Crossing the Canadian/U.S. Border With Children

Peace Arch Park
••• Peace Arch Park at United States and Canada border between the communities of Blaine, Washington and Surrey, British Columbia. gregobagel / Getty Images

Traveling with children is an undertaking in itself. Crossing an international border requires a little extra planning, but is well worth it. Here is what you need to know about crossing the Canada/U.S. Border by land and sea with children in tow.

  1. Long before you get in the car or book transportation tickets, find out what the passport requirements for children are.
  2. Have the necessary ID for your children ready to present to a customs officer.
  1. Divorced parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents.
  2. The Canada Border Services Agency suggests identification such as an original birth certificate, baptismal certificate, passport, or immigration document. If none of these are available, get a letter stating that you are the children's parent or guardian from your doctor or lawyer, or from the hospital where the children were born.
  3. Adults who are not parents or guardians should have written permission from the parents or guardians to supervise the children, including the name and contact information of the parent/guardian
  4. Even if you are not divorced from the child's other parent, bring the other parent's written permission to take the child over the border. Include contact information so border guard can call the other parent if necessary.
  5. Adults / Guardians should travel in the same vehicle as their children when arriving at the border.
  1. Children old enough to speak for themselves may be encouraged to do so by the customs officer, so be prepared to let older children answer the officer's questions.

For more information on bringing children across the Canadian border, familiarize yourself with the Passport Requirements by Air,  ​Passport Equivalents, and the NEXUS Card.

Border Services Agency

Tel (from outside Canada): +1 (204) 983-3500 or (506) 636-5064 (long-distance charges apply)

Tel (from within Canada): +1 800 461-9999 (toll free)