Travelling with minors to Canada

with No Comments
Entering Canada with Minors

In Canada, children who are not yet 18 years old are regarded as minors. They have to abide by the same rules as any other visitor if they want to enter the country.

Minors under the age of 18 who attempt to enter Canada but do not have the right documents, or who are in the company of adults who are not their legal guardians or parents, will be checked more thoroughly by the border officials.

CBP (Canadian Border Patrol) officers are particularly vigilant when checking for runaway or missing children or kids who require protection. They could, for example, ask various questions about the child you are accompanying and might also question children who are traveling alone. Make sure that the documents are always in order.

Minor children entering Canada as visitors

The type of documents that are required for a minor child before he or she will be allowed to enter Canada depends on whether they are traveling alone or in the company of an adult.

Minor children who are traveling alone should always have a valid passport on them. Even if your child’s information is included in your passport, that child can not use it to gain entry into Canada.

The child should also have a copy of his or her birth certificate and an authorization letter that carries the signature of both parents or the child’s legal guardian. This letter should be in English or French and has to contain the addresses and phone numbers of both parents or the child’s legal guardian as well as the name, physical address, and phone number of the adult who will be responsible for the child while he or she is in Canada.

In cases where a minor child is traveling with a single parent, this person will be asked to present the following documents:

  • The minor’s passport
  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate
  • An authorization letter (In French or English) that has been signed by the absent parent. This letter should list the telephone number and address of the absent parent.
  • The parent who accompanies the minor child will also have to show a photocopy of the other parent’s national identity card or signed passport.

In cases where the parents are divorced or separated but have shared custody of the child, the parent who is accompanying the minor child must also be able to show copies of the official custody documents.

The best option is, therefore, to always carry an authorization letter from the second parent who has custody to show that you are allowed to take the child to Canada.

Every family member has to apply for an eTA individually. It is not possible to apply for several eTAs at the same time.

What about if the parents are divorced or separated?

In cases where the parents are divorced or separated and only one of them has full custody of the minor, it is acceptable if the authorization letter is signed by that parent alone. He or she should, however, have a copy of the custody decree in their possession.

Should one of the minor’s parents no longer be alive, the parent who accompanies the child to Canada must be able to show a copy of the death certificate.

A minor child who is accompanied by adoptive parents or a legal guardian on his or her trip to Canada should have valid adoption papers or guardianship papers, whichever is relevant under the circumstances.

In cases where a minor child is embarking on a trip to Canada with an individual other than their legal guardian or parents, this adult must be able to show written permission from the child’s legal guardian or parents to supervise them. This letter should always include the phone numbers and addresses where the child’s legal guardian or parents can be contacted. Photocopies of the legal guardian’s or parents’ national identity cards or passports must also be attached to the above-mentioned letter.

Although you might not be asked for these documents by the border services officials when you try to enter Canada with the child, it is highly recommended that you have them available just in case they do ask. If the officials are not convinced that the child’s legal guardian or parents have approved his or her stay, they might not be allowed into Canada.

People Who Are Not Admissible To Canada

Certain categories of individuals will not be allowed to enter Canada. There are quite a few things that can make someone inadmissible. The list includes being involved in human rights violations, criminal activity, or organized crime. You can also become inadmissible for health, security, or financial reasons.

Minor children arriving in Canada to study

Minor children who would like to study in Canada have to apply for a study permit. They will also have to meet certain requirements and have all the required documents.

Submitting an application for a study permit on behalf of a minor

Generally speaking, if you want to apply for a study permit on behalf of a minor, either at the secondary or primary school level, you will have to produce a letter of acceptance issued by the Canadian educational institution that the child will be attending. In this regard, both the original letter and an electronic copy will be acceptable.

A minor child who will be attending a program with a maximum duration of 6 months does not require a study permit, although they could still apply for one before arriving in Canada. If the study program will be 6 months or longer, the child has to apply for a study permit before arriving in Canada.

Minor students from outside of Canada

Minor children who would like to come to Canada for study purposes have to apply for a study permit before arriving in the country. This also applies to minor children who are accompanied by parents who are already in possession of a valid work or study permit.

Minor children who come to Canada and who are accompanied by parents who already have a valid work or study permit do not need to produce a letter of acceptance from a school when they apply for a study permit.

Minor children, i.e. children under the age of 18, also do not require to be fully vaccinated when they arrive in Canada for study purposes. In case they have not been fully vaccinated, they could be allowed to enter Canada if one or more of the following applies:

– They intend to study in a territory or province that accepts overseas students at the secondary or elementary school level.
– They will be attending a post-secondary educational institution that has an approved readiness plan for COVID-19 in place.

The final decision on whether the minor student will be allowed into Canada or not rests with the border services officer.

Minor students who are already in Canada

Minor children who already find themselves in Canada and who want to study have to apply for a study permit. In certain Canadian territories or provinces, they might require such a permit in order to qualify for social services.

In the following instances, however, a minor child who is already in Canada will be allowed to study without a permit, provided that he or she:

  • Wants to attend a secondary or primary school, kindergarten, or pre-primary school and has a parent who is either a permanent resident or citizen of Canada
  • Is a refugee claimant or refugee whose parents are also refugee claimants or refugees
  • Arrived in Canada as a visitor and wants to follow a program or course of which the duration is no longer than 6 months
  • Will follow a program or course of which the duration is not longer than 6 months
  • Is in Canada on their own on a visitor status

Has at least one parent (adoptive or biological) who has been authorized to study or work in Canada. This includes temporary residents who are:

– Holders of study permits
– Holders of work permits
– Not physically inside Canadian borders
– Business and other types of visitors who have necessary the authorization to work without a valid work permit

Minors who have not successfully applied for a study permit should have valid visitor status while they are staying in Canada.

Applying for a Canadian study permit

Minor children require a letter of acceptance under the following circumstances:

– they are in the company of a family member
– that individual successfully applied for a study or work permit before they arrived in Canada.

In the case of primary school students, study permits are valid for a 1-year period but they can be renewed.

In the case of students that are enrolled in secondary school in any Canadian territory or province except Quebec, study permits for grade 9 to 12 students can be issued for the whole length of the planned period of study at a Canadian secondary school. In Quebec, this applies to grade 9 to 11 students. In both cases, the maximum period is 4 years.

How to extend a Canadian study permit

In order to extend his or her study permit inside Canada, a minor child will have to get a letter of acceptance. The length of the study permit that will be issued to such a minor depends on the letter of acceptance.

Applicants should submit an application for the new study permit no less than 90 days before the expiration of their current permit. The expiry date of all study permits is clearly indicated on the permit itself.

What to do if a minor’s study permit should expire

Children under the age of 18 have to keep their status in Canada valid for the full duration of their stay. Typically this includes being in possession of a valid study permit. If a minor gets permission to study in Canada without having a study permit, he or she must have a valid eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) or visitor visa.

If the parent hasn’t applied to renew a minor child’s study permit before the expiry date, that child will lose his or her student status. They will then have to submit an application to restore it within 90 days. They will, however, be allowed to continue with their studies until the authorities make a decision.about the application