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Notarized or not?

Hi everyone, Im taking my 16 year old out of the country for the first time in April...I know that I need a consent letter from his father but I struggling with whether or not to have it notarized.I talked to someone at Canada Border Services and she said that it wasnt necessary, but I keep reading alot of conflicting info on another forum.
My problem is that my son has had no contact with his father for the last 14 years…Ive been in contact with him for the last two years now and he has agreed to sign the paper but getting it notarized would mean he would have to take time off work to get it done...he hasnt said that he wouldnt do it but I dont really want to ask any extra of him…
Who has taken their kids on vacation and what did you do?

See our FAQ at http://debsdrtravels.proboards47.com/index.cgi?board=faqandsuggestions&action=display&thread=6562

We just got back yesterday, and travelled with 3 teens. One whose mother wrote me a note (17- no father to be found), one was travelling with his father (16) no note needed, one without either parent (17) no questions asked in Dominican at all… now in Toronto… it was fine, but lots more questions!!

We just came back from punta cana last week. I travelled with my son 15 and his friend 15. I did get two notarized consent letters, however no questions where asked either in Toronto or Punta Cana. However after all the planning and money invested into our vacation i didnt not want to take the chance to have any problems at the borders. Up to you but at least if you have the letter than you are stress free. I do feel that border services are more concerned with younger children than with the older ones…have a great vacation!

ps sorry i just reread your post and you said your child is 16? i dont think you need one for that age but not positive…

I have always taken a notarized letter for my son(s) with me.
I have travelled with them at least 10-12x and have never been asked for the letter, even though we have different last names ???
I will continue to travel with a notarized letter, I would not want this to become an issue, you never know.

I certainly would not travel without one, my son is 17. You can be refused and that would really suck!!!

I travelled out of the country with my son recently and found a letter on the Canada Passport web site that you can just fill in the blanks… have it witnessed and all is fine. I think the witness can be a variety of people not just a lawyer. Funny thing was… no one ever asked to see it… no one even questioned that we were not his parents. We had three different last names but we were never questioned. I did alot of worry about this as I heard many stories about kids being questioned etc, and I did not want my son to feel any stress while on vacation. But all the worry was for nothing… hope your vacation goes as smooth as mine did!!!

A couple travelling with us are taking a friend of their daughter to Puerto Plata with them from Halifax. There seems to be some confusion regarding passport for the child. I know adults don’t need a passport, but can you tell me if one is required for the child?

I think our FAQ covers that situation. In addition, I cribbed this from the Need To Know section of the Signature Vacations site.
Minors: For travel to the Dominican Republic, a letter of consent is not required for children under the age of 18 as long as they exit the country accompanied by the same person/people with whom they entered or if unaccompanied both ways. Adequate proof of entrance together is required. However, children under the age of 18 who exit the country with a different person require a letter of consent from both parents, the other parent, their legal guardian or custodial parent that authorizes the travel and stipulates the destination and duration of the intended trip. This letter needs to be notarized by the closest Dominican Embassy or consulate to where the parent(s) or guardian resides and translated into Spanish. For any destination, it is strongly recommended that children under the age of 18 carry a consent letter signed by both parents or their legal guardian for each and every trip abroad if they travel with only one parent, unaccompanied, or with other acquaintances.