Can I Leave the Country if I Am Emancipated?
Legalities of Emancipation
- As defined by the laws set forth in most states, an emancipated minor is a child under the age of 18 who has been determined by a court of law to be self sufficient and capable of making his own decisions independent of his parent or legal guardian. In order to become legally emancipated, a minor must petition the appropriate court of jurisdiction in his state and show just cause why his petition for emancipation should be granted. Once emancipated, the child obtains the legal rights of an adult and is no longer under the control of his parent or legal guardian.
Right to Travel Abroad
- As an individual who holds the rights of a legal adult, an emancipated minor has the same right to travel overseas as any eligible adult. The only issues that would legally prevent an emancipated minor from traveling overseas would be the lack of a valid passport or a court order preventing the individual from leaving the country, based on an ongoing criminal investigation or civil case. Because the minor is underage, a copy of the court order declaring emancipation is typically required.
Requirements for Travel
- A legally emancipated minor will be required to present documentation of his identity just as any adult would need to do when attempting to travel outside the United States. Any time a U.S. citizen travels outside the country, the possession of a passport is required. In order to acquire a passport for the purpose of traveling overseas, an original copy of the applicant's birth certificate or official certificate of naturalization must be presented to the government authorized issuing agency, along with valid drivers license or state issued photo identification. In addition, the applicant must pay the mandatory fees assigned for the issuance of the passport.
- When a citizen of the United States who has been legally emancipated by a court of law wishes to obtain citizenship in a country outside the United States, the emancipated minor is subject to the same requirements as any legal adult who wishes to do so. Because regulations requiring citizenship vary based on nation of interest, the minor will need to contact the U.S.Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs for the specific requirements set forth by the nation of interest.