Many countries around the world, including Canada, require that proper documents are presented to Customs Authorities before they will allow exiting from/ entry into their countries with minor children. Foreign Customs and Immigration Officials are trained to look for missing children and they have the legal right to ask questions about any children travelling with an adult, even if that adult is the children's own biological parent. Furthermore, it does not matter that the children and the adult travelling with them are Canadian Citizens, Canadian Customs and Immigration Officials may still seek to ask questions before allowing such persons re-entry into Canada. Therefore, when travelling with children, it is prudent and prepare to present various documents to Customs and Immigration Officials, both domestically and internationally. These documents may include, but not limited to:
- Birth certificates showing the names of both parents;
- Death certificate, if one of the parents is deceased.
- Legal Documents pertaining to custody order granted by a family court judge;
- Citizenship and/or other relevant ID's as required by the country you want to enter with the children;
- Valid Passports; and
- Notarized Letter of Parental Consent for the children to travel.
As recommended by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, in order to ensure that the Parental Consent Letter will not be questioned by Customs Authorities, the letter should be certified/notarized and sealed with a notary public stamp by a person who has the authority to administer oaths and solemn declarations. Vinh T. Tran is a PRACTISING LAWYER, a notary public, and a commissioner of oaths, in and for the Province of Ontario, can assist in swearing the consenting parent under oath, witnessing the signing of the consent letter and notarizing the consent letter to allow your children to travel.
- If your child is travelling with one parent, the other parent (the parent NOT travelling must give consent) MUST be present before Vinh T. Tran to be sworn under oath, to witness the signing of the consent letter, and finally sign, date and sealing the letter with a notary public seal stamp in order to give permission for the child to travel with his/her spouse or the parent who is travelling with the child;
- If your child is travelling alone, then BOTH parents MUST be present before Vinh T. Tran to be sworn under oath, sign and date the letter in order to give permission for the child to travel alone.
- If your child is travelling with neither parents, i.e. with a relative exp. Grandparent/ Older sibling/ Aunt/ Uncle etc., then BOTH parents MUST be present before Vinh T. Tran, to be sworn under oath, sign and date the letter in order to give permission for the child to travel with an accompanying adult/ relative.
- If you are in a blended family, all parents may need to be present with proper photo ID's before Vinh T Tran, to be sworn under oaths, sign and date the letter in order to give permission for the child/children to travel out of the country.
Although there is a sample consent letter for children travelling abroad on the government website, it is not the formal and official letter that must be used. As every situation is unique, there is no formal template for which you can download. As such, you may draft your own letter to fit the dynamic of your family exp. blending family, multiple children, restrictions due to court order or by agreement etc, as long as you include the relevant information, including but not limited to:
- Parents' full legal names and profession, contact information and support identification number (DL or passport #).
- Child or list the names of all the children, including DOB and passport numbers and citizenship.
- Information about the adult travelling with the minor, including full legal name, relationship, profession, citizenship and contact information.
- Information about the location(s) and duration you permit the consent letter to take effect.
- The name and contact information of the lawyer/notary public who will seal the letter.
Furthermore, it is important to note that depending on the dynamic of your family relationship and composition, it is perfectly reasonable to execute a blanket travel permission letter whereby the parents can give each other permission to travel with their children in the absence of the other parent. Depending on the comfort level of the relationship between the parents, it is also reasonable to either list all the countries one would like to permit the child to travel or state "any country worldwide" or to limit traveling to certain countries. Whereas the parents may specify the dates of travel or to limit the travel to 5 or 10 years or to the expiration of the child's passport. The blanket permission letter will save you both time and money. If you would like a sample blanket template, please contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org for free sample template.
It is equally important to confirm the travel advisories as well as the embassy to see whether there are any other requirement needed to be fulfilled before you can embark on your vacation. For example, in the near future, travelling to Mexico will require numerous documentation procedures including translation of the consent letter into Spanish, notarization of the consent letter, authentication of the notary public who notarized the letter then get it legalized at the embassy offices. For more information, please contact the:
CONSULATE GENERAL OF MEXICO IN TORONTO
Coverage: Ontario and Manitoba Address:
11 King Street West, Suite 350
Toronto, Ontario, M5H 4C7
Telephone: (416) 368-2875
If you require a sample template of the consent letter for children to travel abroad from my office, please email email@example.com and request for a free template.
A final point that I would like to suggest is to search for a reasonable priced notary public to notarize your consent letter for your child(ren) to travel. There is no justifiable reason for paying any lawyer $60 to $100 for a simple signature and seal. Instead, use the suggestions I have provided above and find a lawyer who can provide the service for a cheap fee then take the saving to purchase travel insurance for the trip. Travel insurance is absolutely vital for any trip outside your home province/country. Spend your money wisely, get a cheap notarization done then use the saving to purchase travel insurance.