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Does a child under l6 need a passport to enter Canada and return to US?

by Jenny
(Dayton, OH USA)

Canadian Flag with Mountains in Background

Canadian Flag with Mountains in Background

Question: We are going to Canada for my sister's wedding. My daughter is 3 and is in the wedding.


Answer: There are two things to consider.

Entering Canada: U.S. citizens are not required to present a passport when entering Canada. They must show a government-issued photo ID such as a valid Driver’s License and proof of U.S. citizenship such as a U.S. birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or expired U.S. passport. Children under sixteen need only present proof of U.S. citizenship.

Returning to U.S.: When returning to the United States from Canada, it is very important to note that all U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport book to enter or re-enter the United States via air. For entry into the United States via land and sea borders, U.S. citizens must present either a U.S. passport, passport card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Drivers License or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document. The only exception to this requirement is for U.S. citizens under the age of 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious, or other youth group) who need only present a birth certificate (original, photocopy or certified copy), Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or naturalization certificate.

NOTE: If one parent will not be making the trip, it is recommended that the accompanying parent have a letter of authorization from the other parent to take the child on a trip out of the country.

In summary, if you plan to travel by air, your daughter will need a passport. Otherwise, it is not necessary. If you need to obtain a passport for your daughter, you can click on the link for complete instructions.

How to Apply for a Child's Passport

If you need to get her passport quickly, you can request expedited services to get it in 2-3 weeks. If you need it before then, you can apply at the New Orleans Passport Agency which serves residents of Ohio or apply through a private passport expediting service.

Expedite Passport for Minor

Comments for Does a child under l6 need a passport to enter Canada and return to US?

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15
by: Anonymous

Question: My daughter is 15 now but her orchestra class is taking a trip to Toronto in February. If it's after the 16th then she'll be 16. Would she need a passport?

Answer: Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity.

U.S. citizen children between the ages of 16-18 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory and traveling with an adult supervised school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or sports team, may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate.

When traveling by air from Canada, U.S. citizens are required by U.S. law to present a U.S. passport book.

Niagra Falls (Canada) visit
by: Sheik Hasan

Question: We are planning to visit Niagara with whole family, and all have the US passport, except my newborn (3 months) baby. Is his birth certificate is good enough to visit and reenter US. Note: He doesn't have any photo ID or birth certificate doesn't have any option for photo.

Answer: An original or certified copy of a birth certificate is acceptable for entry to Canada and reentry to the United States for minors age 15 or younger.

Can my 8 year old's father take him to Canada and back without my consent letter?
by: Laurel

Question: I see that the wording states it is "recommended" if only one parent is taking your minor child to Canada, but could a forgery be done or would they still let him in with my son with just a birth certificate and no letter of consent or a fake letter? My son has been on the passport protection program for years now, and I am the custodial parent. But he has threatened to leave the country with his new Canadian wife that has dual citizenship now and take my son and disappear. What do I need to do to avoid this?

Answer: Please visit the Department of State's resource center for preventing parental abduction.

17 yr old need more than a birth certificate?
by: Kristian

Question: My family, consisting of me, my wife, and my two boys age 17 & 15, are traveling to Canada by land (from Michigan) and reentering the U.S. through Minnesota. Do my boys need anything other than a birth certificate?

Answer: Your 17-year-old will need a valid passport book, passport card or enhanced driver's license. For more information, visit new passport requirements.

Question
by: Morales

Question: My daughter is 12. As far as we know, her father is dead. He was from Mexico and we have not seen or heard from him since she was 2. His family in Mexico said he was dead. So, what do I need for her to be able to go through Canada to Alaska? We are moving there. What do we need to do or have?

Answer: Your daughter only needs a birth certificate in order to enter Canada by land. Since the father will not be with you, you may be asked to provide a death certificate. Please contact the Canada Border Services Agency about this issue.

permanent residence
by: Anonymous

Question: I am a green card holder/permanent resident since 2003. Do I need to have a passport to travel to Canada?

Answer: Please visit the Canada Border Services Agency for the latest entry requirements for permanent residents of the U.S.

Will 17-year-old also need ID?
by: Anonymous

Question: Hi, My 17 year old is traveling with me and a church group. She doesn't have an ID or a Passport. Will her birth certificate suffice? I will also have a consent letter from her father who will not be attending.

Answer: A birth certificate will not suffice. Your daughter will need a valid passport book to travel by air to any international location. A passport is required for travel to Mexico by land. Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry BOTH proof of citizenship AND proof of identity.

question
by: Ronda

Question: I'm traveling to Canada to see Niagara Falls. My child that is 8-years-old only needs a birth certificate to enter and exit Canada Is that right?

Answer: An original or certified copy of a birth certificate is all that is required for a minor to enter Canada and reenter the United States by land. A passport is required for all international travel by air.

New Born Babies
by: Anonymous

Question: Hi, my children now 2 months are American citizens by birth and are still waiting for thier passports to come. I have valid birth certificates for both of them and would like to check if I can travel to Canada by land and return to the US? Both parents have valid US (L1) visas & Canada tourist visas.

Answer: Canada does accept original birth certificates as proof of citizenship for minors age 15 or younger. The birth certificates are also acceptable for reentry to the United States.

Custody of Grandson Traveling to Canada
by: Anonymous

Question: My husband and I have full legal custody of our grandson who is 12 years old. I plan to visit relatives in Canada with my grandson but my husband will not be going. Would I need to get a consent from him since he is also listed a having custody? Do I need to get permission from my grandson's biological mother although we have custody (his father is deceased)?

Answer: Please contact the Canada Border Services Agency for answers to your questions about entering Canada.

children under 16 going to Canada
by: Linda

Question: My children are ages 14 and 11. They are adopted and I am a widow. What documents are needed for them to enter Canada with our church youth group.

Answer: Please contact the Canada Border Services Agency for answers to your questions about entering Canada.

travelling with young relative
by: MAC

Question: Travelling with grandchild. Our surnames differ. What do I need to enter into Canada with her? Should I just play it safe and get her a passport? Would I be required to provide anything additional? Thank you.

Answer: Children under 16 need only present proof of U.S. citizenship such as a birth certificate. A passport is not required. We recommend you carry notarized consent from both parents which includes full names, destinations and travel dates.

15 Year old Enhanced License
by: Anonymous

Question: I am traveling with my daughter whom will be 15 in May to Toronto. If i get her a non enhanced driver license will i still need the letter from her dad to take the trip.

Answer: Please contact the Canada Border Services Agency for the latest entry requirements.

birth certificate issued 1.5 years after birth
by: Anonymous

Question: My daughter, age 11, has same-sex parents. When she was born, it was not possible to put both female parents' names on the birth certificate. A year later, the state of Calif. changed their policy and issued a new birth certificate with both female parents' names. So, her birth certificate was issued 1.5 years after she was born. I am planning to take this birth certif. with me to Canada. Am I going to run into any trouble since the birth certif was issued more than a year after her birth? It was "accepted for registration" only a couple weeks after her birth, but the "date issued" is 1.5 years later.

Answer: The birth certificate should suffice as evidence of yoru daughter's citizenship and identity. Please contact the Canada Border Services Agency for confirmation.

Trip to Canada without passport
by: Anonymous

Question: Me and my wife are U.S citizens, and two of my children (14, and 13) became automatic U.S citizens but do not yet have a certificate of naturalization, and/or passport but they do however have a greencard, can they go through land to Canada with me and my wife, using the green card?

Answer: U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport to enter the United States. You should obtain passports for your children before your trip. If you need them quickly, you can apply at a regional passport agency or through a registered passport courier.

Since your children have not been issued Certificates of Citizenship by USCIS, the passport applications must include the following proof of acquisition of citizenship under the INA Section 320:

1. Proof of the child's relationship to the U.S. citizen parent. For the biological child of the U.S. citizen this will usually be a certified copy of the foreign birth certificate (and translation if not in English).

2. Proof that the child is residing or has resided in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent(s) pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence. The green cards estalish only that your children were granted legal admission to the United States. Separate evidence establishing that the child has resided in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent(s) may be requested.

3. Proof that the child is or was under the age of 18 when all conditions are met.

For further requirements, visit http://uspsg.net/childppt

Questions
by: Anonymous

Question: My daughter and her friends are going up to Vancouver for a birthday trip. They are 17. One friend does not have her birth certificate and her parents have to reorder it. However, it won't get here in time. I want to make it clear that a parent or someone over the age of 18 will NOT be going with them. Will she still be able to go there and back for a day trip?

Answer: Only minors age 16 or younger can present a birth certificate to enter Canada and reenter the United States. At age 17, a valid passport is required to enter Canada and return to the United States. If traveling by land, a passport card will suffice. A passport book is required for all international travel by air.

A passport can be issued as quickly as the same date at a regional passport agency.

Traveling with children
by: Anonymous

Question: I've read previous questions and answers but I want to fully understand that my children, who are 4 and 1, JUST need their birth certificate to exit/enter the American/Candian border?

Answer: Yes, that is correct. A birth certificate is the only proof of citizenship that is required for your children to enter Canada and return to the United States by land.

The website of the Canada Border Services Agency also states the following:

"We recommend that parents who share custody of their children carry copies of their legal custody documents, such as custody rights. If you share custody and the other parent is not travelling with you, or if you are travelling with minors for whom you are not the parent or legal guardian, we recommend you carry a consent letter to provide authorization for you to take them on a trip and enter Canada."

Help
by: Anonymous

Question: My kids and I are planning to go to Canada by land. My daughter is 3 years old and my son is only 5 months old. They both have my last name and I have no connection with their father at all. I don't know where they are and I know I need consent from their father. What do I need to do?

Answer: Please contact the Canada Border Services Agency for recommendations.

Do 15 year olds need a passport to return to the U.S. On land from Canada
by: Anonymous

Question: My 15 year old daughter and I are going to Canada for a trip. Will she need a passport to enter Canada and to return to the U.S.? I made her a non drivers ID card and I have her birth certificate. Is that enough?

Answer: Your daughter's photo ID and birth certificate are acceptable travel documents for entry to the United States by land or sea. A passport book is required for all international travel by air.

My son is 16 years old
by: Anonymous

Question: My son is 16 years old. Can he re enter to US with a expired passport and birth certificate?

Answer: American citizens age 16 and over should present a valid passport or other WHTI-compliant document when reentering the United States.

Soon will be 16
by: Anonymous

Question: My soon to be 16 year old and I are planning to travel to Canada by Motorcycle. She turns 16 on September 1, 2015 and we are going September 21, 2015. What does she need to enter Canada and get back to the U.S.

Also I do not want to pay for a minor Passport that expires in five years when she could get an adult for 10 years. Problem is the turn around for applying for and receiving the passport. If I can get away with a Birth Certificate and a Notarized letter from my wife stating this trip is allowed. I will do this instead and get the passport later when we get back.

Answer: Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. This can be a birth certificate and valid driver's license.

U.S. citizens must present either a U.S. passport, passport card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Drivers License, or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document in order to reenter the United States.

If your daughter has an enhanced driver's license, it will suffice for reentry to the United States. If not, she will probably need to get a passport.

Since you will be traveling by land, she could use either a passport book or a passport card. Since the card cannot be used for international travel by air, she may prefer to get the book for future travel abroad.

The only way to get a passport that will be valid for 10 years is to apply after her 16th birthday. This will require you have the application expedited.

She can apply for expedited service at an application acceptance facility. It can take up to 3 weeks for the new passport to arrive. If you add overnight delivery of the new passport to your payment and mail the application by overnight express, it should arrive in approximately 2 weeks.

If you want to get her a passport valid for 10 years but not run the risk if it not arriving, she can submit the application at the nearest regional agency. Most agencies require the applicant submit proof of travel within 14 days.

Travel to Canada
by: Paul

Question: My daugher under 16-years-old will go with my sister to Canada. What papers does she need?

Answer: If they travel by air, your daughter will need a valid passport book. If they travel by car, she only needs a birth certificate. Your sister should carry a letter of consent to travel from the parents.

I would like to take my daughter to Canada
by: Anonymous

Question: I just got married 6 mos ago and I do have a daughter with the father's last name. Do I need to get a letter from him? Since I don't know where he is or living. We would like to take her to the Zoo up there she is only 5 years old.

Answer: Your daughter does not need a passport to enter Canada or return to the United States. You can present a birth certificate. The Canada Border Services Agency does watch for missing children and may ask questions about your daughter. They also recommend you carry a travel consent letter from the father. You may or may not be asked to show the letter.

Traveling to Canada with 5 month old and no passport
by: Anonymous

Question: I am a US citizen and I am planning on taking my daughter to Canada for a week but she does not have a passport. Can I take her with her birth certificate only and authorization from her father to travel. He is a Mexican citizen with no photo ID. How can I obtain a passport for my daughter? All he has is his birth certificate and school records.

Answer: If you plan to travel to Canada by land or sea, you only need to present your daughter's birth certificate when entering Canada and returning to the United States.

If you travel to Canada by air, she will need a passport book. Minors age 15 or younger must appear at an application acceptance facility with both parents to apply for a passport. Her father can present his Mexican passport and birth certificate to prove his identity.

Canada does not require the consent to travel be notarized but they do recommend it.

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