Planning a trip to Canada next month, I am checking the required documents for us to enter the country. We are from Europe, have valid passports and have an eTA each. There is only one unknown : what documents does my child require in order to be able to enter and leave the country.

My child is 18 months old and does not talk enough to have any kind of conversation. I and my partner are his legal and biological parents, and we are married.

The relevant page of the Canadian Immigration lists a few options (child traveling alone, with another tutor, with only one parent, is adopted...) but not the basic case "Child with both parents". Govenment of Canada page on Minors

My main concern is : how will the immigration officer know we are his parents? Neither our or his passport shows it. We moved recently so all the passports are not issued from the same administration (though the same country). Women do not change surname in our home country, so the mother does not have the same family name as the child.

For what it's worth, the child could be traveling with an uncle (same family name) and a total stranger.

Thanks in advance for any info!

  • 3
    Does the child have a birth certificate showing who his parents are? Bring a photocopy of that. Apr 10, 2017 at 14:38
  • Canadian immigration officers will be aware of the fact that French women do not change surnames - that's common in Québec as well. I doubt you need anything, but bringing the original birth certificate (in Canada we get little summary cards that serve nicely and fit in a wallet), or a notarized copy of it, will be cheap insurance in case you have a problem. Feb 20, 2018 at 15:10
  • @JimMacKenzie indeed, as far as I know, women not changing their surnames when marrying is common throughout Canada.
    – phoog
    Feb 20, 2018 at 18:13

3 Answers 3


For what it's worth, I have never been questioned critically when traveling alone or as a couple with an infant or toddler. Probably possession of the child + the child's ID and travel documents (passport/eTA and birth certificate) is more than adequate.

By the way, make sure you have a ticket for the infant- it is required for international flights even when the babe-in-arms does not occupy his or her own seat. There may be some cost involved for that.


If the child is travelling with both parents, a birth certificate should suffice.

If the child is travelling with one parent only or with a stranger, then a legally notorized permission on paper by the other or both parents should be sent along.

  • a birth certificate should suffice: any source for this idea? A birth certificate in French would in that case probably be valid for an arrival in the Quebec province.
    – Jerome.DS
    Apr 10, 2017 at 14:56
  • 1
    @Jerome.DS Canadian immigration officers in the whole country speak at least enough French to handle immigration tasks. Furthermore, they can probably decipher a birth certificate in almost any language, though if it isn't in French or English a certified translation will certainly help. Finally, your child's passport, with photo, plus birth certificate, certifying your parenthood, is pretty much your only option. How could it be insufficient? What else would anyone need?
    – phoog
    Apr 10, 2017 at 15:11
  • CBSA is Federal so it's mandated to be French/English bilingual, though they're more likely to be struggling with Hakka or Mandarin these days. Apr 10, 2017 at 17:40
  • Does the passport include either of the parents' name?
    – user58558
    Apr 10, 2017 at 18:33

Thank you all for you answers!

Feedback after the travel : presenting the infant passport (with no indication of residence or adres) as well as the passports of two adults (one male one female, only one of which shares the same last name as the child) was enough to grant us access to the country.

Although I do trust the professionalism of border agents, I still wonder how these documents proved we were both parents traveling with our child. It could have been my brother (sharing my last name) and an unrelated woman, and the documents would have been very similar (and the attitude of a baby after a 7h flight during which he did not sleep is difficult to gauge, at best).

Never the less, we had a great stay!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .