Consent letters for international travel – Do I need one?
Many families will travel long distances to visit friends and relatives over the winter holidays.
One area in which this can become complicated is when only one parent or guardian will be travelling across an international border with the child(ren) under the age of 19. A question that commonly arises is: Do I need a consent letter from the non-traveling parent/guardian or not?
While the Government of Canada states that a consent letter is not a legal requirement in Canada it can simplify travel for Canadian children as it may be requested by immigration authorities when entering or leaving a foreign country or by Canadian officials or airline agents when re-entering Canada.
If you do choose to prepare a consent letter the Government of Canada recommends that a consent letter should include:
The child’s full name, birthdate, and passport information.
The contact information of the parent or guardian not accompanying the child.
The name, passport information and relationship to the child of the parent who is accompanying the child.
Information on where the child is travelling, the duration of the trip, the address of where the child will be staying, and a way to contact the parent travelling with the child during the trip.
The consent letter should be signed and witnessed, and the person travelling with the child should take the original with them.
The CBSA has a great online resource for this issue at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/children/consent-letter. This website even has a sample consent letter and interactive form for writing your consent letter.
If you have any questions about the legal requirements for traveling with children while separated and whether or not you should prepare a consent letter (or other document) for your upcoming travel please contact our office for a free initial consultation.