Having Children Could Limit Travel For Italian Citizens

Reading the heading above, one would think that having children makes it more difficult for everyone to travel, no matter their nationality. Well, for Italians with minors there is one additional challenge which could become a big hurdle in case of divorces or separations.

On June 26, 2012, a few things changed for Italian parents with minor children. As of this date, Italian children now need their own passport to travel outside of the EU, while previously minors could be simply registered on their parents’ passport in order to travel abroad. This changed policy was aimed at enhancing protection of the child and minimizing the possibility of abductions. Of course, in order to obtain the minor child passport you need both parents’ consent, notarized in writing.  The parent giving the consent must sign before a “Pubblico Ufficiale”, who will authenticate the signature in the office where the documentation is submitted.

The law states that if the parent giving consent cannot be physically present to sign, the party requesting the passport can enclose a photocopy of an identification document of the absentee party signed in original together with a copy of a written consent to travel (“atto di assenso all’espatrio”) also signed in original. However note that such procedure is allowed for EU citizens only. If the absent parent is not a EU citizen, then he/she must sign the consent to travel form in the presence of the proper authorities (i.e. if in Italy the Police, if abroad the Consulate having jurisdiction by territory, the Honorary Consul or a Notary Public).

While the above rule makes a lot of sense, there is an additional one that will surely raise people’s eyebrows on this side of the ocean: if you are the Italian parent of an Italian minor you will need the other parent’s consent for the issuance of your own passport as well. It does not matter whether the parties are married, live together or not, are separated, divorced or are the biological parents of a minor and don’t live together; in any one of these cases the consent of the other parent is necessary for the Italian parent to obtain his or her passport. The policy behind this rule is said to be stemming out of the same need to protect children from abductions by either parent; however in this case the reasoning behind it seems less evident because a refusal to give consent could be used by one parent against the other in highly contested divorce cases.

1 Pubblico Ufficiale means either an authorized employee of the agency with the authority of issuing passports (in Italy the Police, “Polizia di Stato” has such authority).
2 “signed in original” was interpreted to mean that both documents must have been signed in the presence of the proper authority (the Police if in Italy, the Consul or Honorary Consul if abroad; an authenticated signature before the Notary Public is also acceptable if in the USA).

Best regards
und viele Grüße aus Charlotte
Reinhard von Hennigs