How to move to Canada with children
Moving from state to state takes work. Moving across an international border takes even more work. Moving across an international border with kids? You’re going to need some help. The experts at U-Pack® have done the research and can help you learn everything you need to know about moving from the U.S. to Canada with kids, including documentation requirements, tips, and more.
Getting your family to Canada
In order to move to Canada, you must have a specific reason why you’re moving there. For example, a husband and wife with two kids moving for her job. Under her Canadian work permit, her family may apply to come to Canada as well. But, the work permit won’t allow for her to live in Canada permanently; she’ll have to apply for permanent residency if she wants to live in Canada for good. Once she receives permanent residency status, she can sponsor her family so they can become permanent residents, too.
The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website is a great resource for learning all the ways you and your family can enter Canada, and how family sponsorship works.
Crossing the Canadian border with kids
Whether you enter Canada by air, land, or sea, there’s specific documentation needed for minors (children under 18 years old) moving across the border. It’s important that you have the correct documentation, as Canadian border officials are constantly on alert for missing or runaway children. Also, minors entering Canada without proper documents or are with adults other than their parents or legal guardians will be checked more closely to ensure the child’s safety.
Here’s the documentation minors need to have with them to enter Canada:
A passport or birth certificate is required if the minor enters Canada by land or sea. For air travel, a passport may be required, so check with your airline for requirements.
If the minor is traveling alone, the child should have a copy of their birth certificate, their own passport, and a letter of authorization signed by both parents or by their legal guardian. The letter should include parents’ addresses and numbers, and the name, address, and number of the adult who will be looking after them in Canada.
If the minor is traveling with only one parent, the child should have a copy of their birth certificate and a letter of authorization signed by the parent not traveling with them. The letter should include the address and number of the parent not traveling with the child and an attached photocopy of that parent’s signed passport/national identity card.
If there is only guardian, that guardian should have documents to show there’s no other guardian (e.g. a birth certificate that doesn’t identify the father or mother).
If the parents are separated or divorced and share custody, the parent traveling with the child should also carry copies of the legal custody documents.
If the parents are separated or divorced and only one has sole custody, the letter of authorization may be signed by the parent who has custody, and they should bring a copy of the custody degree.
If one of the parents is deceased, the traveling parent should bring a copy of the death certificate.
- If there is only guardian, that guardian should have documents to show there’s no other guardian (e.g. a birth certificate that doesn’t identify the father or mother).
If the minor is traveling with a legal guardian or adoptive parents, the guardian should have a copy of the guardianship papers, or the adoptive parents should have a copy of the adoption papers.
If the minor is traveling with a person other than their parents or legal guardian, that person should have written permission from the parents/guardians to supervise the child. The letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents/guardians can be reached. A photocopy of the parents/guardians’ signed passports/national identity cards should be attached to the letter.
- Canadian Border officers will not admit a child to Canada is they are not convinced that the parents or legal guardian have authorized the child’s stay.
Tips for moving to Canada with kids
Some travelers choose to have the authorization letter notarized to further support its authenticity.
When traveling with a group of vehicles, parents/guardians should arrive at the border in the same vehicle as their children or any minors they are accompanying.
Keep passports, birth certificates, and permission letters in the same envelope for easy access at the border.
Be prepared to answer questions about your children to the border officers.
If your child is old enough to speak for themselves, the border officer may ask your child questions about why he/she is entering Canada. Prepare your kids to talk to the border officer about the move so they won’t’ be caught off-guard if asked any questions.
- Check Border Wait Times in advance to get across the border as fast as possible.
The easiest way to move to Canada with kids
If you’re looking for a simple, easy way to move your family to Canada, U-Pack® is a great option. We’re a “you pack, we drive” moving company, meaning you pack and load your household goods, and we’ll move them across the border into Canada for you. Since you don’t have to meet us at the border, you and your family can travel to Canada in the comfort of your personal vehicle or catch a flight – much better than driving a rental truck!
When your items arrive in Canada, we’ll give you a call to go clear them at the Canadian customs office. Once cleared, we’ll deliver them directly to your new home. Easy as that!
Check out our detailed guide on moving to Canada from the U.S. to learn more about how U-Pack works, and to download the documents required for your move. And when you’re ready, be sure to get a moving quote online or by calling 800-413-4799.
If you have questions about moving with U-Pack, call 800-413-4799 and ask to speak to Canada moving specialist.