Are You Travelling for the Holidays? The Essentials About Kids’ Passports

December 21, 2013
Ron Shulman

Article written by Ron Shulman

The holiday season is upon us, and many of you will be travelling across Canada and elsewhere in order to see family and friends.  But many parents are unaware of what their obligations are in connection with their kids’ passports – and often they only become aware when the luggage is packed and the tickets are in hand…. and it’s too late.

Here are the important things to know:

1)  Canadian children need a passport to travel.  This includes all children whether travelling with parents or not.  In this context a “child” is anyone between the ages of 3 through 16 (anyone under age 3 is considered an “infant”).

2)  There is a special renewal process.  Unlike passport renewals for adults, there is no simplified renewal process for kids’ passports.   Rather, the renewal application must include proof of Canadian citizenship (e.g. a birth certificate), and the old passport must also be provided.  A child’s passport may be renewed up to 12 months before it expires, and – if a written explanation is provided – an early renewal may also be arranged if necessary.

3)  Kids’ passports must include a photo.  As with the photos in adult passports, there are certain requirements, including the fact that the photos must be taken by a professional photographer, and must show the child’s head and shoulders.

4)  Children of separated parents may be subject to special rules.  To cover situations where a child of separated parents is travelling with only one of his or her parents, both Canadian Border Services and the United States Customs and Border Protection Office have additional rules that must be followed in these cases.    Among other things, the parent who is travelling with the child should carry a Notarized Letter of Permission from the other parent.

Additional information is available from the Passport Canada website.

Do you have a question about the passport requirements for your kid?  Contact us for a consultation.