Child Custody and Parenting – Traveling with Children

Traveling with Children

Do the children need passports to travel with me?

Yes, all children need their own passport when traveling outside of Canada. This includes newborns.

A judge can give you permission to sign alone for a child’s passport.

Can I apply for a passport for my children?

You can apply for a passport if you are:

  • the parents of the children;
  • the parent who has custody (if you are divorced); or
  • the legal guardian

You will have to provide some documentation of your status. For example, if you are applying as a parent, then you’ll need proof that you are a parent of the children. This could be the long form birth certificate or an adoption order that lists you as one of the parents. If the child has another parent, then the other parent should sign the application. If you are applying as a guardian, then you’ll need to provide proof of guardianship, which would be a court order.

Do I need the consent of the other guardians to apply for the children’s passports?

Yes, if the children have another guardian, then you will need the guardian’s consent. The other guardian must sign the application. If they refuse or can’t be located to sign, then a judge can give you permission to sign alone for the passport.

Do I need a letter to travel outside of Canada with the children?

Yes, you will need a signed letter from the other guardian or parent that says that they consent to the children traveling with you. If you don’t have a letter, you might be delayed or not allowed to enter or leave different countries.

  You can find a sample letter at

Does the letter have to be witnessed?

While there is no legal requirement to have a witness to the letter, border officials will be more likely to accept a letter as authentic if it is witnessed by an official, like a notary public.

Lawyers are notaries, and you can call ahead to find out if there is a fee.

What can I do if the other guardian refuses to provide consent for the passport, or the letter?

A judge can issue an order that says that you don’t need the other guardian’s consent to apply for a passport. You can also apply for an order that says you have permission to travel with the child. You will need to have an itinerary and the judge will consider if the travel is in the best interests of the child.

What can I do if I think the other parent is not going to bring the children back?

If you are concerned that the children won’t be returned, you should get legal help immediately.  In an emergency you can apply to the court to have the children’s passports taken away from the other guardian.  You can make an application ex parte which means you can make an application without notice to the other side.

  Ex parte application is an application that is made without notice to the other side.

Here is a sample email of one guardian requesting the consent of the other guardian to travel with the child.

You should NOT rely on this webpage for legal advice. It provides general information on Alberta law only. March 2018.

For COVID-19 information 
see the:
COVID-19 Alberta Law FAQ

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