The Church discourages parents from traveling to pick up their missionary son or daughter when he or she is finishing their mission. Nevertheless, if parents request this privilege, the Church does allow it, provided they follow the guidelines below.
Typical Missionary Return Travel
A missionary’s travel to return home after their mission is coordinated by the Missionary Travel Office and the cost of it is already included in the missionary’s monthly payments. When the mission president assigns the release date he advises the Church travel office who then arranges the missionary’s flight home. Parents will then be notified of the travel plans.
Missionaries generally travel directly home from their missions. Any other travel is permitted only when the missionary is accompanied by at least one parent or guardian. While traveling, missionaries should continue to dress and conduct themselves according to missionary standards. Remember, missionaries are not released from their missions until they report to their stake presidents back home.
When missionaries arrive home, usually at an airport, it is recommended that only immediate family members go to pick up them up. The stake president is also advised of missionary travel plans. He usually makes plans with the parents to meet with the missionary soon after he gets home to release him.
Picking Up Missionaries
If the parents or guardians of a missionary want to travel to pick up their son or daughter, the Church asks that they:
- Inform the mission president and Missionary Travel Office at least three months in advance of the plans.
- Make travel plans based on the release date established by the mission president.
- Do not request a change in the missionary’s release date to accommodate travel plans.
- Make and pay for their own travel arrangements, including lodging and meals.
The missionary travel information on LDS.org has lots of details and answers to questions about picking up missionaries. Here is what they say there:
“Parents should contact the mission office where their missionary is serving to find out the release date and visa requirements, if applicable. Then parents should contact the Missionary Travel Office to obtain the travel allowance amount. This will assist parents as they move forward with their travel plans. Parents will need to make travel arrangements for themselves and their missionary and inform the mission and the Missionary Travel Office of these plans. Missionary Travel will mail parents a reimbursement check in the amount that Missionary Travel quoted, or if the ticket the parents purchase is less, Missionary Travel will reimburse the lesser amount, approximately four weeks prior to the release date.”