Children or Minors traveling to Canada
Any visitor arriving in Canada who is under 18 years of age is considered a minor or child under Canadian immigration rules. These individuals are subject to the same immigration rules as any other visitor, regardless of their age.
Traveling to Canada with a minor requires a thorough understanding of the requirements, otherwise the minor and the accompanying adult will likely not be allowed to board a flight to Canada. This guide provides the representative or a parent / guardian with information on completing the eTA application form on behalf of a child traveling to Canada.
Does every member of my family or travel group need an eTA, including babies?
Regardless of age, each member of a travel group must apply for an eTA, either on their own or through a parent or guardian applying on their behalf. One eTA cannot be used for multiple applicants. There are no exceptions to these rules, nor for families or babies.
Can I apply for an eTA on behalf of my child?
Parents or guardians can apply for an eTA on behalf of their child or the minor they supervise. On the application form, a parent or legal guardian must specify that they are applying on behalf of another, as well as indicate that the applicant is a child. The application will ask the parent or legal guardian to provide information about themselves along with travel, passports and personal information about the child.
Accompanying minors – What documents do I need if my spouse does not travel with myself and the child?
Additional documentation is required if a child does not travel with both parents. This is to ensure that both parents allow the trip. The required additional documentation is as follows:
The child’s passport – a valid passport for the child must be available for checking border staff.
Birth Certificate – A black and white or color copy of the child’s birth certificate.
Non-Accompanying Parent Identification – A black and white or color copy of the non-traveling parent’s signed passport or national identity card, or a copy of both parents’ signed passport or a national identification card if the child is traveling with a person who is not a parent or guardian .
Custody Agreement – Separate or divorced parents with shared custody must have a copy of legal custody agreements signed and witnessed by legal representatives.
Consent Letter – A recent letter signed by the non-traveling parent (s) acknowledging and approving the travel plans to or through Canada. The letter must have been signed and dated within the last 12 months. This letter should be written in English or French and include contact information for parents such as their home address, email address and telephone number. The letter must be confirmed by a notary or witnessed by an unrelated third party to better ensure its authenticity. If the parents have joint custody, they must both sign the letter of authorization authorizing the trip. If a parent has sole custody following a divorce, the letter must only be signed by that parent and the traveling parent must also provide proof of relevant custody papers. Minors or children traveling with an adult who is not their parent or guardian must have written permission from both children’s parents or guardian (s) that they have been granted the right to travel with the child.
Deceased Parents – If one of the child’s parents is deceased, the traveling parent or guardian must bring copies of the death certificate to present to border officers. If both of the child’s parents are deceased, the legal guardian must bring a notarized copy of the guardianship or adoption papers in the case the child has been adopted.
Minors who are either trying to enter Canada alone or with independent parents or legal guardians are usually investigated more carefully, as border officials are trained to look for cases where there may be the potential for missing children or children running away from home and probation to travel to Canada. Therefore, independent parents or guardians traveling with children, or children traveling alone, should be diligent in possessing the required documentation when arriving at the Canadian border.
The necessary documents for unaccompanied minors traveling alone are as follows:
Passport – the child must bring his or her own passport and cannot use a parent or guardian.
Birth certificate – the child must bring a copy of their birth certificate.
Letter of consent – the letter of consent or permit must be written in English or French and signed as well as witnessed by a third party or notary. The letter must include the name and contact information of both parents, e.g. Their address, phone number and email address. In addition to the parents’ contact information, the letter should also include the name, address, phone and email address of the person (s) hosting or caring for the child while in Canada.