Travelling Abroad with Grandchildren

By Rebecca Anderson, BA, LLB

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Photo by: James Ellsworth

If you plan to travel abroad with your grandchildren, prepare documents and parental permission in advance or you may have to cancel your travel plans, which can be expensive and disappointing. Due to the rising number of child abductions and custody disputes, customs and immigration officials have increased security measures. Contact the embassy or consulate nearest to your destination to inquire about their entrance requirements.

If a child is under the age of 18 and is travelling abroad, you may be required to have the following documentation:

1. A valid passport for each child.

2. A consent letter confirming that the child has permission to travel outside of Canada with you. The letter must be signed by each parent or guardian, if that person is not accompanying the child on the trip (even if one of the child’s parents is with you). Sample travel consent letters are provided by Passport Canada at If a parent is deceased, you may need to show a death certificate.

3. A copy of each child’s birth certificate, and if the child was not born in Canada, the child’s citizenship card.

4. If the child’s parents are separated or divorced, copies of any court orders that affect the guardianship, custody or parenting of the child. Court orders can specify requirements that must be met in order to travel with the child.

5. It is strongly advisable to have each child’s BC Care Card, and any cards or documents for extended health insurance, in the event of a medical emergency while travelling.

Once you have all of your grandchildren’s documents in order, relax and have fun making memories together!

Rebecca Anderson is a family lawyer practising in Vancouver, BC.

This information is not to be used as legal advice and does not create a lawyer-client relationship. We do not accept any liability for your use of this information. If you need legal help, contact a lawyer.



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