International Family Travel Tip: Bring a Letter of Permission


When traveling solo with your kids, bring a Letter of Permission 

I recently traveled alone to California with our two boys. This is the second time I have traveled internationally (we live in Canada) with our boys but without Cameron, and both times I have been asked to produce a letter of permission. In each case, I was re-entering Canada from the United States.

Even though both boys have Canadian passports, I was still required to show proof that I was allowed to be traveling with them alone.

What is a letter of permission?

It’s a letter from the non-traveling parent that gives permission for the other parent to cross an international border with the kids, essentially giving the traveling parent the right to take the kids to a different country.

On this recent trip, it was not busy at Canadian Immigration when I returned to Canada, so I had a chance to chat with the border official.

“You might not always be asked for a letter, but it’s a very good idea to have one prepared in the event that an official suspects something is not right”, the border official told me. “It saves time and makes the process a lot easier for everyone”.

Border security’s main priority is to make sure the kids are safe and that the travelling parent is not abducting the kids without the other parent’s consent. On the surface this seems like an extra hassle, but we are appreciative that such measures are in place to protect our children.

Here is what we used in our letter:


To whom it may concern,

I, NAME, allow my wife, NAME, to travel with my two sons, NAME and NAME, internationally without my presence. They may leave and return to Canada without me.

On this trip, my wife NAME will be visiting DESTINATION and intends to return on DATE.

I am a resident of PLACE and a NATIONALITY citizen. If needed, you can reach me on my cell at PHONE NUMBER.

Thank you,

Signature (official – not photocopied)

**It’s also a good idea to photo copy the letter with a copy of your drivers license or passport 

It’s a really simple letter that shouldn’t take you more than a couple minutes to produce, but it can/will save you a lot of future headaches on travel day – something we all want to avoid.


Have you traveled alone with your kids? Where you asked for a letter?
Share your feedback in the comments section below, we’d love to read about them!

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