March Break is fast approaching, and many parents dream of getting out of the cold and soaking up some sun on a tropical beach. Even if one or both parents are stuck at work, a family member or friend may offer to take your child on vacation. To ensure no delays or issues when traveling across international borders with a minor child, the Canadian government recommends that parents provide a notarized travel consent letter permitting the child to travel without one or both parents.
Parental consent for minor children to travel is necessary because border officials are concerned about child kidnapping, parental abduction, and human trafficking and want to ensure that children only travel with legally authorized individuals. It is possible that the child and the accompanying person will not be permitted to travel if parental consent is not provided.
The Canadian federal government defines a minor child as any child under 18. However, some provinces, such as British Columbia, define a minor child as any child under age 19. Therefore, it is essential to check the legal requirements for any jurisdiction or foreign country you are traveling to provide the required consent.
The Government of Canada recommends that travel consent letters be notarized and that any minor child traveling without both parents, even if it is only for a portion of a trip or a day trip, travel with the original consent letter. Notarization means that the parent or guardian giving consent for the child to travel has signed the letter before a Notary Public.
If a child with two parents or guardians travels alone or with a relative or friend, both parents or guardians must sign the consent letter. The notary must verify the identity of those signing the consent letter by checking their government-issued photo identification and observing them sign it.
The Government of Canada provides a sample parental travel consent form online that parents can fill out and customize for their particular travel circumstances. A sample travel consent letter is also available on the Red Seal Notary website for parents to customize. Red Seal Notary can also draft a travel consent form for parents to sign.
The travel consent form should contain the name, birth date, and passport number of the child who is traveling, as well as any accompanying adult’s name and passport number. It should also contain information about travel dates, the destination country, and the address where the child will be staying. The contact information for the parent or guardian giving consent should also be included.
In addition to providing a notarized parental consent form or letter, the Government of Canada advises that the child should travel with their passport and their original long-form provincial birth certificate that states the names of the child’s parents.
Any documentation regarding guardianship or custody of the child should also accompany the child. For instance, in cases where parents are divorced, papers specify whether parents have joint or sole custody. And court orders regarding custody are required. If one of the parents is deceased, then the death certificate of the deceased parent should also be available.
We have knowledgeable Notaries who can prepare and/or notarize consent to travel letters. Remember to bring your original valid government-issued photo identification with you, as the notary will need to see this to verify your identity. Red Seal Notary has convenient walk-in offices in Toronto, Ottawa, and Mississauga, where you can have travel consent letters notarized in person. You can also contact our helpful call center to make appointments to notarize documents at locations across the country.
Click here for Free Consent to Travel Sample Letter from Red Seal Notary:
Government of Canada Information about child consent to travel letters: