Children travelling abroad
All children need a valid Canadian passport to travel abroad. The practice of adding a child’s name to a parent’s passport is no longer permitted. Make sure you and/or your children also carry supporting identification, such as birth certificates, baptismal certificates, citizenship cards, records of landing or certificates of Indian status. Check with each destination country’s embassy or consulate regarding additional entry conditions and documentation that may be required, including divorce papers, custody court orders or a death certificate (if one parent is deceased). These documents will also help prove your citizenship, residency and custodial rights when returning to Canada. Keep some form of identification in your child’s pocket in case you are separated. Carry recent photographs of your child for emergency identification purposes.
We strongly recommend that children under 18 carry a consent letter
to facilitate entry into the destination country. A letter should be obtained from every person or organization with custodial rights, guardianship rights or parental authority (in Quebec only). For example, children travelling alone, with groups or with only one custodial parent should carry a consent letter proving they have permission to travel. We recommend that you have the consent letter certified, stamped or sealed by an official with the authority to administer an oath or solemn declaration (i.e., a commissioner for oaths, notary public or lawyer), so the validity of the letter will not be questioned.
Seek advice from a lawyer if you cannot obtain the consent of the other parent or if a custody dispute might develop while your children is abroad. Custody arrangements in Canada may not be recognized in another country. In some cases, you or your children may not be allowed to leave that country. Check your status with the country’s embassy or consulate in Canada before going abroad. If you have questions about custody issues, contact our
Children’s Issues Section at 1-800-387-3124 FREE (in Canada) or 613-996-8885.
Some airlines will escort and supervise an unaccompanied child from check-in through arrival. Note that airlines require a parent or guardian to stay at the airport until a flight has departed. The person greeting the child at the point of arrival must have appropriate identification and authorization. Be sure to contact the transportation company in order to observe any other policies that may apply.