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You got your court order - but can you parent travel with your child?

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

Before travelling with a child, a parent should check their agreement or court order to see if they:

  • need the other parent's permission to travel

  • have to give the other parent information about their travel plans, such as flight details and contact numbers

To avoid delays or being refused entry or exit at the border, it is safest to have a "travel consent letter" signed by the other parent. A parent should also bring a copy of any agreement or court order that deals with travel.

A consent letter demonstrates that children who travel alone, with only one parent/guardian, friends, relatives or a group (e.g. sports, school, musical, religious) have permission to travel abroad from every parent (or guardian) who is not accompanying them on the trip. It is recommended that anyone who is under the age of majority (under 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory of residence) carry a consent letter.

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. There is no Canadian requirement to have the consent letter witnessed by a notary public. However we strongly recommend doing so, as border officials will be less likely to question the authenticity of the letter. If the child is not accompanied by both parents, we recommend carrying a consent letter signed by the non-accompanying parent, regardless of the parents’ marital status (single, married, common-law, separated, divorced or never married).

Even if you have all the decision-making responsibility, you may be required to show that you have permission from your partner who has parenting time, to travel with your child. If your partner won't agree to let you travel with your child, you may have to go to court and ask for permission to travel. In addition to carrying a consent letter, we recommend checking with an embassy or consulate of the destination country in case other documents are required. For more information see FAQs - Consent Letters for Children Travelling Abroad prepared by the Government of Canada here.

Contact us to find out how we can help you meet current travel requirements.

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