This is the time of year when many divorced parents take their kids abroad for part of their winter break or vacation. Usually, these are happy excursions and their other parent has given permission for the trip. You will need, however, your children’s passport to do this.
Sadly, however, some parents or other family members take children out of the country without the other parent’s knowledge. Or they fail to return them from a trip as scheduled. (See other mistakes parents can make.)
Children’s Passport Issuance and Alert Program
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, the U.S. Department of State has created the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program. If a custodial parent or legal guardian register a child in the CPIAP, they will then receive notification if anyone submits an application for the child’s passport.
Many children already have a passport, however. Either one issued in the U.S. or by another country, when their parent's divorce. You can, however, still enroll a child who already has a U.S. passport in the CPIAP. You will then be notified if a renewal application is submitted. If you’re concerned about your child being taken abroad without your consent, then you can seek a court order to have the passport surrendered.
Also, if your child has dual citizenship, you can also make a request to a foreign consulate or embassy in that country to not issue a passport. However, other countries need not honor those requests. And the State Department cannot prevent them from issuing a passport to one of their own nationals.
Be Proactive with Passports and Kids
Do you have concerns about someone taking your child out of the country without permission? If so, the best thing to do is to discuss the matter with your family law attorney. He or she can then help you do everything possible to prevent it.
Source: U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, “International Parental Child Abduction – Frequently Asked Questions,” accessed Dec. 14, 2016