As the winter holidays approach, you may be planning to take the kids and escape the snow to warmer weather. If you are planning to travel with kids under 18, you should consider obtaining a notarized travel letter to avoid any unnecessary trouble at the border.
A notarized travel consent letter may be required for any child crossing the Canadian border when they are not traveling with all their guardians. There is no legal requirement in Canada for child to carry a letter, however it may be requested by immigration authorities when entering or leaving foreign countries and a failure to produce the letter may stop a trip in its tracks. While a separated couple may be used to traveling individually with a child, the need for a travel letter is not exclusive to separated parties. They may be required when one parent travels with the children, the children travel with another family member, or the children are travelling without any of their guardians (e.g. School trips). There is no standard form for a travel consent letter but, at minimum, it should contain the following:
The full names and birthdays of the children travelling;
The names, addresses, and contact information for the guardians not travelling with the children;
The name and relationship to the children of the adult travelling with the child (if appropriate);
The place the children are travelling too, and potentially where and who they will be staying with;
The date that the children are travelling, and their expected return date;
The letter then needs to be signed by all the guardians not travelling with the children. This signature also needs to be witnessed by someone who is over the age of 18. While it is not mandatory to have the letter certified by a Notary Public, doing so will make border authorities less likely to challenge the authenticity of the letter. If you require assistance with drafting or signing a travel consent letter, our friendly lawyers are available to help you.