Christmas holiday season is fast approaching, and for single parents planning to travel, the burning question is “what documents do I need?” or “Do I need a travel consent letter?”
What is a travel consent letter?
A travel consent letter is signed by parents not traveling with their child(ren) out of the country. The letter authorizes another adult to travel with the child(ren) to another country. It also authorizes that adult to make medical decisions for the child(ren).
A Notary Public signs the Travel Consent to verify the signature.
Do I need one?
I always recommend you have one if you are taking a child across the border without both parents. Without one, customs officials can deny the child entry into the country. The Government of Canada strongly recommends that you have one if travelling with minors.
How do I prepare a Travel Consent?
You can find Travel Consent templates online. The Government of Canada has a few samples here. Once you prepare the order, call a law office to book an appointment with a Notary Public to have it signed. With very few exceptions, in Alberta, only lawyers are Notaries.
What if I can’t get one signed?
It depends on why you can’t get it signed.
Do you have a custody or parenting order? A court order stating that you can travel without the consent means you do not need a Travel Consent.
No additional parent listed on the child’s long form birth certificate? Take the long form birth certificate instead of a Travel Consent.
Did the other parent pass away? Take the death certificate, and the long form birth certificate instead of a Travel Consent.
If none of those situations apply, you need to have a Travel Consent. If the other parent refuses to sign the Consent, you will need to make a court application, so ensure that you have adequate time to get a court order as it can take several months.
Need help to get a court order? Book a family law consultation with us!