- May 8, 2023

Consent to Travel Letters: A Good Idea

Consent to Travel Letters: A Good Idea

We are often asked about Consent to Travel Letters as people are sometimes told that these letters are “recommended”, but not “required”.  Are they worth it?

What are Consent to Travel Letters?

Simply put, these letters give permission for someone to travel outside of Canada with a child. The custodial parent(s) give permission for the child to leave Canada and are used in the following situations:

  • When one parent travels abroad with the child, without the other parent.
  • When the child travels abroad with a third party
  • When the child travels abroad without adult accompaniment.

 

Why are they Used?

Parents sometimes don’t understand why these letters are requested.

We are told:

“I’m the child’s parent, shouldn’t I be able to take my child anywhere I want?”

“We have the same surname, so travelling together shouldn’t be a problem.”

“We are only driving across the border for a day trip, so no one would ask for this letter.”

“We weren’t asked for a letter last time we travelled, so it shouldn’t be a problem if we don’t have a Consent to travel letter.”

The primary purpose of Consent to Travel letters is to safeguard the child’s well-being. In rare cases, a parent or other individual may abduct the child amidst tumultuous marital or relationship disputes. Sometimes, the child is taken out of the country for illicit reasons, such as evading one or both parents. Once the child is outside Canada, locating and returning them can be extremely challenging. A notarized Consent to Travel letter provides border officials with verifiable proof that the child has parental permission to travel, significantly reducing the risk of abduction.

Consent to Travel letters are often mandatory when crossing international borders. Instances have occurred where parents were denied permission to travel because they lacked a notarized Consent letter. Regardless of whether you share a surname with your child, border agents may still request this document. The duration or distance of your trip does not exempt you from this requirement; even brief day trips from Ontario to New York State are subject to it.

While border agents may not always ask for a Consent to Travel letter, they frequently do. To ensure a smooth trip, be prepared with the necessary documentation. Our offices offer walk-in notarization services, usually taking just a few minutes. Additionally, we can help you draft the letter, streamlining the entire process.

We look forward to assisting you.

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