From the point of view of the Canadian authorities, persons who have not reached their 18th birthday are considered CHILDREN. It is therefore important to take account of the following recommendations whenever you decide to go to Canada by plane. You know what they say… it’s better play it safe than to play it by ear. Improvising may transform you into nothing else but a sorry sight. Playing by the rules, on the other hand, will help you have a heartsease journey.
First of all, any kid who travels as an unaccompanied minor or who is accompanied by one of his parents should have a consent letter which demonstrates that they have the approval to travel abroad. If there are more persons or organizations with custodial or guardianship rights or, as is the case of Quebec, parental authority, than the child needs to have one letter from everyone.
Moreover, the Canadians recommend that the consent letter is certified as well as stamped or sealed by an authority endowed with such a right, i.e. a notary public, a lawyer or a commissioner of oaths. Certification is important so that so that the validity of the letter may not be put into question. Moreover, the letter is aimed to prevent the unlawful transportation of children into and from Canada.
All the minors must have a valid Canadian passport in order to be permitted to travel abroad. Moreover, do not forget about documents that identify your kid such as this or her BIRTH CERTIFICATE or, if case may be, CITIZENSHIP CARD. You’ll have to check with the destination country’s embassy or consulate in Canada for information related to any other supplementary paperwork you may need in order to be able to have a worry-free holiday.
Think of a BACKUP IDENTIFICATION PLAN such as placing some copies of your child’s identification documents in his pocket or backpack. They’ll prove extremely helpful in case you get separated from your child. Furthermore, a RECENT PHOTO will also be useful in such a situation.
Airline personnel will, as a general rule, accompany and keep your kid UNDER SURVEILLANCE from check-in through the point of destination. Nevertheless, they’re likely to ask you to remain at the airport of departure until the plane has taken off. You’ll thus be assured that you child is really heading to his or her destination. Besides, the adult picking the child at the point of destination must also have the appropriate documentation (identification and authorization paperwork) so that he or she may be handed in the kid.
Last, but not least, you may also consider seeing your kid’s physician before the trip. You may be given useful advice which may help your kid all through the journey.
Overall, these are the documents which are needed when traveling with children in Canada:
- Canadian passport
- Consent letter
- Supporting identification, i.e. birth certificate
- Other legal documents, i.e. divorce papers, custody court orders or a death certificate (if one parent is deceased)
If your kid is traveling as an unaccompanied minor you should:
Inform the carrier when you make the reservation and make sure they’ll take care of your kid accordingly.
Check with the carrier if there are any limitations related to the age of your child or the itinerary.
Make sure that whoever is dropping the kid at the airport does not leave the premises until the plane has taken off.
Make sure that whoever is picking the kid up, will arrive at the airport of arrival well in advance and that he or she carries all the necessary supporting documents.
Make certain that you child has medical approval if the suffers from any medical condition. Otherwise, your child will not be accepted for travel as an unaccompanied minor. Airlines reserve the right to refuse an unaccompanied minor in case medical clearance cannot be obtained.
Consular Services website: www.travel.gc.ca
General Tel.: 1-800-267-6788 (in Canada and the U.S.) or 613-944-6788
TTY: 1-800-394-3472 (in Canada and the U.S.) or 613-944-1310
Emergencies Tel.: 613-996-8885 (call collect from abroad where available)