Statue mother & child

Travelling abroad with children

Don’t be caught unprepared at the airport if you’re flying with your children. Learn what the rules are for travelling abroad with your children.

The holiday season is upon us, with the summer months bringing the most popular time for travel. If you are an international parent travelling with your child(ren), here is what you should know.

Written permission for holidays abroad

In the Netherlands, a parent travelling with their child must have permission from the other parent to take their child abroad. If the other parent has legal, parental obligations, then you must first obtain their written permission to leave the country.

To obtain permission, you need to fill out a content letter from the Centrum Internationale Kinderontvoering (the International Centre for Child Abduction). The letter asks for the name(s) and age(s) of your child(ren), the length of your trip and other information. This letter requires the signature of both you and your (ex) partner (the other parent).

This letter is required regardless of whether or not you are still in a relationship with the parent of your child. We hear from our clients that officials at Schiphol are requesting this letter with increasing frequency before allowing parents to travel with their child.

What to do if the other parent refuses permission for the holiday

If your former partner will not give you permission to travel with your child, you can apply for permission from a court, and these hearings can be scheduled at short notice. The judge will take a number of factors into account, including whether or not the country to which you are travelling is a signatory to The Hague Abduction Convention.

In a recent case with GMW lawyers, an Indonesian parent’s request to travel with her child to a family wedding in Indonesia was rejected on the grounds that the country is not a signatory to the Convention.

Moving abroad with your child

If your child is a resident of the Netherlands, then regardless of their citizenship the rules of The Hague Abduction Convention apply to them. The Convention is an agreement between nearly 100 countries which aims to eliminate child abduction.

Prior to moving abroad with your child(ren), you must obtain permission from the other parent. If you want to move during the process of separation, you can put this in your parenting plan. If you decide to move later, you will need to update your parenting plan.

Before agreeing to the move, th eother parent may request changes to the parenting plan, such as an increase in the number of holidays they are allowed to spend with the child(ren), or other specific requests. One of our Dutch clients, for instance, requested that his children be enrolled in Dutch language courses while residing abroad.

What to do if the other parent refuses permission for the move

If you are unable to get permission from the other parent to move abroad, you can ask permission from the court. The judge will take various criteria into account, the most important of which is what is in the best interests of the child(ren).

Expert help in family law for internationals

Legal Expat Desk provides experts in family law for internationals. We know how complicated and deeply personal custody cases are, and can answer your questions about divorce, parenting plans and more.

Contact our lawyers or submit your question online.


This article was published in The Hague Online magazine.