Recommended Consent Letter for Children Travelling Abroad
We strongly recommend that Canadian children carry a consent letter if they are travelling abroad alone, with only one parent/guardian, with friends or relatives or with a group. For the purposes of this consent letter, a Canadian child is defined as anyone who is under the age of majority (18 or 19, depending on the province or territory of residence).
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.
We recommend that you talk to a lawyer about the legal issues that apply to you and your children’s unique situation, particularly if your parenting arrangement has special terms governing international travel. 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.
For additional information about entry and exit requirements for Canadian children travelling alone, with only one parent or with another accompanying person, see our Country Travel Advice and Advisories or contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the destination country.
We recommend that the letter be signed by every non-accompanying person or organization with the legal right to make major decisions for the child, including anyone with:
- custody rights,
- guardianship rights, or
- parental authority (in Quebec only)
We also recommend that the letter be signed by any non-accompanying parent who has access to the child.
Consult justice.gc.ca if you have questions about parenting terminology.
We encourage you to use our interactive form to write a consent letter that fits your specific situation. The letter must be printed, since information entered in the form cannot be saved and is not collected or stored by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. Click on the following link to create a personalized consent letter:
- Interactive form (fillable .pdf)
A sample consent letter is also available in the following formats, which you can customize to meet your needs:
The signing of a consent letter may be witnessed by anyone who has attained the age of majority (18 or 19, depending on the province or territory of residence). However, we strongly recommend that you have the letter certified by an official who has the authority to administer an oath or solemn declaration (e.g. a commissioner of oaths, notary public or lawyer), so that border officials will be less likely to question its authenticity.
We also recommend that you contact the airline, bus, train or other transport company you will be using to check its policies and regulations for child travellers.
- Consent Letter FAQ
- Children and Travel
- Child Abductions and Custody Issues
- Travelling with Children (fact sheet)
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