Crossing International Borders (Canada and Mexico) with a Baby

Updated on June 08, 2011
L.B. asks from New Rochelle, NY
22 answers

This is my serious question for the day.

I have a 5 month old baby, and my husband and I would like to travel to Canada by car this summer. Do we need to get some kind of ID for the baby? Also, I am visiting my grandmother alone, and she lives near the Canadian border. If I brought the baby over the border without my husband, would they suspect custodial kidnap? I think I read a similar question on mamapedia, but I couldn't find it again.

Thanks!

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Thank you! I didn't even realize I would need a passport! And I am going to Canada... Much as I would love to visit Mexico some day, I agree that it seems dangerous at present.

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G.K.

answers from New York on

As a travel agent I can tell you this much, you can leave the USA without a passport but you will not get back into the country without one. This applies to all travelers not just adults. And it is best to get the baby her/his own because then they can travel with either parent. Years ago they just added the baby to Mom or Dad's passport but then they had to always travel with that parent.

Getting a passport can take some time so if you want to travel this summer you need to get started now.

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W.K.

answers from New York on

As a travel agent we always recommend getting passports. Ive dealt with cruisers that dont wanna spend the money so I suggest passport cards which are only valid for cruising and crossing land borders, such as Canada and Mexico (not flying). Passports cost more, and for kids expires sooner and all, but think of it this way... should something happen where ever you are you will be able to fly home without worrying if you will be allowed back in to the US. Emphasis on FLY.

My sister is divorced and has to get letters from the ex about traveling for more then a certain amount of days, she hasn't crossed borders yet, but its crazy how that works and good to have a note just in case.

Good Luck.

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R.K.

answers from Boston on

We only go to Canada so we got the passport cards instead of the typical one it's cheaper especially for a child since they expire sooner. Both parents have to be present and sign the passport application (we did ours at the post office) I know you're married but I always get a notarized letter (my town clerk does them) from my ex. It's only $3 here. I would hate to be at the border and be questioned. We never have been but i like the added security of having it in the case that I am questioned.

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

It is now required that you carry a passport to travel across the border. Which means the whole family needs them. I got passports for my girls when they were 2. Even though you still pay the full amount to get children passports (I think- cannot remember for sure), they expire sooner. So yes, you will need to take your baby in to get passport photos and she will use the same passport until she is 5.

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M.R.

answers from Phoenix on

Actually, my Phoenix location is a myth...I live in Calgary now and have crossed the US / Canadian border a lot this past year.

Your baby MUST have a valid passport. Period. Better get that one rolling.

If the parents travel together you all will be able to enter and re-enter the US.

If the parents travel separately you MUST have written consent from non-accompanying parent with all contact info for a child this age (meaning non-speaking; non-verbal). Believe me they WILL stop you at the border and ask. And they will call the non-accompanying parent.

I've had it happen with my 8 year old daughter this past summer. It was a lengthy conversation with the border crossing guards. We both had our passports, we were in our RV with dog, they completely checked the entire RV, then asked us to come inside and I was instructed to not say a word, as in coaching my daughter with answers. And she could not answer a single question. So they called my husband.

1 mom found this helpful

R.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

I checked online and this is what I found @ http://www.gonorthwest.com/Visitor/planning/border/childr...:

Children who are U.S. citizens visiting Canada must, in accordance with U.S. laws, carry their own valid passports. Children visiting Canada with one parent, their grandparents or in the company of friends or non-custodial family members are also required to carry written authorization for travel from the other parent or custodial family members. This letter of authorization is in addition to the proof of citizenship (birth certificate) they must produce upon entering the country.

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J.B.

answers from Syracuse on

My family and I travel to Canada every summer. Children under the age of 16 can use their original birth certificate. We have five children so buying passports for all at once would be very expensive! Plus they are only good for 5 yrs for kids I believe. My husband and I have them. We've never had any issues. You probably would need something from your husband if you are traveling across the border without him.

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C.W.

answers from Santa Barbara on

When I have visited Canada and Mexico I always had a passport for my daughter. The cruises I was on always had me have notarized authorization from her dad. The first time in Canada, the woman at customs helped put words in my mouth..."so you are her only parent"??? Off we went, this was ten years ago though. It was easier to go to Europe.

A.H.

answers from Tulsa on

The baby will need some form of identification. If you get a passport, they are good for five years. I think you might can travel with a certified birth certificate for the baby if it is only to Canada, but if you plan on going anywhere else internationally, I'd go ahead and get the passport. You have to have both parents apply for the passport, so kidnapping definitely isn't an issue if you travel with the passport. I have to renew my son's this summer and it comes in handy for school records in addition to the travel we do.

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W.K.

answers from New York on

As a travel agent we always recommend getting passports. Ive dealt with cruisers that dont wanna spend the money so I suggest passport cards which are only valid for cruising and crossing land borders, such as Canada and Mexico (not flying). Passports cost more, and for kids expires sooner and all, but think of it this way... should something happen where ever you are you will be able to fly home without worrying if you will be allowed back in to the US. Emphasis on FLY.

My sister is divorced and has to get letters from the ex about traveling for more then a certain amount of days, she hasn't crossed borders yet, but its crazy how that works and good to have a note just in case.

Good Luck.

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J.F.

answers from Buffalo on

We live right near the Niagara Falls Canadian boarder and have crossed quite frequently in the past... when they were really cracking down and not accepting adult birth certificates any more, i called the boarder directly and they said any child under 16 (or 18? can't remember) only needs their original birth certificate... that's what we've always used for our 12 year old and the past few times for our 18 month olds too. But you definitely will need a passport or enhanced license - my husband & I have enhanced licenses and they are very easy to use and fit right our wallets to have at all times.

Without your husband, you DEFINITELY should have a signed note giving you permission that also includes a contact # for him... my husband had trouble the first time he brought my step-daughter across and they said he needs a letter each time she crosses the boarder or they might not let us through (no matter if we have passports or not!)... they just want proof the other parent knows you're taking the child out of the country. We just hand it over with the EDLs and birth certificates and half the time they don't even read it... we've never had it notorized and they've never given us a problem, but i guess it can't hurt!

M.H.

answers from New York on

Yes! I know I had to get a passport to go to Canada this July. You can not get in without one. It will take about 6 to 8 weeks to get one. Unless you pay a BIG fee and rush it. I just received mine after 6 weeks. Traveling now Mexico with a 5 month old with all that is going on over there right now is not a good idea. With all the diseases and she being so little. Not good.This is MY opionion.

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M.B.

answers from New York on

Your baby needs a passport to travel to Mexico or Canada.

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Once you have a passport, you don't need the signed consent form from the other parent. I took my daughter to Mexico in March with a passport and was never asked for any consent from her father.

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A.V.

answers from Washington DC on

I'd get the passport. You both need to be present to apply for the passport (with the child) or you need a notarized form from the absent parent. My DD has had a passport since she was 10 months old. If you travel w/o your husband, you need a notarized letter from him saying he knows you are taking the kid to Canada.

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X.M.

answers from St. Louis on

I've taken my son to Central America many times. All you need is his passport. I've done it with and without my husband and everything was fine.

And Mexico is not dangerous! You just have to know where to go.

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E.M.

answers from New York on

Bring the baby's birth certificate with you but I have travelled alone with my daughter across the border many times and we don't even have the same last name and it's always been fine. He/she WILL need a passport however.

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J.F.

answers from Utica on

I'm glad everybody has had GOOD experiences traveling into Canada without their spouse. I went through Canada with my 5 year old (within the last year) and 6 mos pregnant (and yes, my daughter had a passport). My husband was (is) deployed and they gave me a FIT at the border...."Does your husband know you're leaving the country with your child??!!" "Uh, YES, and if you look at my BAGS we have enough for a LONG WEEKEND.... not FIVE suitcases trying to run away!!" I immediately got pulled over and searched. They, too, said that we needed a "note" from my husband stating that he "knew that his child was being taken out of the country". They said NOTHING about the note being notarized (which I found odd...) So, I guess I could have run to the car behind me, or doodled up a note with my left hand and it would have been ok. Ridiculous. Just a "heads up"...

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G.K.

answers from New York on

As a travel agent I can tell you this much, you can leave the USA without a passport but you will not get back into the country without one. This applies to all travelers not just adults. And it is best to get the baby her/his own because then they can travel with either parent. Years ago they just added the baby to Mom or Dad's passport but then they had to always travel with that parent.

Getting a passport can take some time so if you want to travel this summer you need to get started now.

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G.T.

answers from Rochester on

I live near the Canadian border and yes, you need a passport to travel there for everyone. Actually, you can get into Canada without one but can't get back into the US unless you have one. You can get a passport card thru the DMV for your child though if you are traveling by car. It's a lot cheaper then a regular passport (I think they are about $60 as apposed to a passport which is about $125). I suggest you take their birth certificate with you also, just in case, although I have never known anyone to be stopped at the border because they are a single parent transporting a child over the border since no ID needs to be shown until you are coming back into the US.

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B..

answers from Dallas on

You need a passport for the baby. I believe you need a signed and notarized consent from your husband, since he won't be with you.

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C.D.

answers from New York on

go get a passport asap

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