Minors traveling either alone or with a person other than the parents or legal guardians are required to secure a travel authority from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
*Illegitimate children traveling abroad who are accompanied by their biological father are still required to secure a travel clearance certificate because parental authority is vested on the biological mother by virtue of the Family Code of the Philippines (Title VI, Chapter 3, Article, 176 of Executive Order No. 209, s. 1987).
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reiterates to parents and guardians to secure travel clearances for their children, 17 years old and below, who will be traveling abroad without them.
Secretary of Social Welfare Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that the travel clearance aims to prevent child trafficking and other forms of abuse that a minor might encounter while traveling abroad.
The issuance of a travel clearance is specified under the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and the Philippine Passport Act of 1996.
The travel clearance shall be issued by the DSWD to a Filipino minor traveling to a foreign country unaccompanied by his/her parents and to an illegitimate child traveling with his/her father. Personal appearance of the minor is not necessary.
The requirements needed to obtain a travel clearance for minors traveling abroad are:
The application for travel clearance together with the required supporting documents shall be submitted by the parent/s or legal guardian or a duly authorized representative to the nearest DSWD regional office. The application forms may also be downloaded from the DSWD website (www.dswd.gov.ph).
Minor traveling alone to a foreign country for the first time:
Minors traveling for the first time with a person other than the parents or legal guardians:
The travel clearance is approved and issued within 24 hours as long as supporting documents are complied with and the social worker’s assessment is completed.
MINORS EXEMPTED FROM SECURING A TRAVEL CLEARANCE
The only exemptions to the DSWD travel clearance are minor children who are:
A minor who is a Filipino citizen and living abroad but does not hold either a permanent resident visa or equivalent pass issued by another country is required to secure a travel clearance.
VALIDITY OF A DSWD TRAVEL CLEARANCE
A DSWD travel clearance is valid for a period of one (1) year from the date of issuance and shall be valid for multiple travels within the validity period, provided the conditions under which the travel clearance was issued have not changed. If a change in condition occurs like a change in travelling companion, a new travel clearance must be obtained.
CHILDREN OF SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
The grandparents (paternal or maternal) who exercise parental authority over an orphaned minor may issue the consent even without guardianship order from the Court. But in cases where both the grandparents are deceased, the relatives or acting guardians of the minor should work for their legal guardianship over the minor.
A minor who is the subject of ongoing custody battle between parents will not be issued a travel clearance unless a Court Order is issued to allow the child to travel abroad with either parent or authorized guardian.
A child whose name is included in the Bureau of Immigration’s watchlist of minors travelling abroad will be prevented from leaving the country.
The Family Code of the Philippines vests the mother with the parental authority over an illegitimate child (Article 176).
ELECTRONIC OR FAX TRANSMISSION OF PARENTAL CONSENT
A faxed copy is acceptable. Likewise, a computer generated photo of minors and emailed documents are acceptable.
As of December 2014, DSWD has issued 40,282 travel clearances to minors traveling abroad. DSWD-Field Office in NCR issued the most number of clearances, amounting to 10,405.
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