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Documentation Required for Single Parent Crossing Border with Donor Conceived Child

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#1 Arbutus

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 02:57 AM

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) recommends having a passport for your child AND a consent letter (from the other parent) if the minor child is travelling with only one parent for cross border/international travel.


Do you know what documentation would suffice in lieu of a consent letter? 


There is no mention of what documentation is required if you are a single parent of a donor conceived child.  Obviously a consent letter from the 'other parent' is not an option.  Would a long-form birth certificate that has only the mother's name listed as a parent be enough or should I also have a notarized letter stating that I have sole custody?


I would prefer not to have documentation that references that my child is donor conceived as I do not want to have that conversation every time I cross the border to visit family.


I have family in the US and they have said they are questioned every time they cross with their children and not their spouse so I know that it is standard questioning and want to be prepared.



#2 mouse


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Posted 19 November 2015 - 09:32 AM

I'm not quite in your situation but do end up traveling as the lone parent often. I have actually never been questioned (although I was always prepared) or had to show the consent letter - whether traveling to Canada, Middle East, or Europe. At one point getting a letter from my spouse was going to be difficult (he was already overseas at that point) so I looked into the options on this (US) side of the border and was told that proof of sole custody (like a notarized custody order or death certificate) would work so I'd check to see if something similar (like the notarized sole custody letter you mentioned above) would work.

Good luck!
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#3 ENF

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 12:29 PM

I've traveled across the border as a single parent (with my two children from my previous marriage) as well as travelled with children that weren't mine. I was prepared with both a consent letter from my ex and the other child's parents, as well as long-form birth certificates. I know they aren't the same as your situation but I will say that the consent letter was never asked for by either border agency smile.png We only showed our passports in all the times we've travelled. 


My guess is that because you are the sole parent, and the long-form birth certificate doesn't list a father, you should have no issues whatsoever. My girlfriend is a single parent without a father's name listed on her daughter's birth certificate and they've never had any issues travelling to and from the US from Canada. 


In order to get a Canadian passport for a child you must have a long-form birth certificate and the signature of both parents. In your case, because there is no father listed on the birth certificate, I'd imagine only your signature is required to obtain a passport. If you haven't already been to a passport office, I'd suggest asking there. Best of luck and happy travelling!

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#4 SherryLevitan

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 04:42 PM

Hi Airbutus,

Great question. The makeup of families is changing, and Customs and Immigration officials need to keep up. I'm not promising that you won't have to explain things a few times, but being able to produce the long form birth certificate indicating that your child has one parent should be a complete answer to any official. Whether or not others have been questioned at the border, you should always be prepared to prove that you have authority to travel with the child.
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