Travelling with Children

I am happily married with 3 children. I want to take my children over to Europe for a 3-week vacation. My wife is working for the first week but will join us in Europe after that. I have heard that I may encounter problems when we leave, as my wife will not be with us. Is this true?

Yes.

In general, unless there is a court order stating otherwise, the parents of a child are that child’s legal guardians.

Since customs officials must always be on the lookout for missing children, parents or guardians travelling with children require a proof of citizenship for that child plus consent from all legal guardians.

Therefore, if a child is travelling with one parent or guardian, a Letter of Consent from the absent parent must accompany the child. This is true even if the guardians are two happily married parents. Many countries will not allow entry or exit without such documentation.

Last Reviewed: August 2015

My husband and I are separated and getting a divorce. I would like to take my children to visit relatives in the United States. Is there anything special that I need to do?

Yes.

In general, unless there is a court order stating otherwise, the parents of a child are that child’s legal guardians.

Persons travelling with children require a proof of citizenship for those children plus consent from all legal guardians. Therefore:

  • If you are the sole guardian, you do not require a letter from the other parent (as s/he is not a guardian). You must, however, travel with a notarized copy of the court order that appointed you sole guardian. You may also wish to obtain a letter from the other parent just to help avoid difficulties
  • If a child has more than one guardian, and is travelling with only one guardian, a notarized Letter of Consent from the absent guardian(s) must accompany the child.

Last Reviewed: August 2015

We have 4 grandchildren. This spring break, we would like to take them with us in out RV for some camping in the US. Is there anything special that we need to do?

Yes.

Since customs officials must always be on the lookout for missing children, parents or guardians travelling with children require a proof of citizenship for that child plus consent from all legal guardians.

Therefore, in order to travel to another country with your grandchildren, you must have a Letter of Consent to travel signed by all of the childrens’ guardians. Many countries will not allow entry or exit without such documentation.

In general, unless there is a court order stating otherwise, the parents of a child are that child’s legal guardians. If guardianship was determined by a court order, have a notarized copy of the court order with you when you travel.

Last Reviewed: August 2015

My wife and I are divorced, can we just get a single Letter of Consent to Travel to allow all future travel, or do we have to sign a new letter each time?

No, you cannot just get a single Letter of Consent to Travel to allow all future travel.

You must have a new Letter of Consent every time you travel. The letter should include details such as: the dates of travel, airlines names, flight numbers, place of residence while abroad (if applicable), etc.

Last Reviewed: August 2015

What information goes into a Letter of Consent to Travel?

A Letter of Consent to travel should include the following information:

• the names, dates of birth, residence information and passport numbers of the children who are traveling • the names, dates of birth, contact information and passport numbers of the people who are traveling with the children • the names, dates of birth, residence and contact information of the childrens’ guardian • travel details such as: dates, flight numbers, countries to be visited • a statement from the guardian(s) allowing the travel

The Letter of Consent to travel must be signed and dates by the guardian(s) giving consent. It is best to complete this signing process with a Notary Public who can act as a witness and certify the authenticity of the document. If there is a court order that addresses the issue of guardianship, you should have a notarized copy of that that court order as well.

Last Reviewed: August 2015

Where can I find a sample Letter of Consent to Travel?

You can find a sample on the on the Travel Links section under “Information Before You Depart”, called Sample Letter of Consent.

Last Reviewed: August 2015

Are there FAQs about passports for children?

Yes. See the FAQs here.

Last Reviewed: August 2015

See Also

For more information, see these other Canadian Legal FAQs.: Travel – Additional Resources and Travelling with Children (PDF)

Share this:
Facebooktwitter