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Whether it sneaks up on you every single time or you have it diarized years in advance, passport renewal time is never really something we look forward to.  And when you are separated or divorced, the process can be even more burdensome.

Passport Canada has very precise rules about children’s passport applications.  The parent making an application for a child’s passport must satisfy Passport Canada that he or she has the legal right to apply and that there are no restrictions on travel for that child.  For that reason, when drafting a separation agreement, it is wise to include a clause or clauses addressing these issues.

Your separation agreement could include wording such as the following:


X.XX  Either parent may apply for a Canadian passport for each child.  Upon request, the other parent will sign the passport application.  The parent who makes the application will pay for it and will keep the passports and give them to the other parent whenever he or she needs them for travel, following the completion of which, the passports are to be returned promptly.


X.XX  If either parent plans a vacation with the children, that parent will give the other a detailed itinerary at least fourteen (14) days before it begins, including the name of any flight carrier and flight times, accommodation, including address and telephone numbers, and details as to how to contact the children during the trip.  The non-travelling parent will sign and deliver a Travel Letter permitting such travel by the children.

Participation of Both Parents in the Passport Application Process

All Canadian children, from newborns to age 16, require a passport to travel.  Only a parent with legal custody of a child may apply for that child’s passport, although both parents must sign the application form.  If there is a joint custody arrangement, either parent may apply, but the other parent must still sign the application form.  Even with both signatures in place, the Passport office may contact the non-applicant parent or guardian at the time of the application.

Don’t Forget All Critical Supporting Documentation!

To save yourself time and headaches, don’t forget to have all relevant documents with you (or included with the application form) when you apply.  Ensure that you have any and all documents that refer to custody of the child, mobility of the child, or access to the child, such as:

  • separation agreement(s)
  • court orders; and
  • divorce judgment or order

Passport Canada will examine these documents at the time of the application to ensure that you have the legal right to apply for the passport and that no agreement or court order places any restrictions on that child’s travel.

Once you have the passport in hand and you have booked your travel, don’t forget to obtain a travel letter from your ex before you leave.  If you’d like more information about travel letters, please have a look at our blog Travelling Abroad with Children – Do I Need a Consent Letter?

If you have any questions about travel post-separation or post-divorce, or about any family law matter, contact Gelman & Associates at (416) 736-0200 or 1-844-742-0200 or contact us online for a confidential initial consultation.

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