Sunday, March 27, 2011

What do when travelling without your child's other parent/legal guardian

So, you are planning on flying to another country without your husband or wife, or you are divorced and are taking your kids on a trip, or your children's father/mother has passed. What documentation do you need?

Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) recommends the following documentation:
  • A consent letter proving that the child travelling alone or with one parent or guardian has permission to travel from the non-accompanying lawful parent(s) or guardian. 
  • A copy of any separation, divorce, or custody decree.
  • A copy of a court order granting guardianship, if a legal guardian is accompanying the child.
  • A certified copy of the child's birth certificate, if only one parent's name appears on the birth certificate, and the child is travelling with the other parent.
  • A certified copy of a death certificate, if one parent is deceased. 
Source: DFAIT -- Children and Travel FAQ (

If you are flying out of the country, DFAIT recommends that you also check with the nearest embassy or consulate about what other documentation that you might need. Additionally, DFAIT recommends you also check with your airline to find out about documentation. Click on the following links to find out about any additional documentation from these major Canadian airlines/charters:

Air Canada
Canadian Affair
Porter Airlines
Sunwing Airlines

DFAIT provides an excellent sample consent letter. I have not travelled outside the country alone with my children, but I have travelled domestically alone with my children, and use DFAIT's sample consent letter (unnotarized) when travelling out of province. Note: no one has asked me for a consent letter yet.

Should you have the letter notarized? That depends on the country that you are travelling to -- some require, some do not. So it's up to you to find that information out before you travel. DFAIT (as well as some of the airlines) strongly recommends that you have the letter notarized.  I know some parents who have also had their consent letters translated into the language of the country they are visiting. This may be necessary for you as well, so again, you should check with the country's nearest embassy or consulate.

Have you travelled without your children's other legal guardian? What, if any, documentation have you been asked for?

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