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Travel out of Canada and Passport Information

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  1. General information on passport applications for children under 16 years of age by Passport Canada
  2. Passport Considerations for Separation Agreements and Court Orders by the Canadian Bar Association
  3. What documents should be carried by a child traveling alone or by a parent or guardian traveling with a child?
  4. Travel Consent Form

General information on passport applications for children under 16 years of age by Passport Canada

Acknowledgment:  Resolve: A News Magazine for Members of Family Mediation Canada, December 2007

Passport Canada strongly recommends that both parents participate in obtaining a passport for their child.  One parent should apply and the other parent should participate by signing the passport application in the “Other Parent” section.

When a child is under 16 years of age, only the child’s parents or legal guardian can apply for a passport.  In cases of separation or divorce, the applicant must be the custodial parent.  If the parents have joint custody, then either parent may apply for the child’s passport with  the consent of the other parent.  In most cases, Passport Canada will require a long form birth certificate to prove the child’s parentage.

If the applicant parent has custody, but the other parent has specific access, then that parent will be asked to acknowledge that they are aware that a passport application has been made for the child by signing the application form or the Passport Canada form called “Acknowledgment/Consent to provision of passport facilities for a minor child.”  If the applicant parent has custody and the other parent has been granted “reasonable access” (as opposed to specific access or joint custody) then the participation of the other parent in the application process is not generally required.  However, the information regarding the other parent must be completed.

The applicant parent must provide copies of all legal documents, such as separation agreements and court orders, pertaining to custody of, and access to, or mobility of the child to apply for a passport.  The applicant parent must submit these documents in their entirety.  Passport Canada reviews the documents to ascertain the custodial arrangement, whether specific access has been granted to the non-custodial parent, and to ensure that there are no mobility restrictions for the child.  If a mobility restriction exists, no passport can be issued without a new court order.  If under the court order, the restriction could be removed with the consent of both parents, then the passport can be issued with the consent of both parents.

In cases where a parent’s participation is required but cannot be obtained, Passport Canada will review the documents provided with the application before deciding what further documentation will be necessary.  In such cases, the applicant parent may need to provide a statutory declaration or a new court order to ensure that he or she has the authority to make a passport application for the child.

Please note that divorce or family law court orders or separation agreements should not contain any clauses requiring Passport Canada to act.  The only court with the power to authorize or order Passport Canada to act, or refrain from acting, is the Federal Court of Canada.

For more information, please contact Passport Canada at 1-800-567-6868, or check out their website at www.passportcanada.gc.ca


Passport Considerations for Separation Agreements and Court Orders by the Canadian Bar Association

Acknowledgment: Resolve: A News Magazine for Members of Family Mediation Canada, December 2007

The Canadian Bar Association’s National Family Law Section offers the following drafting suggestions for clauses to be incorporated into MOUs, separation agreements or court orders:

Custody

Where sole custody is granted, it could be useful to add a paragraph clarifying that the custodial parent has the necessary authority to apply for a passport for the child without the other parent’s participation or consent.

If both parents wish to consent for the issuance of a passport, a clause could be added that for the purposes of a passport application, the custodial parent will apply but the other parent must consent to a passport being issued to the child.

Mobility restrictions

If the purpose of a mobility restriction is not to inhibit travel but rather to ensure that a parent does not establish a new residence in another jurisdiction (such as in another city or province) it would be important to clarify in an MOU, Agreement or Order that the restriction regarding the residence of the parent does not limit the parents’ ability to take the child out of the jurisdiction of the court, and travel abroad with the child.

Reference:

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/fcy-fea/
What documents should be carried by a child traveling alone or by a parent or guardian traveling with a child?

Foreign Affairs and International trade Canada has an informative web site which explains the requirements of travelling with a child, including sample letters of consent:  http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

They recommend that parents carry the proper identification for themselves and any children traveling with them, including any documents that might be required by the authorities of the country they intend to visit, and by Canadian authorities on their return to Canada with the child.  Generally, persons younger than 18 years of age could be considered children.  P[roper identification includes, but is not limited to, a valid passport for the child when travelling outside Canada. In addition to passports, proper identification could include, but is not limited to, birth certificates, citizenship cards, landed immigrant records and certificates of Indian status.

In addition, they recommend:

  • That a consent document or letter be carried to prove that the child has the permission of the absent lawful parent(s) or guardian to travel.  This document should be specific to each trip and should include contact information for the parent(s) or guardian.  A sample is provided at the following link:  http://www.voyage.gc.ca/ for parents to use as a model to draft their own consent letter.  This consent document could be required even if the separation or divorce documents award custody of the child to the accompanying parent, but the non-custodial parent has legal access or visiting rights to the child.
  • That in addition to the certified consent document from the absent parent, a copy of any separation, divorce or custody decree be carried with the parent accompanying the children, as it may be requested.
  • A child of divorced or separated parents who is travelling without either parent could use either one consent document signed by both parents or two separate documents.
  • If a legal guardian is travelling with the child, then a copy of the court order granting guardianship might also be requested.
  • If only one parent’s name appears on the birth certificate, and the child is travelling with the other parent, then we also recommend that a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate be carried.
  • If one parent has died, a certified copy of the death certificate could also be carried.

Parents should remember that customs officers, as well as other authorities, inside and outside Canada are looking for missing children and may ask questions.  They stress the importance of making sure parents carry the proper identification for themselves and any children travelling with them.


 
 
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