests of the minors. They might allow a minor travel on his own only from the age of 14 or 16, or they might demand the presence of an accompanying person. In each specific case you should consult with a carrier or an airline.
Travelling in other than the Schengen countries
When travelling in other than the Schengen Area it is important to single out cases when children travel from Lithuania and to Lithuania.
Travelling from Lithuania to other than the Schengen countries
When a minor travels from Lithuania to a foreign country (other than Schengen Area) it is necessary to follow these rules:
- A child who travels to a foreign country that does not belong to the Schengen Area with one of the parents shall need no consent of a second parent.
- If a child travels on his own or with a person accompanying him (rather than with one of his parents) written consent of at least one of the parents or a guardian (carer) must be submitted so that a child can depart on his own or with a person accompanying him. The veracity of the signature must be certified by a notary or by an official of a diplomatic mission or a consular post of the Republic of Lithuania or by an Elder. It is worth making a copy of consent though no legal act provides for that.
- When the child’s surname does not match with that of one of his parents with whom the child is leaving for a foreign country, it is worth to have the certificate of birth of the child.
- When traveling with groups of children on organized trips or with sports, art, science groups, the trip coordinator compiles a list of departing children and accompanying persons, which is submitted to the officials of the border point of the Republic of Lithuania. The child's data shall be included in the list with the written notarised consent of at least one of the child's parents or the legal guardian.
You should also remember that such EU states as Ireland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania are not part of the Schengen Area.
Travelling from other than the Schengen countries to Lithuania
When travelling to Lithuania rather than from Lithuania, or when a minor is registered in a foreign country, rules might differ. The countries which do not belong to the Schengen Area can establish different rules for the children travelling without their parents. In certain cases the rules might be made stricter/easier.
Intending to allow your child to travel alone read the rules of a specific airline company or land carrier carefully and become acquainted with the laws of the country your child is going to. As has already been mentioned, carriers can make the rules, which apply to both travelling in the Schengen Area and beyond it, stricter.
More information on minor travelling can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Lithuanian).