We strongly recommend that children travelling abroad carry a consent letter proving they have permission to travel from every person with the legal right to make major decisions on their behalf, if that person is not accompanying the children on the trip. For example, children travelling alone, with groups or with only one custodial parent should travel with a consent letter. The purpose of a consent letter is to facilitate the travel of Canadian children while preventing their wrongful removal to foreign countries.
For your convenience, we now offer an interactive form that you can complete in order to generate a consent letter that fits your specific needs and situation:
- Consent letter for children travelling abroad (interactive .pdf form)
Information inputted into the form cannot be saved and is not recorded by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
A sample consent letter is also available in the following formats:
A consent letter should be obtained from each person or organization with:
- custodial rights;
- guardianship rights; or
- parental authority (in Quebec only)
Since every situation is unique, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer for advice on what your child will require, particularly if your parenting arrangement has special terms governing international travel.
Carrying a consent letter cannot guarantee entry, as permission to enter another country is entirely the decision of that country. A consent letter may be required by foreign authorities, in addition to other country-specific entry requirements. You should contact the representatives of the country or countries to be visited by the child to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information regarding specific entry requirements.
We strongly recommend that you have the consent letter certified, stamped or sealed by an official who has the authority to administer an oath or solemn declaration, e.g., a commissioner for oaths, notary public or lawyer, so that the validity of the letter will not be questioned. Note that regulations concerning the administration of oaths fall under provincial/territorial law and are not determined by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. Furthermore, it is up to each official/individual who witnesses such a letter to decide what proof he/she needs to see to be able to witness/sign the letter. An official should only witness/sign a letter of consent if he/she is convinced that the individual requesting the letter is who he/she claims to be and that adequate proof has been provided.
We also recommend that you contact the transportation company (airline, train, bus, etc.) in order to observe any additional policies they might have in place.
Further information is available in the Children and Travel sections.