How to write a letter of permission

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

People with school-age children are usually familiar with letters of permission requested by a school so their child can go on a school trip. Other requests for letters of permission arise in common, everyday situations including:

? A parent giving permission for a babysitter or caregiver to authorize medical treatment for a child
? A parent granting permission for a child to travel overseas with a relative or, in some circumstances, with a divorced parent who does not have custody
? A business or individual asking for permission to use copyrighted or trademarked material

Unless the person receiving the letter of permission asks for a specific format or language, the choice of wording is up to the person writing the letter. There are a few tips that will help to make a letter of permission more effective.

Address the Letter

Address the letter by using the full name of the person, company or agency with whom the person getting permission will be dealing. When this information is unknown, address the letter: ?To whom it may concern.?

Identify the Purpose of the Letter

Begin the letter by explaining the specific purpose for which permission is granted. For example, if a parent is giving a babysitter permission to authorize medical care for a child, the letter should begin by identifying the writer as the child?s parent and state that its purpose is to give the babysitter authorization to obtain medical treatment. The precise permission language will come later in the letter.

Give the Permission

It is important to be clear and unequivocal in the wording of the permission section of the letter. One method of accomplishing this is to use the full names of the person giving permission and the person to whom permission is given. If the letter gives permission for the care, medical treatment or other activity in which a child is involved, the full name and age of the child should be included.

The following sample wording might work for some situations: ?I (insert full name) give permission and consent to (full name of person to whom permission is given) to (identify the activity including the name of a child if appropriate).? A person should alter the wording to suit the type of permission given.

Sign and Date the Letter of Permission

Laws differ from state to state as to the formalities of signing letters of permission. Some states require that the letter be notarized or witnessed while just a signature and the date will suffice.

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