Message for U.S. Citizens: New Exit Requirements for Minors

In its effort to secure the safety of all children and to more strictly conform to the Ley De Protección Integral de La Niñez y Adolescencia (LEPINA), the Government of El Salvador is now requesting additional documents for children exiting El Salvador without one or both parents.

Salvadoran authorities have informed us that U.S. citizen minors who have been in El Salvador for more than 180 days will be considered residents of El Salvador and will require written travel consent from any parent not traveling with the minor.

In El Salvador, this consent can be obtained through a Salvadoran notary following the templates recommended on the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjeria (DGME) website. A notarized travel consent also can be obtained from the American Citizen Services Unit at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador.  However, any travel consent notarized by the U.S. Embassy must be authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador in order to be valid.

In the United States, a notarized travel consent can be obtained through a Salvadoran notary (located in many major U.S. cities), El Salvador’s Embassy in Washington D.C., or any of its consulates.

If the circumstances make it impossible to obtain travel consent from one or both of the parents, the family in charge of the child in El Salvador must seek approval from a specialized court for children’s issues called “Juzgado Especializado de Niñez y Adolescencia”. These courts are located in El Salvador’s main cities.  Additionally, they may seek the advice of the “Procuraduria General de la Republica” (PGR).  The PGR may be contacted via the following website: www.pgr.gob.sv

Also, the U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that children travel with their birth certificate and current passport. And, if applicable, travel with a death certificate of a deceased parent; custody documents or court documents granting the parent custody as a result of a divorce; or court documents indicating that one or both parents are currently incarcerated.

The process to obtain parental travel consent that is accepted by Salvadoran Immigration can be lengthy.  Please plan ahead if you intend to have your minor child travel without both parents.

For more details, please review El Salvador’s Immigration website www.migracion.gob.sv. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact the American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador by email anytime at ACSSanSal@state.gov or by phone From 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Fridays at(503) 2501-2626.  Public hours at the Embassy are Monday through Friday from 8.15 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. with the exception of U.S. and Salvadoran holidays and the first Friday of each month.