Whether you’re in a loving, committed marriage or dealing with the fallout of a separation or divorce and a resulting custody battle, if you want to take your child(ren) on a trip outside of Canada without your kid’s other parent, you are strongly advised to take a child travel consent form — essentially, it’s a formal or informal letter that’s been signed by both parents. While a consent letter for children travelling with one parent s not technically legally required to take a child across a border, it could save you time and tears at international borders.
Does my child travel consent form need to be notarized?
No, you do NOT need to have this legally notarized. So save your money. As long as you have a completed form like this one, and your child’s passport, you’ll likely be just fine.
In fact, immigration authorities may never even ask for a consent form for solo-travelling parents, but it’s always a good idea to carry one just in case. The letter simply states that your Canadian child has permission to travel abroad from those parents (or guardians) who aren’t with them.
When I took my kids on a trip a few years ago to the Caribbean, it didn’t even occur to me that I’d need a note from their Dad giving me permission to leave and re-enter our own country with my biological children.
We made it to the Dominican Republic without batting an eyelash, but on our way back into Canada, the immigration officer asked me for my consent letter.
BLANK STARE. I was a deer in headlights.
Mercifully, she explained what I should have had with me and simply asked my kids to identify me. But you can never guarantee who you’re going to meet at the immigration booth…so I’ve never travelled without a parental consent letter for minors since.
When is a consent letter for children travelling with one parent not enough?
Please keep in mind that if your individual custody or co-parenting arrangement has special terms that involve international travel, you should definitely bypass this post and speak with a lawyer directly to ensure you meet all of its specific terms. Your scenario may be too specific for a non-notarized, unofficial document when it comes to international border crossings.
For more information, check out the Government of Canada’s page on the subject.
DISCLAIMER: This post does not replace legal advice or common sense.
Jennifer P. says
I always bring a letter, and I’ve only ever been asked for it when bringing my kids back in to Canada too – I always find that so odd! I can leave with no questions, but bringing them home raises questions?!
Trisha Pedros says
When my daughter was 13 we had to have a notarized letter because her father and I were separated. We were at the airport and thank goodness I had s civil relationship with her father or we would not have made the flight. Also thankfully we have a friend who is a lawyer and was able to fax the document to the airport for us and that her father was able to drop everything and sign it! So important to have all your ducks in a row. You don’t need a lawyer to notarize it you can go directly to city hall where they have notary for a small fee can sign for you. You just need to take an oath. I was lucky it could have ended in no trip for us!! The airport folks take it seriously taking a child out of the co. Thank you for sharing!! Wish I had read this years ago!!
Mommy Gearest says
Wow – how nerve-wracking! I know that for those married, notarization is NOT required. But anything custody-related definitely needs to be more deeply checked in to for sure. So glad it all worked out!