Traveling Abroad with Children: Consent Letters & Custody

family sitting in the back of an SUV on a road trip

Posted by heritagelawoffices on Apr 30, 2018 in Blog, Family Law

Legally, Canada considers a child to be anyone under the age of 18 or 19 (depending on the province or territory of residence). Due to modern lifestyles and the shrinking world, Canadian children of all ages are able to experience almost all forms of travel and exploration. It is truly an amazing time to be alive, but there are still considerations to be made under the law to protect your child– especially if there is or has been a question of custody. Read on for Heritage Law’s Q&A guide to traveling abroad with children.

“What is a letter of consent?”

A letter of consent or consent letter is a legal document that represents a child’s interests, authorized by anyone who is absent and has the legal decision-making powers of the child (such as a parent or guardian).

“When would my child need a consent letter?”

Officials of foreign countries and domestic Canadian authorities may ask for proof that a child is travelling with the knowledge and approval of their legal guardians. This is especially relevant if the child is alone, but also if they are traveling with a school or recreational groups, friends, relatives or just one guardian.

“We have a consent letter, what other documentation does my child need?”

The Government of Canada recommends, in addition to a letter of consent, a traveling child should carry: a valid passport, a second form of photo identification and any supporting legal documents related to their custody or other special arrangements.

Heritage Law’s questions and answers above are only a brief summary of the challenges your child may face when travelling. Questions? Concerns? Contact or visit our legal professionals today!