Permission to Travel Letters for Minors Traveling Outside of Canada
A Consent Letter, also referred to as a Permission to Travel Letter, is a crucial document that serves as proof that a child has obtained permission to travel outside Canada from each of their parents or guardians who will not be accompanying them on their trip.
When Should a Permission to Travel Letter be Used?
Parents should obtain a Permission to Travel Letter for all international travel. This includes both day trips and longer journeys. Permission to Travel Letters are also recommended where a child is accompanied by only one parent for a portion of the trip. For instance, a child may depart Canada with both parents but return with only one parent. The following are additional scenarios for which parents should obtain a Permission to Travel Letter:
– When a child is traveling alone
– When a child is traveling with only one parent or guardian
– When a child is under the care of friends or family (relative or immediate family)
– When a child is traveling with a group, such as a sports team, musical ensemble, religious organization, or on a school trip.
It is recommended that the person accompanying the child, or the child carry the original signed Permission to Travel Letter rather than a copy. This will reduce the likelihood of any doubts regarding the authenticity of the document.
It is important to note that the legal definition of a minor differs from one country to another. Therefore, Permission to Travel Letters are recommended for any individual under the age of 20.
To ensure a problem free travel experience when accompanied by a child for whom you are the sole parent or guardian, it is recommended to carry a document, in addition to the Permission to Travel Letter, which verifies your status as the child’s only parent or guardian. This may include a long form birth certificate that clearly identifies you as the sole parent.
In Canada, a Permission to Travel Letter is not mandatory; however, it can facilitate travel for Canadian children as it may be requested by immigration authorities upon entering or departing a foreign country, or by Canadian authorities or airline agents upon re-entry to Canada.
Contents of a Permission to Travel Letter
When writing a permission to travel letter, it is important to include the child’s name as it appears in travel documentation, the names and contact information of parents or guardians, and the name and relationship of the accompanying person. Additionally, it is necessary to provide information on the destination and duration of the trip, such as the address where the child will be staying and departure and arrival dates.
Depending on the situation, one or multiple letters may be used. For instance, if neither parent is accompanying the child, both parents can sign one letter, or each parent can sign a separate letter. Children from the same family who are travelling together for the entirety of the trip may be listed on one letter, while separate letters are recommended if the children will be travelling separately for part of the trip. Generally, a separate Permission to Travel letter is required for each trip a child takes. In cases where specific dates are unknown or for frequent cross-border trips, it is advisable to consult a lawyer.
Signing the Permission to Travel Letter
For a child travelling outside Canada, the Permission to Travel Letter requires signatures from parents who are married or in a common law relationship but are not accompanying the child. In the case of separated or divorced parents who are not accompanying the child, the permission to travel letter should be signed by the parent who has custody of the child or guardianship of the child. Additionally, a court order or agreement may dictate who needs to sign the letter for a child travelling abroad.
It is permissible for any adult to witness the signing of a permission to travel letter, however, it is highly advisable to have a lawyer or notary public witness and sign the letter. This will ensure that border officials are less likely to question the authenticity of the document.
If your child will be travelling abroad without both parents, the Lawyers at Malicki Sanchez would be happy to prepare a Permission to Travel Letter or notarize a letter you have prepared.