You must get the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for a child or from a court before taking the child abroad.

Taking a child abroad without permission is child abduction.

You automatically have parental responsibility if you’re the child’s mother, but you still need the permission of anyone else with parental responsibility before you take the child abroad.

You can take a child abroad for 28 days without getting permission if a child arrangement order says the child must live with you, unless a court order says you can’t.

Get permission from someone with parental responsibility

A letter from the person with parental responsibility for the child is usually enough to show you’ve got permission to take them abroad.

You might be asked for the letter at a UK or foreign border, or if there’s a dispute about taking a child abroad. The letter should include the other person’s contact details and details about the trip.

It also helps if you’ve:

  • evidence of your relationship with the child, eg a birth or adoption certificate
  • a divorce or marriage certificate, if you are a single parent but your family name is different from the child’s

Get permission from a court

  • You’ll need to apply to a court for permission to take a child abroad if you haven’t got permission from the other people with parental responsibility.
  • You must give details of the trip, eg the date of departure, when and how you’re returning, and contact details of people with parental responsibility staying in the UK.
  • You must give more information if you’re taking the child abroad for a longer trip, eg what education the child will get while they’re abroad.

Holidays in term time

You have to get permission from the head teacher if you want to take your child out of school during term time.

You can only do this if:

  • you make an application to the head teacher in advance (as a parent the child normally lives with)
  • there are exceptional circumstances

It’s up to the head teacher how many days your child can be away from school if leave is granted.

You can be fined for taking your child on holiday during term time without the school’s permission.

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