Minors need travel clearance : DSWD

MANILA The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday reiterated its guidelines for parents to secure from the agency a travel clearance for their children 17 years old and below who are traveling abroad alone to prevent minors from any forms of abuses.

"It is a requirement to safeguard Filipino children from child trafficking and exploitation, especially those who are participating in short study grants and out-of-the-country competitions," said DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel Leyco.

Leyco said that issuance of travel clearances for children is specified under the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and the Philippine Passport Act of 1996.

The following are the requirements needed to obtain travel clearance for minors traveling abroad:

Duly accomplished application form that can be secured from any DSWD regional office. The form can also be downloaded from the DSWD website www.dswd.gov.ph;

Photocopy of the child's Birth Certificate or PSA-issued Birth Certificate;

Notarized (notarized at the place of residence) affidavit of consent of both parents or the solo parent or the legal guardian, indicating the authorized traveling companion of the minor and his/her relationship to the minor, country of destination, length of stay, purpose of travel, and tentative dates of departure and arrival;

As appropriate, a PSA-issued marriage certificate of the minor's parents or a photocopy of the certificate of legal guardianship of the minor or in the case of solo parents, a PSA-issued Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) and a photocopy of the solo parent identification card from the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office or a photocopy of a certification from the Local Social Welfare and Development Office of being a solo parent or Tallaq or Faskh certification from the Shariah court or any Muslim Barangay or religious leader or in the case of an illegitimate minor, a certificate of no marriage (CENOMAR)* from the PSA or in the case of a deceased parent, a photocopy of the death certificate.

Minors who will be accompanied by a person other than their parents or legal guardian during the trip must also provide a photocopy of his/her adult companion's passport.

Under the guidelines even illegitimate children traveling abroad accompanied by their biological father are also required to secure a travel clearance certificate because parental authority is vested only to the mother of the child under Article 176 of the Family Code of the Philippines.

If deemed necessary, social workers may require additional documentary requirements during the assessment of the travel clearance to ensure that the welfare and best interest of the child is protected.

Moreover, the clearance shall be valid for a period of one or two years depending on the period applied for and shall be valid for multiple travels except for minors traveling with foster parents.

Should there be changes in the issued or used travel clearance such as companion or country of destination, changes can be done as long as the travel clearance is within the validity period. For this, the following documents should be submitted: photocopy of minor's passport with marked embarkation and notarized affidavit from parents or legal guardians regarding the change of traveling companion or country of destination or return ticket.

No additional fee shall be charged for the changes.

A processing fee for each travel clearance issued to minors traveling abroad under the following options: PHP300 with validity of one year, PHP600 with validity of two years.

Travel clearance approval and issuance may be obtained within 24 hours as long as all the supporting documents are completed, submitted, and assessed by social workers. The application should be lodged in the DSWD Field Office that has jurisdiction over the residence of the minor. (DSWD PR)

Source: Philippine News Agency