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Do I Need a Notarized Consent Letter to Travel?

My son was 3 months old, my husband was going to be in Los Angeles for business. So I thought, why not plan a trip of my own. So my sister and I went online and booked ourselves a vacation. Goodbye Canada, hello Mexico. All we had to do was endure the cold for a few more weeks. During that time, I made sure that I had my husband sign a letter of consent to travel, allowing my son to travel without him. I also made sure that the letter was notarized by an Ontario lawyer. I was not jeopardizing my beautiful sunny vacation. I was prepared.

The day finally arrived. We get to the airport and everything is smooth. They didn’t even ask for the letter of consent to travel. Our passports were sufficient, even though my son’s last name on his passport is different than my own (I didn’t bother changing my passport to my married name until it expired). We spent a glorious week suntanning and swimming. But all good things must come to an end. We packed our bags at the end of the week and headed back to the airport. As we were waiting in the customs line, a customs officer started speaking to me in Spanish. Fortunately the woman behind me understood Spanish and was able to translate. The customs officer was asking me for the letter of consent to travel. Sure officer, no problem. I came prepared. As I handed him the letter, he insisted on seeing the letter from a Mexican lawyer. Clearly the translation must have been off because how could my husband, who had never been to Mexico, get a Mexican lawyer to witness his signature? Twenty minutes later, he handed back the letter and decided that the Canadian letter of consent to travel was sufficient. I had no idea what changed, but I was so thankful that I had that letter. I might still be in the Mexico today had I not come prepared! I’ve heard stories about how strict customs can be, and I’ve heard how lenient they are as well. Either way, i wasn’t about to gamble my vacation away because i didn’t have a letter of consent for my child.