Custom Itinerary: Crossing the Canadian Border with Children - My Family Travels

Q.  Lynn S of England asks about the travel permission letter she may need for her upcoming trip with her daughter to the U.S.  She will be traveling to Chicago first to stay with friends there,  then this American family will be taking her and her daughter with them to Canada for a week-long vacation.

Lynn and her daughter both have British passports, and are not traveling with the child's father.

A. In our experience, you will need notarized documentation from the child's father or legal guardian to cross between the US and Canada.  This issue is equally valid in traveling to and from Great Britain, but we have not heard of any instances of border officials asking for this documentation between these two countries.  Canada is much more strict about its policies for minors traveling between countries.

In the  article, "Required Documents for Travel with Minors" there is a link to request the appropriate forms by email.  If you have trouble downloading or printing them, don't worry.

Travelers can write a letter indicating that both guardians (birth parents) give (traveler) permission to travel with (child's  name) on (dates) to (place in Canada or wherever) with your (legal guardian) contact info.

This letter must be signed and witnessed by a notary or other legal professional.

In the United States, notaries can be found at most banks, real estate offices, or that type of business, and the cost of notarizing (you sign, they stamp) should not be more than $2. In Canada, having documents notarized is a more formal and expensive legal process.

We suggest that all travelers ask for two copies of the letter in case you have to leave one with immigration, so you'll have one for the return trip.

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