Have any of you been stopped and questioned while travelling with child with different surname?

(68 Posts)
MNBlackpoolandFylde Sat 11-May-13 20:02:59

While flying in EU?

No, but when I take my kids to Israel I get DH to write a note on a photocopy of their passports saying he is ok with me taking the kids out of the UK. Never needed it but better safe than sorry. Different surnames as well.

burberryqueen Sat 11-May-13 20:07:01

no but my sister in law was once, luckily she was not a lone parent and her oh was also on the coach, being a lazy arse and leaving her to go through with the child. It was suggested she should carry a birth cert if she was travelling alone in the future.

Itsmymove Sat 11-May-13 20:10:01

We are going on our first hol with DS next Tuesday grin, my DS has DPs surname and mine as his middle name, hopefully that would resolve any potential query??

ginmakesitallok Sat 11-May-13 20:10:56

No never

Kahuna Sat 11-May-13 20:20:22

Yes, actually on the journey BACK in to the UK…..

Got on the ferry from the UK to Belgium - no problems. Travelled from Belgium to France, again no problems. Stayed in France for 5 days – no problems.
On the return journey checking in at the ferry port at Belgium I was asked to produce documents to prove that I was allowed to take my son [different surname to me] from his originating country???

I was trying to take him BACK to his originating country. He had his own passport so no indication that he was a possible Belgian being removed from his country of birth….He was 100% UK and we were travelling to the UK….
Since then I have always requested, and received a letter from DS’s father stating that he is aware of and condones the travel between DS’s residential country and the visiting one between X and Y dates.
Funnily enough, ever since I have had such a letter in my possession whilst travelling alone with DS I have never been asked about him???

PurpleThing Sat 11-May-13 21:34:59

Itsmymove Not in my experience. Ds has the same middle/surname thing and I needed something else to prove I was his mother. (I had actually got a letter from ex organised but didn't have it on me. Ds had been taken to hospital from the plane on the way in so we had bypassed border control and I'd forgotten there could be any issue going home again.)

Ds was 2.5 and had speech delay and they kept asking "Who is this?" and waving my passport in his face. He was eating a Kinder egg and said nothing. They let us through as I went on about how he'd just got out of hospital.

paneer Sat 11-May-13 23:49:03

Whenever I return to the UK with DD I always get asked whether she is my daughter (we have different last names).

I was warned about this so always have a copy of her birth certificate with her passport.

LadyBoubou Sun 12-May-13 13:27:38

I have also had problems... when entering the UK. The border agency staff asked my 3 yr old ( at the time) who her mother was ! When I dared to suggest they rephrased it to "who is your mummy?" they got really cross and told me to keep quiet!! but she then pointed to me! I was handed a leaflet on child trafficking.

gettingeasiernow Sun 12-May-13 16:52:25

My ds has travelled to Germany with my dh who is not his father and whose name he doesn't share. They weren't questioned. I provided statement saying he was allowed to and copy of passport just in case - ds is 10 and fairly articulate and credible anyway. On the other hand, they always seem to query who I am when ds and I come home from Germany together, even though we do share the same name and couldn't look more similar.

exexpat Sun 12-May-13 17:03:47

Yes, several times at airports and Eurostar stations. I have a different surname from the DCs, which seems to be the main trigger, although it seems illogical to me: I would have thought it was equally likely for a divorced parent with the same surname as the DCs to be trying to spirit them away overseas in a custody dispute.

I always travel with copies of their birth certificates, and DH's death certificate in lieu of a letter of permission from the other parent.

Has never crossed my mind. Bur I have only travelled abroad once with my 10 year old.
He looks so like me and we are clearly close so no one could question that I was his mum.
But I must think about this for the future.

exexpat Sun 12-May-13 17:14:42

Looks don't seem to make any difference - DD is an absolute mini-me, and has my surname as a middle name, but I have still been questioned multiple times.

Lily311 Sun 12-May-13 19:02:44

Yes. Hence I always have birth certificate w me.
They asked me her dob, where she was born, her second name, where the father was.

Every single bloody time I come back into the country. I was advised by BA to carry a copy of her birth certificate which I do, but I have never been asked to show it.

ubik Sun 12-May-13 20:28:00

This has happened to several friends-in fact a friend married her DP and officially changed her surname to the same as her childrens, partly for this reason.

My aunty was nit allowed on Eurostar with her grandson without a letter giving permission fro his mother.

NotTreadingGrapes Sun 12-May-13 20:29:02

Yes. As I've said on numerous threads about this.

And as I've also said on the numerous threads, it's to check that the child travelling with its mammy (or daddy) is doing so with the other parent's permission (ie not being abducted across a border possibly into a non-Hague-signatory country)

Within the next few years it will be airport wide across Europe (bringing it more in line with the US and Canada)

NotTreadingGrapes Sun 12-May-13 20:29:40

It's nothing to do with surnames being different btw.

I have been stopped before passports were even handed over.

NulliusInBlurba Sun 12-May-13 20:33:27

Last year was the first time DH travelled with the DDs alone on a plane - they have my surname. He brought their birth certs just in case, but we couldn't manage to produce a letter of permission from me because it was a family emergency and I had already flown on ahead to arrange a funeral (so I was in a different country to them).

DH wasn't asked for actual proof, but the border guard apparently made a 'witty' comment about him taking the neighbours' kids on holiday! When I dropped them off at the airport on the way back I hung around for an hour at departures just in case I was asked to confirm DH's right to travel with them, but there was no comment that time.

Both DDs look so much like DH (there's a family eyebrow they've inherited) that there's actually no doubt they're genetically related, but I suppose that doesn't guarantee a parent/child relationship.

The weird thing is that although DH and DDs have different names, they all have the same nationality, whereas I have their name but travel on a different passport. No border guard has ever questioned why my children have different passports to me, probably because it's all EU anyway.

meglet Sun 12-May-13 20:35:47

This scares the willies out of me. XP has been gone for 4yrs so he can't do a letter. Absent abusive parents can't write letters.

I'd love to take the dc's to Paris when they're older and we have an invite for the States in a few years. They have a different surname (thanks XP angry) and different hair colour.

Yep. Stopped at both sides of plane ride back from Ireland - and both mentioned DD's different surname and colouring. She was 4 months at the time, after which I finally gave in and changed my very Irish surname to DH's African one (totally outs me!)

Nope, never and I travel on a NZ PP whereas the kids travel on UK ones. We fly a lot too, 2-3 x a year.

meglet Sun 12-May-13 20:49:38

When they stop and question you do they take the kids into a different room? It sounds terrifying sad.

How does a birth certificate make any difference? It wouldn't be able to prove whether a child was being taken with permission?

Bvlgari Sun 12-May-13 20:58:29

I still travel under my maiden name, I've been asked questions coming back into the UK
Just a couple of questions, and they sometimes ask ds something, just like "have you been on holiday"
One time he was about 3, he was screaming and wet himself on me, I was carrying him, it was about 1am and he'd just woken up, they weren't suspicious, they just have to ask the questions
I do carry his birth certificate and my marriage certificate too

They don't take you aside, just a couple of questions as you're going through

NorbertDentressangle Sun 12-May-13 20:59:37

When we traveled back from Portugal about 4/5 years ago the DC were 'questioned' in an informal way as to who they were with.

They were traveling with me and DP (their Dad) but they have DPs surname and mine is different. Also DP has a non-UK (but other EU country) passport which might have complicated things?

paneer Sun 12-May-13 21:02:22

When coming back into the UK on the boarder control, the UK immigration offical at the counter asks - "is this your child" or "what's your relationship to this child"

At that point I pass them the birth certificate and tell them she's my daughter. This has always satisfied them and they check on their computer and then get welcomed back home.

Never been physically wisked away to another room.

Be prepared with your DCs birth certificate that shows your name as the mother/father.

I read somewhere that you sholuld get letter (legal=cost) from other parent, but my DD has no residential court order and things are amicable with xp and relations regarding DD so there is nothing to flag us up.

nextphase Sun 12-May-13 21:11:57

Long haul, but I've been questioned, and the kids have the same surname.
meglet, no, not taken anywhere, just some questions like
* is this your child
*does his father know he's travelling
*whats his full name
and then let us through. He was too young to reliably answer questions. I'm fairly sure they wouldn't take you anywhere unless there was a major concern flagged.

MNBlackpoolandFylde Sun 12-May-13 21:43:30

Baffled as to why you were handed a child trafficking leaflet when bringing a child on a UK passport back into the UK Lady!

Fully understand leaving UK and reasons but why coming back in with children on UK passports.

Surely the child is technically entitled to come in anyway as its their country even without you.

I have a typed letter from ex, birth cert, divorce cert and tax credits to prove she lives with me, hope that's enough as exh has not signed letter but it has his contact details on.

Fairylea Sun 12-May-13 21:47:11

Nope never.

Dd has totally different surname to all of us and we have been all over the world and never been asked in ten years.

LineRunner Sun 12-May-13 21:49:08

No, never.

I wonder if it depends on the airport. I fly in and out of Bristol, which is fairly small and doesn't get that busy so they have a bit more time for a chat.

I figure they're just doing their job and am polite and friendly. I don't have a letter from DD's dad and, as the resident parent, don't see why I should need one.

NotTreadingGrapes Mon 13-May-13 06:22:01

No airport is smaller than the one in deepest southern Italy that I fly out of, and that's where I was first stopped. And dd and I have been stopped more than once coming into the UK on British passports, but never out (which seems illogical to me too!)

I used to work for the Immigration dept many moons ago, and although I don't now I contacted a mate of mine who is still airport immigration though no longer front desk and he told me: it is, at the moment, discretionary, which is why some lone parents will be stopped and others not. It's a precautionary thing like customs used to be. If you are stopped and they have reason to believe that you don't have permission from the other parent to travel, then you can have as many documents as you want, but without that notarised consent letter you could be in trouble. Obviously, in 99 cases out of 100, a quick phone call from them to Dad/Mum will sort the situation out.

As for parents with no contact, then you should get a notarised letter saying that there is no contact.

All the relevant information/advice is on the Border Agency website.

NotTreadingGrapes Mon 13-May-13 06:50:26

Actually, scrap that last sentence, the BA website is spectacularly uninformative (or at least the bit I've just looked at) and I can see now why people are concentrating on the different surname thing. (because that seems to be mainly what the BA website goes on about)

Which means they should be stopping all Italian and Spanish children......

giantpenguinmonster Mon 13-May-13 07:03:14

I've been asked flying out of Amsterdam. I had a letter and birth certificate and flight details to show DH was joining us later.

But I did see a man and child refused entry to the US because he was not related to the child. I suspect in most countries this would have been done privately but in New York they gave him a bollocking in front of a big room full of people and insinuated he was up to no good with the child.

sanityseeker75 Mon 13-May-13 10:21:12

I have two DSC who I have the same name as and have travelled abroad and never been questioned even though they are not my kids but always get asked if my DS is mine as he has his fathers last name

I was when going to Italy but I had his birth certificate. God I wish I'd picked my surname for ds.

3mum Tue 14-May-13 03:58:09

Yes twice (my children have my ex's surname) but only on returning to the UK. I don't carry any additional documents and don't see why I should. My usual response is to point out that they hold UK passports so can come into the UK anyway and the questions are therefore pointless (they love me at immigration control!). My children are old enough to answer questions for themselves although my sarky 12 year old last time said "never seen her before - stranger danger". Serves them right. It doesn't take long for them to decide we are more trouble then their job's worth and wave us through.

Lemonylemon Tue 14-May-13 12:58:04

Yes, but only "what relationship do you have with these children".

DS - has late XP's surname;
DD - has late P's surname;
I have my maiden name

HauntedNow Thu 16-May-13 22:28:10

Agree with Paneer. The border control officer advised me to carry a copy of his birth certificate and not to be surprised if my son is asked who he is travelling with. Has happened several times mainly coming back into the UK but also elsewhere. Nothing frightening for my son so now always carry it to make sure there is no problem

myfriendflicka Fri 17-May-13 13:25:34

Yes, coming back into the UK on the Eurostar from Paris with my 14-year-old DS last month.

My husband is dead so they would have a lot of trouble getting him to write a letter.

Perhap they would expect me to carry a death certificate as well as my son's birth certificate?!

Load of bollocks. They seem to ask women about this more than men, if this thread is anything to go by.

exexpat Fri 17-May-13 14:48:01

myfriendflicka - I do carry a photocopy of DH's death certificate, just in case, along with the DCs' birth certificates. I started doing that after a Canadian passport control person asked me where the children's father was. Luckily he believed me, and I haven't been asked that directly since, but you never know.

I've been stopped, again coming back into this country. I was furious when the woman asked my son (then aged 5) if I was his mummy. He's clinging to me , hiding behind my leg because of course, as a good parent, I've warned him about talking to strangers. He's immature o doesn't get subtlety that its OK to talk when Mummy and Daddy are there. My son has my surname as a middle name and it is very unusual - there are only about 200 of us in the country.

It is the coming back into the country that I don't get. if I was taking him I would long gone.

thanks for the tips tho - very useful

lottysmum Sat 18-May-13 00:10:32

Stopped 9 times out of 10 always when coming back....(weird)...my dd is now 11 so they dont seem to have such an issue anymore...I think one of them asked my daughter who I was a few months ago when we came back from France and daughter gave them my full name rather than mum! My dd used to get annoyed ..its funny because I am the parent with full parental responsibility...it would help if passports were linked to show mother/father ..

myfriendflicka Sat 18-May-13 05:57:06

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr at this, quite frankly. They are going to detain me if I say: "I am widow and my husband, my children's father, is dead, which is why he isn't with us", and then don't produce a death certificate?!!!!!

They can do that if they like, one short phone will verify I am telling the truth, and it will be very instructive for my son to realise not all authority is benevolent.

I won't be carrying a death certificate or my children's birth certificates (my daughter is 18 and an adult now anyway) just in case some official wants to get over-officious. Seems like another way of attacking single parents.

Words fail me actually.

And don't bother coming on to say they have to do it because some partners kidnap their children. As has already been said, why would I be kidnapping my son by bringing him INTO the country, rather than when leaving?

LtEveDallas Sat 18-May-13 06:22:12

I have a friend that is mixed race, her ExDP is white, their son is blond haired and blue eyed. She was stopped at passport control despite her DS having the same surname as her because of the colouring issue. It didn't help that her DS was 3 or 4 at the time, and his passport was a baby one.

They let her through eventually, but only after she pointed out the amount of white people that adopt black children and vice versa. She laughs about it now, but was bloody furious at the time.

NotTreadingGrapes Sat 18-May-13 06:35:01

Perhaps more mothers are stopped because a) more mothers travel alone with children b) this thread is being posted on by more mothers.

Statistically more fathers travelling alone are stopped because statistically more fathers (sadly) do abduct their own children.

Child traffickers rather than abducters abducting their own children statistically more likely to want to bring a child they have no right to into the UK.

Remember Adam? Headless torso of an African child brought into the UK for I dread-to-think what reason and found in the Thames? That sort of thing is why children are brought into the UK. And had the people bringing him in been more vigilantly checked he might not have ended up in the Thames.

But hey, what does that matter as long as we don't have to go to the trouble to carry a piece of paper with us?

myfriendflicka Sat 18-May-13 07:56:16

No, I will not be carrying a "piece of paper" with me because you say so, NotreadingGrapes. And guilt tripping me about an extremely unusual case isn't going to work either.

myfriendflicka Sat 18-May-13 07:58:59

Oh, and if you think all lone parents coming in to the country should carry all their documents with them at all times, or be fined or imprisoned, because you think that alone will end child trafficking, do feel free to write to your MP, or actually do some campaigning in the real world, rather than making a random self-righteous comment to someone on the internet that will do fuck all.

myfriendflicka Sat 18-May-13 08:05:06

And do put lots of significant words in italics in your letter to make sure he/she notices what you deem to be important, incase they don't notice hmm

Bvlgari Sat 18-May-13 08:41:21

None of these officials are trying to make you feel bad or trying to be awkward, they are trying to make sure that no-one is brought into this country illegally, kidnapped, trafficked, sold,anything else

Bloody hell, amazed at these attitudes
They are trying to protect the children

Bvlgari Sat 18-May-13 09:40:30

OK, put it another way
If, god forbid, my child was abducted I'd like to think that someone somewhere at a passport control would ask the question, what is this persons relationship to this child
Wouldn't you?

Bluepenny Sat 18-May-13 22:23:42

It's becoming more common and worth checking the UK Gov site for countries you are travelling to, as some like Canada and Mexico need letter of absence parent authority (or relevant paperwork) and USA is following suit. I'm not saying they will ask or they won't let you in, it's an element of risk you decide to take really.

We've been questioned before (DS has same surname) and it took me aback as hadn't even thought of it. I put a post on here autumn last year about this subject as XP had moved abroad. Cue lots of responses about just take the risk and go anyway.

In the end, I had half hour free with a solicitor and the choices were to go to a court and get an official bit of paper (XP doesn't have PR so straight forward) or get XP to complete an off the net travel consent form witnessed and sealed. Luckily, XP did the latter, so we now take DS's birth certificate and the travel consent form, which is open ended until DS is 18.

I appreciate the difficulties in getting consent in alot of single parent situations, but it is worth looking at the risk of being asked dependent on the countries you may be going to. I am too risk adverse and we're going to the USA so chances of us getting asked are higher than say France.

The abduction numbers have risen dramatically apparently in the last few years, hence more countries bringing in such border controls.

Travelledtheworld Sun 19-May-13 00:09:11

Yes, flying from London to Toronto with my two children who have different names to me.

Travelledtheworld Sun 19-May-13 00:11:31

I have also been asked for letter of authority by US airlines prior o departing the USA.

pippibluestocking Sun 19-May-13 00:19:25

Yes, on the way back into the UK (at Gare Du Nord). Officers were English. Suggested that I carry children's birth certificates with me if travelling again abroad without DP.

No and I've travelled quite a bit back and forth every year EU, however I have noticed for this year I'm not allowed to check in online like I used to and have to go to the desk. After reading some of the threads on here am going to bring ds's BC and maybe get his dad to write a quick note saying he knows and allows him to be taken out of the country as a precautionary measure.

I might even do the same for dd who has the same surname as me.

moldingsunbeams Mon 21-Oct-13 01:55:15

I know this is an old thread but has anyone had this issue going into Berlin?

Thinking of going next year and had terrible problems in Greece.
We won a holiday, was pulled aside and questioned on the way into Greece but they let us go, leaving Greece they pulled us aside, took our passports and travel documents and made us go to another area while they checked somewhere. DD who has sen was terrified.

I did have letters and proof but they would not let me show them, never had problems before but its put us both off tbh.

probablyparanoid Mon 21-Oct-13 10:11:22

This happened to me too. A friend has her name in her passport as '[maiden sir name] also known as 'married sir name]' - she never had an issue . I was thinking of doing that when I next renew my passport. Because you can put anything in the 'also known as'

Does anyone know however - do you always have to have a letter from the father? Would a copy of your marriage papers and divorce papers and the children's birth certificates sufficient or do they have to establish you have permission of the father. I really don't want to have to ask dad for anything.

Lucyccfc Tue 22-Oct-13 21:54:41

DS and I travel 4 or 5 times a year and have done for a number of years. He has been asked at customs/immigration on the way back to the UK, if I was his Mum, his name and how old he is. Never a big deal.

We went to Brazil in June and I had a copy of our birth certificates and his Dads, as well as his Dad's passport and a letter from his Dad giving permission for our DS to travel. Not only did a lovely customs official pull us out of the queue and took us right to the front, but no one asked us for any of the documentation we have.

We are going to New York next April and I will do the same again, just to be safe.

nkf Tue 22-Oct-13 21:56:36

No, but my children look like mini versions of me. Or maybe it's just never happened. I suppose I could carry their birth certificates.

Dd brought her best friend on holiday with us in the summer. Dh and I have different names, dd has dh's.
My Mum and her husband were also with us but they don't share the same name either.
So altogether 4 different names confused

We were stopped in the UK airport and asked to explain the relationships between each passenger. No problem though. Dd's friend had a letter from her parent giving consent to travel but they never asked to see it. This was a flight to Portugal, so yes, EU.

exexpat Tue 22-Oct-13 22:08:28

Moldingsunbeams - I flew into Berlin with the DCs last year, and was not asked anything - it's always coming back into Heathrow/Gatwick, or boarding the Eurostar in Paris that I get asked about the children. I think it may be becoming more common everywhere, so take the paperwork, but don't worry too much about it.

Shortbutsosweet Wed 23-Oct-13 22:33:54

Molding sunbeams
I flew to Berlin in September from London City airport.
When I was due to board the plan the airline rep told me I couldn't fly s my DS had a different surname, they needed proof.
I didn't realise this and if I had been told this when I checked in my DP could have gone home and got passport or birth certificate, as my child carries his surname.
They let me fly, no problems at at in Germany.
Yet when I got back to England a lecture from cocky immigration woman.
I thought the new passport which asks for both parents details and you both have to sign was a good way to stop child abductions.

exexpat Wed 23-Oct-13 23:11:23

The different surname thing as a reason to stop people really annoys me - I'm sure a pretty high proportion of child abductions (after family breakups) are carried out by parents who share the same name as their children. And the number of women who have different surnames from one or more of their children is pretty high.

Either they should stop and check anyone travelling with children, including couples - nothing to say child traffickers can't work in pairs - or have something better to base suspicions on than just having a different surname.

What makes it all worse is that this has all started happening with no publicity - no one tells you you need to carry extra documentation until the first time you are stopped, and as far as I know there are no official guidelines anyway, at least not in the UK. Does anyone know if there is actually anything on an official website or leaflet anywhere that spells it out that lone travellers need to be able to prove they are related to their children and have the other parent's permission to travel?

exexpat Wed 23-Oct-13 23:25:29

I just googled and found this - Children Travelling to the United Kingdom. It only seems to apply to children entering the UK, which has also been my experience - I've only ever been asked about my relationship with the DCs on my way back into the country.

So it seems you are free to leave the UK with children who may or may not be related to you, without any check of paperwork, but when you are coming back into the country, with British passports, you need extra paperwork - which of course you would have needed to know about before you left the country in order to get copies of birth certificates etc. Crazy.

whatsnext2 Tue 04-Mar-14 18:49:56

I know this is an old thread but am planning to travel to Brazil in Summer. Ex and I are not on cordial terms to say the least so I doubt I can get him to do a notarised letter as Brazilian consul seems to suggest. DD and I have same surname, anybody travelled there as single parent with minor and know if they enforce it? Can see a lot of problems with World Cup if they do ....

financialwizard Tue 04-Mar-14 18:54:51

Only coming back into the UK have I ever been questioned. Had to produce residency order, decree absolute for dissolved marriage, birth certificate for Mstr FW, new marriage certificate for me, birth certificate for me and passports for us both.

Had to do that several times.

Benzalkonium Sat 08-Mar-14 16:34:11

bvlgari Yes I would be really happy to show my documentation on departure from uk, as this represents a procedure which would be protective of uk children. Showing documentation on arrival to uk demonstrates a far greater priority in preventing the illegal migration of children to the uk. Whilst Im not making a stand about this issue, I think it is representative of the governments priorities that almost all the people on this thread who have been stopped have been stopped on entry and hardly anyone on exit.

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