It’s almost March, which means family vacation season is coming up!
Travelling with kids is exciting and fun, but it takes a lot of work to make a great trip happen. Travel tickets purchased? Hotel booked? Passports ready?
After all of that planning, wouldn’t you do everything you could to make sure your trip will be great? Of course – that’s why so many of us purchase travel insurance.
But did you know that if you are travelling alone with your child, you may need a consent to travel letter to ensure that your trip is as amazing as you planned?
How a consent to travel letter can save your vacation
A consent to travel letter is a letter that shows that Canadian children have permission to travel abroad from parents or guardians who are not accompanying them. It may be requested by immigration authorities when entering or leaving a foreign country or by Canadian officials when re-entering Canada.
For example, Jeanne and Louis have a child named Norma. Jeanne is taking Norma to Florida for March Break, but Louis is not going with them. Louis should sign a consent to travel letter that shows that Jeanne has his permission to travel abroad with Norma.
The Government of Canada strongly recommends that Canadian children under the age of majority carry a consent to travel letter if they are travelling abroad alone, with only one parent or guardian, with friends or relatives, or with a group. A consent to travel letter is recommended for all cross-border travel, even for a day trip.
The Government of Canada recommends that the letter be signed by every non-accompanying person or organization with the legal right to make major decisions for the child, including anyone with custody rights or guardianship rights, or parents who have access to the child.
A consent to travel letter is not a legal requirement in Canada. But without a consent to travel letter, there is the real risk that children and persons accompanying them could be refused entry into another country, or have difficulties returning to Canada. Why take that risk?
The Government of Canada has prepared a recommended consent letter for children travelling abroad that you can download and print for free. You should provide as much detail as possible in the letter. Once you’ve completed the letter, the person who is not accompanying the child must sign the letter in front of a witness or notary public.
It’s not a legal requirement in Canada that consent to travel letters be notarized. However, the Government of Canada strongly recommends having consent to travel letters witnessed by a notary public.
Why? Notaries are like “super witnesses” - they have the legal power to verify that signatures are true and genuine. This means that a notarized consent to travel letter is more likely to be accepted as authentic by immigration authorities. You deserve to enjoy your trip – don’t risk having it ruined by travelling without a notarized consent to travel letter.
Good news: notarizing your consent to travel letter is easy and affordable with Downtown Notary. Simply bring your unsigned consent to travel letter to your appointment at one of our convenient meeting points to have your letter notarized – it usually takes less than 10 minutes!
The country to which you are travelling may also have its own entry and exit requirements for children travelling alone, with only one parent or with another accompanying person. For more information, visit the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories site or contact the embassy or consulate of the destination country.
When you’re traveling with kids, fun should be the number one priority - but safety is a very close second! For tips on safe traveling, visit 12 Essential Tips for Staying Safe While Traveling.