Travelling with minors to Portugal is an exciting and rewarding experience for families. It is a country filled with beautiful scenery, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine that makes it the perfect destination for parents and their children. Before embarking on this journey, however, it is important to consider the legal requirements of travelling internationally with minors.
Travelling with minors requires specific authorizations for Portuguese minors entering and exiting the country. Both parents must sign these authorizations if they are married or by the parent who has legal custody if they are not.
If a minor is travelling alone, they must have a travel authorization signed by both parents. Children whose parents are not married can travel without entry/exit authorization if they are accompanied by one of the parents. If they are travelling alone, only the consent of the parent with whom they usually reside is required.
The travel authorization must be in writing, dated, and include the signature of the person exercising parental authority. This signature must be legalized by the Consulate if the minor holds Portuguese nationality. The authorization also allows for third-party monitoring and includes proper identification.
The travel authorization can be used indefinitely within the validity period mentioned on the document, which may not exceed one calendar year.
To obtain the authorization, the following documents are required:
- A valid Citizen Card or ID Card from both parents or the Citizen Card or
- ID Card of the mother if the child is the son/daughter of a single, separated, divorced or widowed mother.
- The Citizen Card or ID Card of the parent exercising custodial authority,
- proof of address, and
- ID document of the minor.
If the minor’s parents are married:
- If the minor is traveling alone, the travel authorization must be signed by one of the parents.
- If the minor is traveling with only one of the parents, authorization from the other parent is not required. However, the non-traveling parent may express their intentions regarding the trip by contacting the nearest Portuguese consulate and the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) in Portugal. They should provide the complete identification of both the minor and the parent, as well as their address and contact information, a copy of their citizen card or ID card, and the minor’s birth certificate.
If a parent wishes to express their opposition to their minor child traveling with only the other parent, they must contact the nearest Portuguese consulate and the SEF in Portugal and provide the required information. Note that although this is not a judicial injunction preventing the minor from leaving Portugal, this expression of intent is assigned a validity period of 6 months.
If the minor’s parents are divorced or legally separated:
- The travel authorization must be signed by the person holding parental responsibility.
- If custodial parenthood belongs to both parents, the authorization must be signed by both of them. If a parent has not had any contact with the child for several years, the court decision must be submitted, and the authorization may only be signed by the parent with whom the minor legally resides.
If the affiliation is established only in relation to one parent, usually the mother, the travel authorization must be signed by that parent who acknowledged the child and must also compulsorily submit the child’s birth certificate and the “full transcript of birth certificate” if the child was born in the United States.
If the minor’s parents are not married:
- If the minor is traveling alone, the travel authorization must be signed by the parent with whom the minor regularly resides.
- If one parent is deceased, the travel authorization must be signed by the other parent upon presentation of the death certificate.
- If the minor is entrusted to a third party or an institution, the travel authorization must be signed by the holder of parental authority upon presentation of the court sentence or by the Director, or their representative, from the minors protection service upon presentation of the court order.
- If the minor is under guardianship, the travel authorization must be signed by the guardian appointed by the court, upon presentation of the respective judgement.
- If the minor has been adopted, the travel authorization must be signed by the foster parent(s).
- If the adoption process is not yet completed, the travel authorization must be signed by the foster parent(s), upon presentation of the court order certificate that entrusts the child custody.
- The emancipated minor by marriage does not need a travel authorization, but must present a marriage certificate to prove the status of emancipation.
Consulate provides the application forms.
Please contact the nearest consulate or Boots on the ground Portugal team for the documents or updates regularly on this topic.
Useful resources – SEF Contact, Boots on the ground Portugal team/Heather’s Facebook