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Are you heading abroad this summer with your child? Don’t get caught at Passport Control

Its a well known fact that lots of parents do not share the same surname as their child and travel without their child’s other parent.

I was talking to my friend recently who, on returning into the UK, was met by a slightly grumpy Passport Control officer who demanded to see her child’s birth certificate. Of course, she did not have it; just the passport. He then asked for her to provide a letter or some other form of written proof that her child’s dad had agreed for her to take the child on holiday out of the UK. Again, she did not have it. He pointed out that they did not have the same surnames so how did he know she was the child’s parent?

My friend and her child and were thankfully allowed to enter the UK, with a stern “make sure you have it next time” response from the Passport Control Officer.

But of course, it got me thinking. The Passport Control officer is right, legally.

Both my friend and the child’s father are named on the child’s birth certificate so they both have Parental Responsibility. Now that they have separated, my friend should get written approval from him that he agrees or consents for the child to be taken abroad. Without it, the Border Control / Passport Control could rightly query if my friend has abducted the child and refuse her entry. By taking a copy of the child’s birth certificate, she can show that she is indeed his mother and confirm her name to them.

A child arrangements order or special guardianship order would also help resolve this issue.

This same scenario would occur for grandparents, special guardians, foster carers etc.

So this summer, as you tick of your list – sun tan cream, euros, sun glasses, passport, tickets make sure you include a copy of your child’s birth certificate, a copy of any court orders you have and a letter from the other parents giving permission for you to go on holiday.

It may just save you from being grilled by a grumpy Passport Officer!

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