Travelling with minors – Summer Travel Tips

As our lives are freeing up and getting back to normal, we are (happily) seeing more parents coming into our Notary office to get child travel consent letters signed. These consent letters demonstrate that a child (minor) has permission to travel outside Canada away from a parent or legal guardian who is not accompanying them. Typically, the child is travelling by a car to the USA or by plane to many places in the world.

Common scenarios we see are where one parent is travelling but the other is not. However, the minor child may be travelling without both parents. Or they may be flying on their own. They may also be part of a sports team leaving to get training or play in tournaments. The signed travel consent document may be carried by the child, adult, or coach.

It is normal that children don’t always have the last name of one or both their parents. They may have a double barreled or hyphenated name.  There is now also a trend to name children who have neither parent’s last name.

While the last name is always important to check, it is also important to not forget about middle names in legal documents. For example, proof of vaccine has become a strong travel requirement. There may be a name shown on the original vaccine documentation that is different from the legal passport.  A child may have the legal name Naomi May Lillian Bernstein. However, the vaccine passport may only show three names such as Naomi May Bernstein. While this is the same person, the documents don’t line up and match.

When travelling Beverly recommends these tips to ensure the child is as prepared as possible:

  1. Check travel passport against other relevant documents for various versions of the child’s name.
  2. If the names are not the same between the passport and vaccine documents, consider an affidavit or a written statement explaining the name variation along with supporting information such as: passport, citizenship, PR, birth certificates, etc.
  3. Check the rules in the country where the child is travelling to for that country’s proof of vaccine requirements.
  4. Have the parent sign the travel consent letter 2-4 weeks before travelling.
  5. Download a scanned version of that signed consent letter onto the phone of the child and the person they are authorized to travel with.
  6. Travel with a scanned copy of the child’s birth certificate showing the parents’ full legal names.
  7. Travel with copies of any custody or guardianship documents.
  8. Where a parent is deceased, take a copy of the deceased parent’s death certificate.

Happy and safe summer travels from Beverly Carter and the Notary Team

For more detail on Child Consent Letters Click Here