Traveling with children who have a different surname
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Traveling with children who have a different surname

Does your child have a different surname to you? This article is a must read for you…

According to Mumsnet, traveling with a child who has a different surname to you can leave you being stopped at passport control and being made to prove that child is yours.

The same could happen if you are travelling without the child’s dad or if the children have gone on holiday with a relative, it is handy to know what to do in this situation.

I posted this in summer 2016 and I had hundreds of you message and comment to say you got stopped and questioned then your children got questioned, apparently it wasn’t a nice experience and it upset some of the questioned children. Although it may not have happened to you yet but personally I wouldn’t like to take the risk.

What can I do if this happens to me?

  • Check with your airline – All airlines have their own specific requirements and deal with these problems daily.
  • Check with your embassy – what applies for British children does not apply for other nationalities, regardless of whether they are travelling into/from the UK.
  • Check with the relevant embassy for the requirements of country/countries you’ll be travelling to/through.
  • Ensure you have relevant documents – You will need passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates. If you’re travelling under your maiden name with children of a different surname, a marriage certificate alongside your passport will ‘prove’ who you are.
  • Pack a consent letter – More information below.
  • Do your parenting arrangement have special terms regarding international travel? If they do then you would need to check with a solicitor to ensure you have the relevant supporting documents.

Do I need a consent letter?

  • Travel consent letters are a letter from the absent parent to say that the child or children in question have permission to travel abroad. They may be used for parents who are divorced or separated, or the other parent simply isn’t coming along on holiday. They can also be used by grandparents and other relatives who are taking your children on holiday.
  • They’re not a legal requirement in the UK, but can simplify travel for UK citizens in case they are requested by immigration authorities when entering or leaving a foreign country or when re-entering the UK.
  • The letter needs to be signed by which ever parent is NOT travelling.
  • Getting the letter notarised is recommended, as it’s more likely to be accepted as a legal document. You can do this at a local solicitor’s for a small charge. Again, this is not a legal requirement but it can make the situation easier.
  • Remember, carrying a consent letter does not guarantee that children will be allowed to enter or leave a country; every country has its own entry and exit requirements. Double-check with the relevant embassies for specifics.
  • You can download a template consent letter here.

What if I can’t get permission from the other parent?

If both parents share parental responsibility for the children, then they should have full permission from the absent parent before traveling overseas. If the absent parent is not on the birth certificate then you won’t need their permission.

If the absent parent does not consent to you taken the child out of the country you will need to go to court to try and resolve the matter.
If the absent parent has passed away you may be required to take the death certificate with you.

 Not everyone knows about this so please pass this on to anyone you think should know this…

You can see the original article on Mumsnet here…

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6 Comments
  1. What if the absent parent has nothing to do with your children as a restraining order has been put in place by the court’s and children’s name he been changed by deed poll

    • I myself and in this situation after domestic violence and my son now has my married surname. I think as long as you take change of name deeds and birth certificate with you, you’ll have no problem. I would check with the airport or travel agents in advance just incase though x

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