With spring break fast approaching, many British Columbians are planning and looking forward to trips away.

If your children are not travelling with both parents or if they’re travelling with another adult or family member, there are some travel documents you may want to consider.

The Government of Canada strongly recommends a consent to travel letter signed by both parents or guardians accompany a child when she/he is travelling under the following circumstances:

  • alone
  • with only one parent or guardian
  • with friends, relatives
  • with a group

Children in this case are defined as anyone under the age of majority (19 in B.C.).

The government strongly advises that consent letters be witnessed by an official with the authority to administer an oath or declaration, such as a Notary Public.

If you are unsure about whether your child custody arrangement allows for international travel, you should consult your family lawyer.

Many countries require consent letters— it’s always a good idea to check the appropriate country’s embassy or consulate website.

Consent letters are not a legal requirement for re-entry into Canada, but they can simplify travel and prevent delays, says Travel Canada.

A Notary Public in this case, is ensuring the signatures on a consent letter are from the correct people, and have been declared under oath. Both parents or legal guardians should sign the consent to travel letter, including those with custody rights or guardianship rights over the child.

The consent letter could also include instructions regarding medical decisions for the child from parents or guardians.

For full instructions regarding consent to travel letters, visit http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/children/consent-letter.

Being prepared when travelling abroad goes without saying; you always pack your passport, birth certificate and other important documentation. But when travelling with children, you may also want to consider a letter of consent if any of the above circumstances apply to your situation.

If you would like advice on consent to travel letters, ask away: info@simpsonnotaries.com