By: Sarah Nasser
Travel is a fun and exciting time for children. It exposes them to new environments, new people and different cultures. But before you pack their bags and take them to the airport, you might need to take care of a little extra paperwork.
Travel consent letters are generally prepared for a parent who intends to travel internationally with their child(ren) absent the other parent. While not a legal requirement when travelling, a travel consent letter is highly recommended by the Government of Canada and family lawyers alike, especially on international trips where it may be requested by immigration authorities and/or Canadian officials. Failure to produce a letter upon request may result in delays and/or refusal to enter or exit a country.
It is not just separated and/or divorced spouses that may need a travel consent letter. If a minor child is travelling without their custodial guardians, whether that is their grandparents or their basketball coach across the Canadian border, it will also be necessary to obtain and carry a travel consent letter.
What if you have sole custody of your child(ren)? Despite having sole or final decision making rights for your child(ren), it is strongly recommended that the travel consent letter is signed both by parents with custodial rights and by parents with access rights to the child(ren).
Do I have to sign a travel consent letter? Generally most parties get travel consent orders signed by the other party without issue, however, if the other parent does not consent to the travel letter, a court application will be necessary to ensure you are able to travel. Best practice is to ask for consent early to ensure there is time to bring an application if required.
Please note that we always suggest getting the travel consent letter notarized by a Notary Public to ensure that you will be able to travel. If you need a Notary Public please contact our office.