Write a Letter of Permission

Letters of permission grant specific legal authorization to the recipient. To write a letter of permission designating temporary custodian of your child to another adult, include identifying information about yourself and your child, and explicitly state the type and scope of permission being granted. To write a letter of permission granting use of your copyrighted work, specify the material being used and the application of your work you choose to authorize. Note that if you are writing a letter with less legal weight, such as granting permission to hold an office luncheon, all you need is a standard business letter.


Sample Letters

Doc:Permission Letter,Permission Letter for Travel,Permission Letter for Medication

Granting Permission for Your Child

  1. Choose a format. Typing is recommended for most letters of permission, such as a letter of consent to travel or a letter of medical authorization. Write the letter by hand only in informal situations, or for short notes that only need to be shown once.
  2. Start with a subject line. A clear, short title lets the reader know the letter topic immediately. For example, write "Medical Treatment Authorization" or "Letter of Consent for Traveling Minor." Type this in bold font.
    • In American English, the subject goes at the top of the letter. In British English, the subject goes after the salutation.[1]
  3. Address the letter. If the letter will be kept with the child and shown whenever necessary, open with "To Whom It May Concern:" or skip the salutation entirely. If you are sending the letter to a specific person, address them by their professional title and full name.
  4. State your purpose. Begin with a direct statement clearly stating the letter's purpose. Include the full names of yourself, your child, and the person you are granting permission to. If the child has another custodian or parent, write the letter together if possible. Here are a couple examples:
    • Medical authorization: "I, (full name), grant (full name of babysitter/teacher/etc.) the authority to obtain medical treatment for my child, (full name of child), as detailed below."
    • Consent to travel: "We, (full name of parents), are the legal guardians of (child's full name). (Child's full name) has our consent to travel with (names of people accompanying child), as detailed below."
  5. Provide detailed information on your child. You may write this as a list, instead of paragraph form. Include all of the following information:
    • Your relation to the child (custodial parent, non-custodial parent, or legal guardian)
    • Child's full legal name and birth date
    • Child's current home address
    • (Optional) Child's sex, place of birth, and nickname (if commonly used)
  6. Add information relevant to the letter. If the people reading the letter would find additional information useful, add it here. Here are suggestions for the most common permission letters for minors:
    • Medical authorization: Child's allergies, medical conditions, and current medications; doctor's name, address, and phone number; health insurance plan and ID number[2]
    • Consent to travel: Passport number and date of issue[3]
  7. Specify the exact scope of permission. If the adults are close and trusted family members, you may grant permission for the adults to "(obtain and consent to medical treatment for the minor / travel with the minor) as they see fit." In other circumstances, list exactly what is and isn't allowed:
    • Example for medical authorization letter: "I authorize (adult's name) to give and consent to treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. In an emergency, (adult) should attempt to contact me. (He/she) may seek and consent to emergency transport, as well as treatment deemed advisable by and supervised by a licensed medical professional."
    • Example for consent to travel letter: "I authorize (adult's name) to take (child's name) to the Grand View Hotel in Oakville, South Dakota from January 12th through January 18th, and supervise (him/her) on excursions in the surrounding area."
  8. Mention when the authorization is valid. Note when the authorization expires, or state that it is valid until you revoke it in writing.
  9. Provide your contact information. Write "You may direct questions and concerns to me at:" followed by your full name, phone number(s), and home address.
  10. Sign with a witness. Ideally, have the document Notarize-a-Document, or find a lawyer or other official to act as witness. This makes people more likely to believe the letter.[4] Otherwise, ask a neighbor, coworker, or other adult with no relation or close connection to anyone involved. Print and sign your name with the witness watching, then have the witness print and sign her name.
    • Clearly label the two signature lines "parent" (or other role) and "witness."
    • For a simple letter authorizing field trip attendance or absence from school, you do not need a witness. Just close the letter with "Sincerely" or "Regards," followed by your printed name and signature.

Granting Copyright Permission

  1. Confirm you hold the copyright. If you are an author, check the contract you signed with your publishing company. Typically, the publisher is the copyright holder, but it may revert back to you once the book is out of print.[5] If you are not the copyright holder, respond to the request with a short, polite letter directing them to the address of the current copyright holder.
  2. Format the letter as a business letter. Unless you know the recipient personally, write in business letter format:
    • Type the letter.
    • Place your name, address, and today's date at the top of the page.
    • Open with "Dear (Title) (First and Last Name)."
    • Close with "Sincerely, (Your Full Name)."
  3. Specify the exact material used. Grant permission for the exact article, excerpt, images, or book pages listed in the request. If you have no objections to the use of any of the requested materials, you may say "the materials outlined in your request of (date of request)."[6]
    • Keep a copy of the request in case of legal dispute later.
    • If you do not grant permission to one part of the request, specify this.
  4. Mention specific use. Clearly state exactly what you are granting permission for. The request should specify this: an excerpt in a book, a reading packet for students, etc. There should be no doubt over what type of use you allowed.
  5. Add additional restrictions (optional). If you would like to limit the use further, specify the restrictions here. If your material will be printed in a temporary work, you could specify a time frame or limit the permission to a certain number of copies. For a book, you may request a mention in the acknowledgements. For images, you may state that the permission is limited to black-and-white copies only.
    • If you are an author, check your publishing contract for additional restrictions.
  6. Charge a fee (optional). If you are writing on behalf of a publishing house, find out the standard fees you charge for the type of material requested. If you are the author or artist and sole copyright holder, this is your decision.
    • Many authors and artists waive the fee for an educational or nonprofit institution they support, or for minor uses. To do this, state "I waive my fee for this request."
    • If you'd like to support a small for-profit group, you could waive the fee but request a certain payment if the venture is successful. (For instance, if they sell a certain number of copies.)[7]
    • You can typically charge US$25–100 for allowing the reproduction of a short quote (a few lines).[5]
    • The price of larger text excerpts, images, songs, or video varies depending on how many people will see your work. US$100–200 is a very rough estimate for a book or newspaper, but your agent or other people in your field can give you more precise information.


  • Keep one copy of the letter with your child, and another copy with each adult accompanying her.
  • If your child has major medical conditions, it may help to Summarize-Your-Own-Medical-History.[8]


  • Letters of permission can be legally binding documents depending on your local and national laws. If you want to impose certain conditions on your permission, put them in the letter. You can withdraw the conditions later with another letter of permission, but in most cases you can't add conditions to previously-given consent.

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