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Information About Children Under 18 Years of Age Travelling to Canada

MINOR CHILDREN TRAVELLING TO CANADA

Border services officers are on alert for children who need protection. Children under the age of 18 seeking to enter Canada are classified as minors and are subject to the entry requirements set out under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

A more detailed examination will be conducted for minors entering Canada without proper identification or those travelling in the company of adults other than their parents or legal guardian(s). This additional scrutiny helps ensure the safety of the children.

Persons under 18 years of age travelling by themselves must have their own passports; they cannot use the passport of their parents even if their details are endorsed in that passport.

Immigration Officers are particularly vigilant about missing or runaway children. They may question you about children who accompany you to Canada or question a child travelling alone. Make sure you have the proper documents with you.

If a minor child is travelling alone:

If the child is travelling alone, the child should have a copy of his/her birth certificate as well as a letter of authorization, preferably in English or French, signed by both parents or by his/her legal guardian. The letter of authorization should give the parents’ (or legal guardian’s) address(es) and telephone number(s). It should also include the name, address and telephone number of the adult who will be responsible for the child in Canada.

If a minor child is travelling with one parent only:

The child should have a copy of his/her birth certificate as well as a letter of authorization, preferably in English or French, signed by the parent who is not travelling with him. The letter of authorization should give the address and telephone number of the non-accompanying parent. A photocopy of the passport or national identity card of the non-accompanying parent, with the bearer’s signature, should be attached.

In addition:

  • If the parents are separated or divorced, and they share custody of the child, the parent travelling with the child should carry copies of the legal custody documents. It is also recommended that they have a letter of authorization from the other custodial parent to take the child on a trip out of the country.
  • If the parents are separated or divorced and one of them has sole custody of the child, the letter of authorization may be signed by that parent only and a copy of the custody decree presented.
  • If one of the child’s parents is deceased, a copy of the death certificate should be presented.

If a minor child is travelling with a legal guardian or adoptive parents:

If the child is under guardianship, a copy of the guardianship papers should be presented.
If the child has been adopted, a copy of the adoption papers should be presented.

If a minor child is travelling with a person other than his/her parents or legal guardian:

If the child is travelling with an adult who is not his/her parent or legal guardian, the adult should have written permission from the parents or guardians to supervise the child. The permission letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or legal guardian can be reached. 

Note: These documents are not always requested upon entry to Canada, but they may be. We therefore strongly recommend bringing them in case they are required by the immigration officer at the point of entry (airport or border crossing). A minor child will not be admitted to Canada if the officer is not satisfied that his parents or legal guardian have authorized his stay.

It is not necessary for the letter from the parent(s) described above to be certified, but a certified letter is acceptable. A photocopy of the parents’ or legal guardian’s passports or national identity cards bearing their signatures should be attached to the letter.

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Date Modified:
2013-12-20