The land border between Canada and the United States reopened on November 8 for non-essential travel. You may want to take advantage of this opportunity to travel with your children. But can you leave the country with your child without talking to your former spouse? What happens if they say no? And does your child need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
The other parent must consent to the trip
You and the other parent must normally agree that your child can travel with you to the United States. To avoid possible trouble, you can ask the other parent to sign a consent letter. This letter states that they allow your child to travel with you abroad.
For more information on the consent letter, see the Government of Canada’s Frequently Asked Questions or the recommended consent letter on the Government of Canada website.
When no agreement is possible, you can try mediation with the other parent so that the mediator can help you find a solution that works for everyone. You can also apply to the Superior Court of Quebec for permission to travel alone with your child.
Flying? Don’t forget your passports!
If you are travelling by airplane, you and your child must have a valid passport to travel to the United States. The rule is the same whether your child is an infant or a newborn. You and the other parent must normally agree when one of you wants to apply for or renew your child’s passport.
If you are travelling by car, a copy of your child’s birth certificate is acceptable.
Specific rules during COVID-19
To enter the US, you must normally be fully vaccinated and have recognized proof of vaccination.
However, for your child, the rules are different. For example, if you are traveling by air, your minor child is not required to be vaccinated. However, if your child is 2 years old or older, they must have proof of a negative viral test from a sample taken one day before departure.
For more information on travel rules related to COVID-19, you may wish to consult:
- Guidance for travelling to the US from the Government of Canada
- Travel Restrictions Fact Sheet from the U.S. Embassy