If Your Child Has A Different Surname To You, You'll Need This Before You Head To The Airport

Heading away for half-term? Read this first.
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Travelling with kids requires levels of preparation akin to launching a new rocket into orbit.

And if you’re planning on travelling solo with your child anytime soon – and you don’t share their surname – there are a few extra things you’ll need to pack before setting off for the airport. (Sorry.)

Parents who don’t pack such extras may find themselves being questioned to ensure they’re actually the parent of the child who’s travelling – it’s all to do with protecting against child trafficking and child abduction.

While an incredibly important cause, it can leave parents – especially mums, who are more likely than dads to not share a surname with their child – feeling a little frantic when they’re pulled to the side at border control to be interrogated about their travels with their child.

Some parents have even missed flights because of it.

So what do you need to know?

If you’re travelling with your child, but not their other parent, specific documents may be requested at the UK or foreign border – including a letter from the other parent consenting to your child going abroad, according to Tisshaws Family Law Solicitors.

The letter should share their contact details, as well as your reasons for travel.

If the other parent has passed away, you may need to take a copy of their death certificate instead.

If you don’t share the same surname as your child, you should also take documents to prove you’re their parent. While it’s a bit of a faff, your best bet is to take your child’s birth certificate.

There’s obviously a risk of losing it – but if that does happen, you can buy a new one when you return from your travels for £11.

And if you want to keep all your documents together in one place, it might be helpful to purchase a travel wallet before you head off on holiday – these can be great for storing passports, travel insurance policies and any other important documents you don’t want to lose.

If you’ve changed your name since your child’s birth – for instance, if you’re divorced and remarried – you’ll also need to provide proof of your name change. Your marriage certificate or a change of name deed might be your best bet.

The Deed Poll Office also recommends both parents’ names and contact details should be added to the ‘emergency contacts’ section at the back of your child’s passport to avoid any doubt over who your child’s parents are.

It’s also worth checking what the policies are in the country you’re visiting, as some require more documentation than others. You can usually find this information out via the Home Office or the destination country’s embassy.

Happy travels!