Travel documentation is required for all children traveling overseas or to the United States by land, air or water. When traveling to different countries, it is important to research the country’s entry requirements by contacting the embassy or consulate. The following supporting documentation may be required when traveling, including:

  • Birth certificate showing the names of both parents.
  • Legal documents pertaining to custody.
  • A parental consent letter if the child is travelling with one parent, alone or with a guardian other than his or her parents.
  • A death certificate if one parent is deceased.
  • Citizenship and immigration status certificate.

When traveling by air, accepted documentation includes:

  • Valid Canadian passport.
  • A NEXUS card when used at a kiosk at designated Canadian airports and at all U.S. airports when returning to Canada.

A valid passport is essential for traveling overseas and can be obtained as soon as your child is born.

Who can apply for a passport on behalf of your child?

  • A parent.
  • Custodial parent in case of separation or divorce.
  • Legal guardian.

Passport validity period for children is as follows:

  • Passports are valid for three years for children aged 0 – 3.
  • Passports are valid for five years for children aged 3 – 15.

It is important to note that passports issued to children who are between 0 and 364 days old are entitled to a one-time replacement passport free of charge.

You may apply for a passport online or by visiting your local passport office. For additional information, online application forms and a list of Canadian passport offices in your area, please visit the Passport Canada website.

If you or your child travels frequently, you may wish to look into NEXUS. For frequent traveling, NEXUS saves time by allowing members to use self-serve kiosks when entering and leaving Canada. How can you obtain NEXUS for your child? Below are some guidelines and steps to follow:

  • If your child is under 18, you must provide written consent.
  • At least one custodial parent or guardian must be present at the NEXUS interview.
  • You must provide documents proving custodial rights.

For additional information about NEXUS, please visit the NEXUS website.

When entering the United States by land or water, a valid passport is not yet required for children 15 years and younger. Instead, it is acceptable for children to present proof of Canadian citizenship such as a birth certificate or citizenship card. If your child is 18 years or under and traveling by land or water to the United States with an organized group or under adult supervision with your consent, proof of Canadian citizenship alone is acceptable.

Regardless of your child’s age, travel documentation is required in order to prevent abduction and trafficking. Unfortunately, criminal activity involving children such as prostitution or worse does happen and proper documentation can and does help to prevent crime.