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Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

San Jose del Cabo...
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Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

Hello,

My 15 year old son will be flying from San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, to L.A.X. by himself, he will be boarding another airplane on a different airline several hours later. I know my son, he is more mature and travel savvy than I am! But will he get problems when he goes through U.S. customs on his own? Like maybe they'll think he's running away from home or something like that?

Thank you.

Seattle, Washington
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21. Re: Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

No, your main concern was with immigration, not customs. Thailand? Disneyland for a 15 year old.

Daydream Island...
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22. Re: Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

This whole thing stinks to high heavens. Many will say I am insecure or being negative, but I do know thru contacts that many minors are used internationally to transport items or luggage that would subject adults to intense criminal codes in this country.

Minors are usually questioned and returned to their countries with information forwarded to authorities, which means very little in many parts of the world.

I am always amazed that answers are sought online before official channels, especially in the case of reported dual citizenship. I do hope the young man will enjoy a safe journey and no problems if his travel is nothing more than dubious parenting.

Sunshine Coast...
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23. Re: Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

Wow - just because a teenager is flying to Thailand without their parents they must be smuggling something?!?

Edited: 11 September 2011, 07:16
Stanley, Falkland...
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24. Re: Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

There have been many instances where young people are now in jail having been tricked into carrying stuff for people they've befriended on holiday.

I agree it's high-risk place for a 15 yo. See "Gap Yah" on You Tube.

Garden Bay, Canada
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25. Re: Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

"Wow - just because a teenager is flying to Thailand without their parents they must be smuggling something?!?"

Yes... suspicion is high in some parts of the world. It is high for a reason. All the better to be well documented.

Sunshine Coast...
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26. Re: Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

Well I think a lot of people (me included) are making some pretty big assumptions here.

My assumption - that this 15 yo is flying alone to meet with his parents or friends to enjoy a 20 day holiday. I am assuming this because I know several families who have done exactly the same thing. Their teenager had work, school, sport commitments and couldn't fly on the same flight as the parents.

The reason I am interested in this thread is because I am currently planning a trip where my 2 teens (they will be 18 and 16) will fly via Asia to meet us in Europe.

I am absolutely amazed to discover that several posters here are going to assume that they are drug couriers because they are not flying with their parents.

That is certainly something I hadn't considered...

Seattle, Washington
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27. Re: Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

My main concern about a 15 year old flying from Mexico-US-Taiwan-Thailand as an adult, not an unaccompanied minor, is with so many connections, what will this teen do if there are problems and he is stuck somewhere? He won't be able to rent a hotel room, etc.

Personally, I would book him as an UM and pay the fees.

Daydream Island...
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28. Re: Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

When something goes wrong, the persons who care the most are in the least position to help or even know a problem has arisen. No responsible parent wants to be helpless when their help is most needed. Your eighteen year old may very well be responsible and that is commendable. There is a different mind set in an eighteen year old and a fifteen year old.

As for the movement of contraband, contrary to the outcry from those that say it is wasted time, there is a reason for security procedures for children and even babies in strollers and car seats. It has been well documented.

Stanley, Falkland...
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29. Re: Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

I don't think anyone here assumes children are drug couriers. What I am saying is that is has been known that young people have been tricked into carrying drugs and then left to face the consequences.

The authorities are also suspicious of certain categories of travellers for good reason.

Why put children in a risky position that can easily be avoided?

Garden Bay, Canada
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30. Re: Can an unaccompanied 15 year old enter the US alone?

There is also increased attention paid to human trafficking. Unfortunately, many people trafficked are minors. Nobody is assuming that a minor traveling alone is carrying drugs or is being trafficked, But rest assured, Immigration and Customs are on the lookout. Just be sure all documentation is in place for minors.