As we approach the summer holidays many parents will be getting ready and looking forward to a holiday abroad with their children. If you are a parent travelling with a child or children who do not share your surname, you may experience some difficulty. Claire Parsons, a solicitor in our family department briefly explains what you can do to make your travels a little easier.
It is becoming more common for a parent to have a different surname to their son or daughter, this can be for various reasons. Airports, ports, and international railway stations regularly check the names of all parties travelling together and you may find if you are travelling alone with your children and they have a different surname further questions may be asked. Understandably, this can cause you a great deal of concern. You can take a few steps to avoid this potential additional stress and help your holiday get off to a smooth start.
So, “what can I do” I hear you ask? If you are not travelling with the other parent and you have a different surname, I would suggest that you carry a letter from the other parent confirming they consent to you taking the child/children abroad. This should include the full contact details of the other parent and details of the trip. They should sign it and it would also be a good idea to attach a copy of their passport to the letter of consent. It may also be helpful to carry a copy of your child’s birth certificate as this will give the same name, date and place of birth as shown in their passport, or their adoption certificate. It will also give the name of both parents registered at the time of their birth. If your name has changed since your child was born, you will need to take proof of that. This could be by way of a marriage certificate, decree absolute or change of name deed.
It is important to remember that if you wish to take a child outside of the UK, you must have the permission of the other parent or every person with parental responsibility. If you have a child arrangements order which specifies that the child lives with you, technically you only need the consent of the other parent if your trip is longer than 28 days, however I would suggest it is good practice to ensure the other parent is aware of your trip and a letter from them confirming consent will always be helpful to avoid or answer any additional questions at border control.