An authorization letter to travel to Canada, also known as a Travel Consent Form, is a document that is issued to the child and their legal guardian or parent travelling with them. The Travel Consent Letter, as it is also called, is issued by the non-accompanying parent and it is supposed to give formal consent that the child can be taken to Canada for a period of time and by the person specified in the letter itself. 

Although not a legal requirement, the letter of authorization simplifies the travel procedure and ensures that the Canadian government can easily let your child and the accompanying parent into the country. It is possible to travel without it as well, but it is clear that a letter like this can simplify the procedure and reduce the waiting times. 

What Is a Travel Authorization Letter for Canada?

A travel authorization letter is also known as a Travel Affidavit and it is a document that states that the child (named in the letter itself) can be taken in Canada for a specific period. This letter can only be issued by the non-accompanying parent and is issued for the immigration authorities so that they can allow the child to enter Canada. When it comes to the letter or the document itself, they have to be verified by a Notary Public, and a sworn translator, if the letter is being issued in a language other than English or French. 

The situation is the same for Canadian children travelling to a foreign country. With their Canadian passport, they (and you as the accompanying parent or legal guardian) should have a Travel Consent Form from the other parent or guardian. This way, the border services officers know that you can leave the country, and the foreign officials know that they can let you into their country. The letter is also necessary on your way back to Canada, you will need to show the letter of travel authorization at the port of entry. 

Travel and Identification Documents for Canada Entry

Whenever you travel to and from Canada, you have to have some documents for the purpose of the travel itself. If you are a foreign national travelling to Canada, these are different from the documents needed to apply for a Canadian visa, so bear this in mind. Here are some of the documents that you may have to present at the border crossing. 

Returning Canadian Residents

When travelling abroad, you will need to have your passport on you. This is true whether you are a permanent resident or a citizen of Canada. Besides this, your child will need a letter of travel authorization. Both of these documents will need to be shown to Canadian officials when crossing the border. The cross-border travel documents apply even when you are going to the US. 

Acceptable Identification and Citizenship Documents

When arriving in Canada, you will have to speak and present your documents to the immigration authorities. This is to say that all passengers need these documents. You will be subject to formal questioning, which is not carried out only during domestic travel. When it comes to acceptable identification and citizenship documents that are acceptable and accepted by the immigration authorities, they include: 

  • Canadian passport (for all international travel)
  • Canadian PR card – the Permanent Residence card
  • Canadian citizenship card
  • the SCIS – Secure Certificate of Indian Status – or a CIS card – Certificate of Indian Status
  • additionally, you may need to present the Canadian birth certificate

If you do not have your passport when coming back to Canada after travelling internationally, there is other travel documentation that you may want to present: 

  • NEXUS card – allowed when entering Canada from the US by means of air, land, or marine travel
  • FAST card – allowed to a Canadian citizen travelling to Canada only by means of land or marine travel, no air travel is allowed 
  • Canadian temporary passport (in case the old one is lost or stolen abroad; in this case, you may want to contact the embassy and check in with them)
  • Canadian emergency, but still valid travel documents
  • Canadian Certificate of Citizenship – only newer than 1954
  • Enhanced ID card issued in Canada
  • Canadian enhanced driver’s license 
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship (only issued from 1947 to 1977 – large form)
  • Certificate of Retention (only issued from 1947 to 1977)
  • Registration of birth abroad certificate (only issued by Canadian citizenship authorities between 1947 and 1977)
  • Birth certificate for individuals born in Canada, issued by a Canadian province or territory 
  • Certificate of Naturalization (older than 1947)
  • CAPASS card – only to establish identity
  • Commercial driver registration program card, only if issued to the Canadian government and to a Canadian citizen
  • Vehicle registration card or vehicle insurance certificate
  • Credit card
  • Police Identification
  • Canadian Forces identification
  • Canadian province or territory-issued driver’s license
  • Health insurance card issued in Canada
  • Provincial identity card

Please bear in mind that some of these documents can be used to establish your IDENTITY, while some others are used to establish your CITIZENSHIP. Even if you have some of them, you may still need your passport when travelling from country to country or returning from your destination country to Canada. 

Travelling With Minors and Children

Children travelling abroad are especially vulnerable, especially considering that there are always children who go missing, both in Canada and abroad. For this reason, you will need to carry:

  • legal documents (such as custody documents) confirming your custody rights, 
  • a consent letter (the minor travel consent letter) if you share custody over the child and the partner and the legal custodian of the child is not travelling with you

You will also need to travel in the same vehicle as the child if you are crossing the Canadian border over land. If you are crossing over water (marine travel), you will need to be on the same vessel as your child. The same goes for air travel, you will need to travel by the same airplane. Please bear in mind that a biological parent does not need to prove their custody rights, but rather have a consent letter. 

If the other partner is a deceased parent, you may be asked to prove this. You also need to check entry requirements by country and exit requirements as well. The best way to do so is to visit the website of the country that you plan to visit. In some cases, you may also need to check what the transit requirement for children is when transiting in another country (especially applicable to long-haul flights, such as Canada to Australia). 

Canada’s International Visitors

If you are an international visitor to Canada, you will need to have appropriate travel and identification documents with you. You will also need to have a Canadian visa, and you will need to present all these documents to the border officers. When it comes to the types of Canadian visas, there are many of them, and you will need to be able to choose and apply for the right one. 

Please bear in mind that there are also visa-exempt countries for Canadian citizens. This means that you do not need a visa, but you may still need an eTA (electronic Travel Authorization) This is a sole Canadian requirement for citizens coming from many countries of the world. 

If you are from a visa-exempt country, and your child is a citizen of the same country, the Canadian immigration officer may only need your identification and travel documents to let you enter the country. However, you should be able to prove that you have legal rights over the child, such as sole custody or joint custody rights and you will still need to show the travel authorization letter. 

What Is Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?

The eTA or Electronic Travel Authorization is a legal document that citizens of Canada visa-exempt countries need to have to be able to enter Canada. The document is issued online (it is also an electronic document, so you do not get it in the form of a card or a paper document), and the processing times are very short, usually no longer than 5 minutes. 

When you have these documents, all you need to do is show your passport to the Canadian immigration officials at the border crossing. You also need to convince them that you are eligible to enter Canada and you need to make sure you have enough funds for the entire trip, unless you will be staying with your family or friends. The immigration officials need to be convinced, so you may be asked to provide additional supporting documents (hotel bookings, itinerary, etc.). 

When it comes to the eTA itself, this is a document issued by the government of Canada and is valid for up to 5 years. If your passport expires in less than 5 years, you will need to get a new eTA with your new passport. When it comes to damaged passports, you will need to ask for a new one with the new passport as well. An eTA allows many international trips to Canada, each of which can be up to 6 months long. 

ircc authorization letter

Who Needs eTA?

When it comes to the eTA and who needs it, you will generally need an eTA when traveling to Canada from a visa-exempt country. Please beware that you do not need an eTA if you are coming from the USA, especially if you are coming via land. Here is a list of visa-exempt countries: 

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • British citizen, even if naturalized in Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong 
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel (must have an Israeli passport)
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania 
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vatican City State

eTA Eligibility Criteria

When applying for an eTA, you will need to meet three requirements: 

  1. you need to have had a valid Canadian visitor visa in the past 10 years, or you need to hold a US nonimmigrant visa
  2. you need to be coming to Canada for a short visit, for short business activity or tourist activity, for no longer than 6 months
  3. you will be flying to Canada or transiting through a Canadian airport and are originally coming from (and hold the citizenship of) visa-required countries. You can check the below list of eligible visa-required countries:
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Argentina
    • Brazil
    • Costa Rica
    • Morocco
    • Panama
    • Philippines
    • St. Kitts and Nevis
    • St. Lucia
    • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Seychelles
    • Thailand
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • Uruguay

What To Do If You Are Unable to Apply for an eTA?

Sometimes, people will confuse their passport number and enter the wrong one. This may cause issues when you try to travel to Canada both in the present and in the future. For this reason, you will need to use the eTA help guide available here, and you will also need to ensure that you retype the number correctly. This will help you avoid any issues down the road. This is where you can apply for your eTA. 

In addition to this, many people also get confused by the processing times for an eTA. In general, it takes several minutes for the full processing of your eTA application. However, sometimes, it may take longer, depending on your specific case and whether you need additional supporting documents or not. You will still need to prove that you are eligible to enter Canada, so be patient and gather all the required documents. 

Who Are Not Required To Use an eTA?

As we’ve mentioned before, US citizens do not need an eTA to travel to Canada. However, the same goes for US permanent residents. They do need to show their official proof of status or an equivalent document. In addition to this, they will also need to present their official passport from their own country, and they will need to be eligible and admissible to enter Canada.

How Do I Get an eTA for a Trip to Canada?

To get an eTA to travel to Canada, you will need to make an online application with the government of Canada. To do so, you will need to enter your details (including your passport details), and you will also need to have your debit or credit card and your email address. 

The fee that is to be paid is CAD7, and your eTA will be valid for five years or until your passport expires. You will also need to understand that most applications are processed within minutes. Some, however, may take longer, up to several days if you need to submit some supporting documents. 

Check Out How to Request Written Authorization From IRCC – Reunite With Extended Family Canada:

Consent Letter for Children Traveling Internationally

Even if your child wants to have a day trip abroad, the services will still need to make sure that your child will be traveling safely. In fact, all minor citizens need to have travel authorization when traveling alone, with one parent or legal guardian, with relatives or friends, or even with a group or a school group – such as for sports, school, musicals, or with a religious group. 

Although this letter is not a prerequisite, it may still be asked whether you have it or not. A responsible adult will always have a letter like this, whenever necessary, to expedite the crossing process and to ensure the child’s safety. When it comes to family travel, especially with more than one child, you will need a travel authorization letter for all children. 


Can I Get Canadian Citizenship Through My Grandparents?

Yes, there are ways to get Canadian citizenship through your grandparents. This rule only applies to you if you have been born before April 17th, 2009. If you were born after, your birth certificate will need to show that at least one legal parent had Canadian citizenship. With this in mind, you will need to check your status and prepare documents if you are to look for Canadian citizenship. You should also check with your current country of citizenship, as Canada does support dual citizenship, but your home country does not have to. 

What Documents Does a Child Need to Travel to Canada?

When a child is travelling to Canada, the child will need three basic documents to prove their status and how legal their travel is. These include their own passport, a copy of the certificate of birth, as well as a travel authorization letter signed by both legal parents. The child may need the signature of one parent or guardian only when the other parent is dead or when the child was adopted. 

How Much Money Do I Need to Bring to Canada?

When travelling to Canada, you will need to have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay there. You will need to have enough funds for your own stay (around CAD700 per month) and will need funds for each family member travelling with you. You may also need to have proof of accommodation payment as well as the itinerary of your stay. If you plan to carry a higher amount of money, you may need to declare this to customs, especially if the amount is over CAD10,000. 

How Long Does the Travel Document Take?

Depending on the kind of document you may be looking for, it can take around 20 days to process your passport and around 5 days to deliver it to you via mail. This being said, if you are looking for ways to migrate to Canada, you should know that processing a visa application can take much longer – sometimes upwards of six months. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to your child travelling, the aim of the Canadian government is to ensure the safety of the child at all costs. For this reason, whether the child is travelling alone, with a biological or a foster parent, or whenever he is not travelling with both biological parents, the child will need an authorization letter to travel abroad and re-enter Canada. Although this is not a definite prerequisite, you may still be asked to present a travel authorization, so it is always best to have one. You may also decide to validate it with a Notary Public to give it more authenticity.