22 answers

Crossing International Borders (Canada and Mexico) with a Baby

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.


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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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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.

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.

More Answers

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.

2 moms found this helpful

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.

2 moms found this helpful

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.

1 mom found this helpful

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

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.

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.

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.

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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