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Taking a child into Canada
I’m planning on taking my 7 year old son with me this spring. Reading the regulations, it says that I only need to take his birth certificate. Wanting to hear from people who have taken kids with them. Should I go ahead and get him a passport? Did you get across smoothly both ways with only a birth certificate? Thanks!!
Also bring a signed letter from his Mom stating what he is doing and its ok with her. I have been asked for that in the past both for my kids and for a grandson. (back in the old days)
I just called on this myself yesterday as I'm in the same situation...taking my son fishing to Ontario in August...and your son can get into and out of Canada (BY LAND) simply with a birth certificate, NO PASSPORT REQUIRED. As mentioned, if mom ain't with bring a permission letter along just to be safe.
Have done it several times by vehicle with my son as a youngster and it is exactly as South Farm says. Make sure you go to the court house and get the birth certificate. Having a note from mom is important if asked for it and I get it notarized each time. I have never been asked to present it but always had it. Let the BP Officers lead the conversation and only answer the questions asked. Surrender only the info they ask for. Be courteous but not chatty. Never had a bad experience crossing into Canada or coming back but have had an interesting one.
Great info and good advice. I was just talking to my wife about heading up to visit Montreal for a long weekend with her and the kids in the summer. I thought we all would need passports. Last time I went to Canada, birth certs were all everyone needed, but that was a while ago.
Not trying to hijack this thread but it's been awhile since I've been there. What do adults need to get in and out of Canada these days ??? How about my dog?? Thanks Ed
Passport or passport card. Card only good if driving, not flying. Current proof of rabies vaccination signed by vet. (for the dog) Ontario anyway.
I've done it with my driver's license and retired military ID. US side didn't care either. You're a US citizen. They can't keep you out.
Passport card isn't required for (adults) to get into Canada, but it's required to get back into the states. Our law, not Canada's. If you want to chance it with just a driver's license I think you'll find out the hard way that "They" indeed can keep you out.
When we brought my daughter into Canada, I got her a passport. for what it takes and costs to get a passport, why would anyone not want to get one? especially when it makes the whole process of travel that much easier, not just to Canada. It's the return trip into the US that's the issue. Why risk the hassle? Seems foolish to me to do it any other way.
I would just go ahead and get him a passport anyway. After this year’s trip, he is going to hound you to go every year!
Even if you do get him a passport, you should still have proof in writing from your spouse (great idea from cobie33 about getting it notarized). My 17 year old nephew went with us one year and had a passport. Neither his mother or father was with us. Basically, his grandfather was his guardian on this trip. We never even gave it a thought about having a note from his parents. We were allowed to continue, but the authorities were very close to denying us entry.
You can get one if you want, but the law doesn't require it coming or going. Every penny you can save in one area is a penny you can spend elsewhere...like on Labatts Blue when you get there!
I believe if your kid is 15 or under when you apply you have to renew the passport in 5 years. If is 16, that's the cut off for the 10 year renewal. My son first went to Canada at age 2. We don't travel to any other countries but there. Didn't want to purchase 3 passports in the time frame when I could spend $30 for the official birth certificate from the courthouse just once and use it for the passport when I send in the application. He will get his passport when he turns 16.
I got my little guy a passport. This was in 2017. He was 8 at the time. Manitoba with Desjardins.
Thanks for the reply's guys... It's been a long time since I've been up to Ca. I only live 4 1/2 hours from there. I used to go once or twice a year spring bear and or fishing. The last time I went I was going turkey hunting in Port Perry on the north side of lake Ontario, think that was 2005.. That was the only time I got checked going in, other than just asked a few question and on my way.. You know that big lady comes out with the glove on that goes all the way up to her shoulder. :)
I find if you wrap them up tight in a moving blanket and stuff them in the spare tire boot . No one looks of course if their larger you need to apply differently. :)
Also, if you have kids along be prepared for the customs agents to take the kids aside and ask them if they're going voluntarily and if they're actually related to the people they are with. You should also prepare the kids for that possibility so they are not caught off guard or scared. That happened to us when I was bringing my step-sons to Canada.
I go to Canada every spring and I'm wondering how different it will be this year coming back through US Customs now that cannabis is legal in Canada...
Funny you mention that Mike, they did that with my son when he was really young and I remember sitting there praying he wouldn't say something stupid, trying to be funny, like "I've never seen that man before in my life!". Thankfully he pointed at me when the agent asked "who's your daddy?". Funny thing, so did my wife!! LMAO!
Lots of good advice here so far.
Right now Lineman's son is thinking of asking for a new bow and fishing rod in exchange for not telling the people at the border that Daddy told him not to say anything, but he has a big bag of white powder stuffed in his underwear. I hope the kid isn't reading this.
I took my 3 boys to Toronto (by plane) one year while I was going through a divorce. The young lady who was grilling me asked where their mother was. Despite what I was wanted to tell her, I said, "at home". She asked if we were married, so I told her "yes, for the time being". Then she said well where is a letter with her permission? I had studied the applicable laws pretty closely and knew it was not required (I had their birth certificates with me). So I told her so, she argued with me until I asked her to call over a supervisor. The supervisor finally relented, admitting I was technically correct. She said "it would be easier with a letter" So I told her the truth, this encounter was still a lot more pleasant than it would have been dealing with their mother, who would think she could exert some control over the situation by delaying or refusing to sign a letter. "I'd still rather deal with you guys than her".
Glad my boys didn't make any wisecracks or jokes, but it was probably because I told them THEY'D get themselves in trouble, instead of getting me jammed up. Nobody wants the guy with fat fingers doing a body cavity search!
So, yeah, Bring a letter, if you can!
Appreciate the advice everyone! I’ll definitely have my wife send a letter with us.
Birth certificate for the child and a letter from parents. Before having a passport, I was given a hard time coming back from Newfy. I was ecstatic and ready to go back to Newfy, but they let me back in.
If you have a Notarized letter from the child's mother stating she is aware you are taking the child to Canada and she is giving you permission to do so. Be sure to have the address and contact information for her especially if her last name is different than yours, whether you are married or divorced. Along with the birth certificate. All you need is an Amber Alert in progress when you cross the border with your child, and the Amber Alert child looks similar to yours. DANNY
I work for US Customs.... some of the advice above is wrong. It is against the law to refuse a US citizen entry back into the states. However, the burden of proof is on the traveler and you may be delayed if you have no proof of citizenship.
No passport required for children under the age of 14. Not technically required for adults either, but we prefer it and if you don’t have it we will give you a lecture;) birth cert and driver’s license at a minimum.
Letter from mom does not have to be notarized, but doesn’t hurt either. PM if you have more questions.
My son is a CBSA agent. He says passport required if flying up here. He recommends getting a passport either way makes the whole procedure easier. Hope you all have fun on your adventure.
I took my 6 year old nephew up there fishing 2 summer ago. I had his folks do the passport card because it was cheaper than the real passport. I also had them get a signed and notarized letter giving me permission to travel there with me. We had no issues and had a blast.
This year I'll likely be heading up there with a buddy. We'll have his two daughters, 5 and 2, and my daughter that is 2 years old. I expect that two guys (and no moms) in their 30's crossing with 3 young girls will not go as smoothly as we are used to, but I'm not worried about it.
I've probably driven across the border 50 times in the last 18 years. The trick is to pull up, roll all windows down, and shut your vehicle off so they can hear you. Look them in the eye and answer their questions "yes" or "no". Know what you have with you for alcohol, tobacco, and bait. A few years I made a goal of trying to make a border patrol agent smile. I never succeeded and it led to some not-so-smooth crossings so I gave it up.
Personally, I'd go with a passport card, especially if you plan on more than one trip up there in the next few years.
For flying Robb is right. Passport is required.
Another option for proof of citizenship to consider (land border crossing) is a nexus card. It’s free for kids under 14. The beauty of a nexus card is that it doubles as a global entry card.