Children must follow the same rules to enter Canada as adults. This means they need to present the correct documentation which includes a passport, a visa or a Canada eTA, and other documents specifically for minors (under 18 years old).
The eTA for Canada is very quick and simple to apply for and parents can apply on behalf of their children. Whether a child is eligible to apply for one depends on their nationality. Children who are not eligible to obtain an eTA need to get a conventional visa from an embassy or consulate.
Minors who attempt to enter Canada without the proper documentation, or who are with adults who are not their parents, will be scrutinized very closely. Border service officers are on alert for children who may need protection or who may have runaway.
To avoid complications at the border, parents or legal guardians should make sure their children have the required documentation. The eTA Canada application only takes a few minutes to complete online and applications are processed very quickly. The process of getting a visa from an embassy or consulate takes much longer.
How Can Children Get an eTA for Canada?
Applying for a Canada eTA is quick and straightforward. Parents can complete the application on behalf of their child though older children will be able to fill out the application themselves (children are considered to be under the age of 18).
Each family member must have a separate eTA and only one application can be completed at a time. To be able to apply, children need to have a passport from one of the eligible countries (which include the USA, all EU countries, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan).
The online form requires applicants to enter a range of information including their name, address, date of birth, travel plans, and passport information. There are also some questions regarding health and security.
The vast majority of applications are quickly approved as long as there are no mistakes or missing information on the application. Applicants receive approved eTAs electronically at the address they specify on the application.
What Other Documentation do Children Need to Enter Canada?
Border service officers are trained to ensure the wellbeing of children at the border. For this reason, children or their parent/s or guardian/s may be asked to provide a range of documentation.
The required documents depend on whether the child is traveling alone, with their parent/s or with another adult. The following documentation is required in addition to an eTA or visa:
If a child is traveling alone
- Child’s passport (a child can’t use their parent’s passport even if their details are included inside).
- Copy of birth certificate
- Authorization letter (in English or French and signed by both parents or legal guardians, as long as both parents/guardians are alive and have joint custody).
If a child is traveling with one parent/guardian or someone else
- Child’s passport
- Copy of birth certificate
- Legal custody documents (if parents are separated or divorced)
- Death certificate of the deceased parent (if one parent is deceased)
- Letter of authorization (advised but not a strict requirement if all the other paperwork is in order)
- Adoption or guardianship papers (if the child is traveling with a legal guardian or adoptive parent).
- Written permission from parent or guardian (if the child is traveling with an adult who is neither their parent or guardian. The letter should include the parents’ or guardians’ addresses and telephone numbers as well as a signed photocopy of their passports or national ID cards).
If a child is traveling with both parents or guardians
If a child is traveling with both parents the required documentation is much simpler. Children just need to show their passport and birth certificate (if included on their parent’s passport).
Note: Children need to have an eTA or a visa regardless of whether they are traveling alone or with parents. Read more about the eTA requirements.