We strongly recommend that children who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada carry a consent letter if they are travelling abroad alone, with only one legal parent/guardian, with friends or relatives, or with a group. For the purposes of this consent letter, a child is defined as anyone who is under the age of 18.
A consent letter is not a legal requirement in Canada, but it can facilitate ease of travel for children, as it may be requested by immigration authorities when entering or leaving a foreign country, or by Canadian officials when leaving or re-entering Canada. The letter demonstrates that the travelling child(ren) has permission to travel abroad from legal parents or guardians who are not accompanying them.
We recommend that you talk to a lawyer about the legal issues that apply to you and your children’s unique situation, particularly if your parenting/custody arrangement has special terms governing international travel.
We also recommend that the letter be signed by both parents/guardians, regardless of whether they are travelling with the child or not. The consent letter should also be signed by a witness and include their current contact information. For the purposes of such a letter, any adult (aged 18 or greater) may serve as a witness, provided they are present at the time of signing of all parties to the agreement.
You may choose to sign your letter in the presence of someone authorized to administer an oath or a solemn declaration (Commissioner of Oaths, Notary Public) for a fee, however, this measure is not a requirement, and provides no greater guarantee of acceptance than a consent letter witnessed by an adult with knowledge of the parties.
Carrying a consent letter does not guarantee that children will be allowed to enter or leave a country, as every country has its own entry and exit requirements. Customs officials still retain the authority to verify the contents of the letter, seek clarification from parties to/signatories of the letter, and request any additional information pertaining to the child’s travel.
For additional information regarding requirements for children travelling alone, with only one legal parent/guardian, or accompanying a third party or group, please visit the Global Affairs website. You may also wish to consult Canada’s Country travel advice and advisories or the nearest embassy or consulate of the destination country(ies).
You can create a custom travel consent letter by completing this interactive form provided by the Government of Canada, or you may create your own letter based off this template.