Kids leaving France without a parent

I was just wondering if anyone knows whether there are special papers/permission or other to prepare....

My 2 children aged 12 and 16 will be leaving France to visit family this summer. They are going with my brother and sister and will travel by minibus and boat. Obviously I will be giving my brother responsibility of my children, with up-to-date passports. My kids are British (born Lincoln) but we have lived as permanent residents in France for over 10 years now. I heard I may need permission in writing from my Maire....

Does anyone have any info before I wade through websites for an answer :-)


The only advice I'd give if you are travelling by ferry from Dover is to get there in PLENTY of time before your departure time,as even if you have everything ok for you & all in your car there is always a van in front with someone with a complicated problem & it is sooooo stressful seeing the minutes ticking by & being stuck in a queue!!

Depends on the company, but our then seven year old was allowed to travel both ways by arrangement. A member of the cabin staff is allocated the task of meeting the child at check in then handing over to a person already identified as the person receiving the child at the other end. The same in reverse to come back. It involved a small fee. We were told it is fairly common at the beginning and end of school terms when children go back and forth. The likes of Ryanair and EasyJet do not do it though, so bank on higher priced flights to begin with.

Interesting discussion. Can I change the slant a little? What is required to get in and out of UK for children , who are travelling unaccompanied? I know you have to get the airline to accept them but apart from that?

All info on line here:

Well... my Maire knew about it Tracy... he told me this afternoon that it had been scrapped since Jan 2013.

Good idea about the CEAM Kathleen.. merci

I havn't read all your responses Kelly, so don't know if anyone else has mentioned this, but, depending on where your children are going, it may be a good idea to get a Carte Europeenne d'Assurance Maladie for each of them. One quick call to CPAM is all it takes.

Oh gawd, just imagine a mairie that genuinely knows something! That would take a large part of the fun out of my visits to begin with...

Incidentally, I always give my mum a letter giving her full parental responsibility whilst my kids are in the UK - that way they can sign for emergency medical and so on. Don't forget the health cards for them as well.

Here is the official bulletin, the laws have changed and no one at the Mairie knows about it - this has been cancelled since January 2013

I have been through this - at great and frustrating length over a school trip! No, your kids, as British citizens, do not need the Maire's permission - indeed he couldn't even give it for non-French nationals.

Thanks everyone !

I have just got back from the Mairie. I did have other questions for him.. but I asked about the kids leaving France. The 'sortie de territoire' has been scrapped.. from January 2013 ! I don't know if thats for French kids too ??? But they were sure about the fact that I would not need one. When I asked why.. he explained that they realised that it served for nothing. I said I would probably do a letter with a copy of my passport and contact details in both languages nominating my brother as responsible for them. The Maire said that would be wise. My kids both have British passports and me and my brother too.. I don't think it should be a problem. I may contact passport control at the port... just to see what they say. I will post if I get a reply :-)

Thanks again for your comments.. maybe this will be of help to someone else planning on sending their kids overseas !

I have brought my half French half English grandchildren back to the UK on many occasions and I have always had a letter, (in French and English) giving me permission to take the children out of the country, from their parent(s). I have only been asked to produce it on one occasion and were not delayed nor had a problem. Coming back from the UK into France I have never been asked to produce anything! The children have their own British passports - hope this helps.

If your kids have French ID papers and are travelling with someone who is not a parent then they will need an autorisation de sortie de territoire. This can be picked up at the mairie and needs signing by one or both parents. I am BRITISH, live in France, use a British passport and frequently take my friends kids back to England on holiday. If your kids use British passports, I think the rule is that if your brother is in possession of the passports then he assumes parental authority. But that may have evolved. Given that you live in France, I would do the autorisation de territoire as I believe it is valid for a year and may come in useful another time. However, given that they have to pass both UK and French border controls, probably best having both sets of ID as well as the autorisation de territoire. Better safe than sorry.

Yet again one hand doesn't know what the other is doing with the authorities here! The permission to leave the area is for FRENCH NATIONALS only, it is not necessary and in fact should not be issued for any other nationality. You are quite right in saying that a letter from a parent could be written by anyone but it is what they ask for, as Dick found out from Mrs Jobsworth - but couldn't a child smuggler write a letter??? Its worth putting a phone number on the letter and if possible arrange to be available on that number around the time they will get to the port/airport. Incidentally my daughter flew alone at 16 and was never questioned at any point in the journey.

Sounds like I might have fun then. I am mid-60s, my younger daughter will just be 10 and with a Swiss passport when we go to London during the summer holiday. Her passport in no way proves I am her father, although my family name is there, she was registered with a combination of her mother's and my own name. So shall I have fun? It only gets worse, because actually we have no relatives with my family name either, well only in Scotland now. I might just pop her UK birth certificate in my pocket and if I have UKBA games, string them along and when I have had my fun 'remember' it. No doubt, as usual, they will not speak to her or ask who I am. Even if she tells them, will they believe her? She being a child and all. Must remember this post in case.

We went to the Marie last year as our daughter was going on a school trip to England. They were very unhelpful and said they did not give out the letter if travelling with a passport (French or English) but suggested we phoned the boarder police. My French friend did this and they laughed and said why would they have anything to say about someone travelling on an English passport. So we left it and wrote a note of explanation to school and all was fine. No one queried it at all and since then our younger daughters have travelled with Ryanair back and forwards with grandparents and older sister and it has all been fine.

If you go to the Marie's office I hope yours is nicer than ours was - they were incredibly rude and it was our french friend asking them so it wasn't a language thing. French customer service!

When I took our 2 granddaughters back to the UK in August I really got the third degree at Portsmouth. Mrs Jobsworth of the UKBA kept me nearly 20 minutes delivering a lecture on the duty of care they have to children etc etc etc. I pointed out to Mrs Jobsworth that, so much for the duty of care, no-one even looked at their passports when they left the UK. She gave me a leaflet listing all kinds of documentation, but it boils down to a letter from the parents giving permission to travel with the children, naming them and the person they are travelling with.

As long as the kids have their own (UK) passports there is no need for a letter from the Mairie. My kids never needed them on school trips (as they had their own Irish passports) whereas their French colleagues all had to have the carte d'identité + autorisation de quitter la territoire.

My daughter is 8 and has been on holiday several times with french friends and to Barcelona with the school, she has a UK passport. I contacted the prefecture who said that I needed to write a letter with my details of where I live, copy of my passport on the same piece of paper and the following wording or words to that effect if going with friends you need to name the person legally responsible for them;

Autorisation parentale de sortie du territoire
Je soussigné(e) Mr ou Mme SMITH, père / mère de l’enfant Daisy SMITH élève en classe de CE 1 à l’école de Tréjouls autorise ma fille à se rendre à l’étranger et m’engage à prendre à ma charge les frais de rapatriement pour lesquels les autorités diplomatiques ou consulaires françaises à l’étranger auraient éventuellement à intervenir.
Signature de l’autorité parentale :
When we went to the mairie, they just said, but you are foreigners so you don(t need our permission.
We have had no problems. Incidentally the bit about financial responsibility would be covered by you r travel insurance. So there should be no issues.