Your Guide to Consent Letters for Children Travelling Abroad

It is recommended that Canadian children (defined as anyone who is under the age of majority, which will depend on the province or territory of residence) carry a consent letter if they are travelling abroad alone, with only one parent/guardian, relatives, friends or with a group. A consent letter is not a legal requirement but it can simplify travel as it may be requested by immigration authorities when entering or leaving a foreign country or by Canadian officials when re-entering Canada. The letter demonstrates that the children have permission to travel abroad from parents or guardians who are not accompanying them.

It is highly recommended that you talk to a lawyer about the legal issues that may apply to you and your children’s situation, particularly if parenting arrangements have special terms governing international travel. Carrying a consent letter does not guarantee that children will be allowed to enter or leave a country, as every country has its own entry and exit requirements.

For additional information about entry and exit requirements for Canadian children travelling alone, with only one parent or with another accompanying person, see Government of Canada: Travel Advice and Advisories or contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the destination country (see: Global Affairs Canada: Foreign Representatives in Canada).

It is recommended that the letter be signed by every non-accompanying person or organization with the legal right to make major decisions for the child, including anyone with:

  • custody rights;
  • guardianship rights; or
  • parental authority (in Quebec only).

It is also recommended that the letter be signed by any non-accompanying parent who has access to the child.

Additional Resources

Global Affairs Canada provides an interactive form available that allows you to tailor a consent letter to fit your specific situation: Recommended Consent Letter for Children Travelling Abroad (GAC-AMC 2123E).

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