Consent letter for Canadian child travelling alone or with one parent
- April 1, 2022
- Posted by: olinsadmin
- Categories: Family Travel, Insurance Toronto, Life Insurance Ontario, Life Insurance Toronto, Travel Medical Insurance
In Ontario, a Canadian child (or Canadian minor) is defined as anyone who is under the age of majority. The age of majority is the age when you are legally considered to be an adult. The age of majority is different in other provinces, but in Ontario it is 18 years old.
Children from 12 through 17 years of age may travel alone without restrictions. The Unaccompanied Minor Service is optional, but if requested, the restrictions imposed by the service will apply. Youths at least 16 years old may act as accompanying adults for minors.
Travel Canada strongly recommends that Canadian minors carry a consent letter if they are travelling abroad alone, with only one parent/guardian, with friends or relatives or with a group and gives detail directions on how to write a recommended consent letter for children travelling abroad.
What is a consent letter?
A consent letter demonstrates that a chil who travels alone, with only one parent/guardian, friends, relatives or a group (e.g. sports, school, musical, religious) has permission to travel abroad from every parent (or guardian) who is not accompanying them on the trip.
A consent letter is not a legal requirement in Canada, but it can simplify travel for Canadian children, as it may be requested by immigration authorities when entering or leaving a foreign country or by Canadian officials when re-entering Canada. The letter demonstrates that Canadian children have permission to travel abroad from parents or guardians who are not accompanying them.
However, 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. You have to contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the destination country and also check Canada Travel Advice and Advisories.
Recommended consent letter for children travelling abroad from Travel Canada
There are no official guidelines for the content and format of a consent letter. You can find an example of a recommended consent letter for children travelling abroad in PDF format, MS Word or as an interactive form on the Travel Canada website: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/children/consent-letter
You can use the interactive form to write a consent letter that fits your specific situation. You can also save information entered in this form.
A sample consent letter is provided for your convenience and may be modified to fit your specific situation. Nevertheless, it’s recommended including as much detail as possible.
Travel Canada recommends that anyone who is under the age of majority carry a consent letter.
A consent letter is not mandatory, however …
There is no Canadian legal requirement for children to carry a consent letter. However, a consent letter may be requested by immigration authorities when entering or leaving a foreign country, airline agents or Canadian officials when re-entering Canada. Failure to produce a letter upon request may result in delays or refusal to enter or exit a country.
It’s recommended that even a parent who has full/sole custody obtain a consent letter from another parent who has access rights (also called visitation rights).
Who should sign the consent letter?
The consent letter should be signed by parents, who are not accompanying the child on a trip, including:
One or both parents who are married or in a common-law relationship and live together with the child. Both parents usually have custody rights over the child.
One or both parents who are separated, divorced or do not live together. In some situations, parents have “joint custody” or “joint guardianship” of a child, meaning that they make important decisions about the child together. In other situations, one parent has “sole custody” and is responsible for making important decisions for the child, while the other parent has “access rights.” Travel Canada recommends that the letter be signed by all parents who are not travelling with the child, whether they have custody or access rights.
The consent letter better be notarized
The signing of the letter has to be witnessed by anyone who has attained the age of majority. However, Travel Canada recommends having the letter witnessed by a notary public, as border officials will be less likely to question the authenticity of the letter.