Have you ever wanted to travel to England? Maybe you want to explore British history, see where they royals live or perhaps you just enjoy visiting new places. Whatever your reason might be, if you’re under 18, you may wonder if you are old enough to travel on your own in England.
How old do you have to be to travel in England? Many airlines allow children as young as 12 years old to fly to England unaccompanied, although age 14 is common among most major carriers. Young travellers must have a form of identification and, oftentimes, paperwork completed by a parent. Without it, they will be unable to fly. The British government has requirements of its own for a minor entering the country.
If you are a parent looking to send your child to England to visit or to study, or if you are a young person interested in studying abroad or travelling on your own, you are in the right place.
I’m going to go over the age requirements to travel to England, as well as cover safety tips for a minor abroad.
Disclaimer: You should seek professional advice from the airline or Gov dept if you are unsure.
Can minors travel to England by themselves?
Yes, a minor can travel to England unaccompanied by an adult. While this may sound exciting, there are obviously some concerns from parents in regards to this, as there well should be.
Don’t worry there are some requirements than need to be met first. Here are the requirements from a great source: England herself!
- Suitable arrangements for travel and stay in England must be made by an adult prior to departure.
- A minor must have consent from a parent or guardian to be able to travel to England.
- A minor must have the funds to pay for the trip there, return, and any journey departing from England in between.
- If a minor is to travel to England, they must have enough available funding to support themselves while they are in-country without the need of a job. Or they must have family and/or friends that can support them.
What Will A Minor Need To Bring With Them To Travel?
An individual who is under 18 and travelling alone will need to provide some information stating that they are allowed to travel unaccompanied to England to ensure that children aren’t just stealing money and running away from home. Here are the documents needed to travel to England without an adult:
- Passport and visa. This is a given. You will not be able to travel to another country legally without this documentation; it doesn’t matter if you’re a child or an adult. The cost of a passport is typically $150 right now to file and roughly take 4 to 6 weeks to receive unless it is expedited to where it can take anywhere from 24 hours – 2 weeks depending on the service requested.
- Written consent to travel to the UK (England). This is to ensure that the child that is travelling is not a runaway. Providing written consent allows the airline and receiving country of the passenger to let the minor in and knowing they are going where they belong.
- Full contact details of the parent and guardian. In order for a country to take on a minor, they will also need the parents’ or guardians’ contact information. This is in conjunction with the written consent and passport. This is needed to confirm the information provided and just in case an incident that requires their attention occurs.
Other Things The Minor Needs To Provide
There are a few other bits of information that England requires a minor to provide prior to them travelling to the country.
This is to ensure that the minor will have a place to stay while they are there and has adequate support while in the country.
Here is what England requires the minor to bring to ensure that they will be taken care of during their visit:
- The name and date of birth of the person they will be staying with. If a minor is going to be staying with a family member or friend while in the country, England requires you to have their name and date of birth to verify their identity and that they are an actual person. Without this information, they cannot determine that the child has a suitable place to stay while in-country.
- The address where the minor will be living. This is necessary because while the minor is in the country, they will need to be able to locate them if it is deemed necessary or in the event of an emergency. Before sending your minor to England, be sure to have all this information ready. Not just for the country, but for your own peace of mind as well.
- The details and relationship to the minor of the person they will be staying with. This is the phone number, address, and their relationship with the minor. This will help to ensure that the minor will be staying with who they say they are and that the child is safe. Be sure to have all this information ready for the minor to avoid any hold-ups or cancelled trips.
- Written consent that contact in England is the individual looking after the minor. You are going to need to provide written consent that the individual that your child is going to be staying with is allowed to do so. If no written consent is provided, they will not be able to allow the child to go to their destination until this is resolved.
Making Sure Your Child Has A Safe And Smooth Trip
When it comes to sending your child alone on a flight, it is pretty nerve-wracking. Making sure that they board the right plane and travel to the right destination.
Ensuring that they have their snacks for the flight and any necessary medications. These are all worries parents have.
Here are some tips to help ease that worry and do the best to prepare your child for their flight.
- Make sure you know the regulations of the airline. While there are no particular rules spoken on the age limit a child has to be travel on their own, the airlines each have their own regulations for minors who are travelling alone. Make sure to contact the prospective airline before sending the child to ensure they have everything the airline requires.
- Be sure to book the flight early. When it comes to booking a flight for a minor, there is typically limited seating for unaccompanied minors. To ensure that the child’s flight is available and that they can leave on time with no issues, book the flight well in advance to ensure that the minor will be able to board their flight.
- Make sure the child has everything they need. Make sure that the minor is prepared for the flight and has everything that they will need during their flight and their stay. Things like snacks, medications, and games to keep them healthy and occupied are all important. Don’t forget to include any and all identification to make sure that they are able to be identified.
- Tell the minor everything they need to know. After the flight is booked and about a few days prior to departure, you will need to speak to your child, so they know exactly what they need to do and provide once they get to the airport and destination.
- Explain the process of flying. If it is their first time flying, you will need to explain take off, turbulence, and restrooms. Also, remind them to pay attention to the safety brief before take off. This will help to calm them and ease their minds when the plane takes off and help prevent them from being frightened.
Travelling for adults and children can be an exciting thing, especially for children who get to see a new place and travel without mom and dad there.
At the same time, it can be a stressful experience as a parent who wants to make sure that their child is safe. When you send your child abroad to England be sure to refer to this outline to ensure the best experience for both of you.
More England Inspiration
England has so much to offer, here are a few articles for inspiration.