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to warn you that you may have to prove your dc is actually your dc if you have a different surname

(116 Posts)
ShhhhNewName Wed 06-Nov-13 22:37:14

Name change for this as I've written about it publicly as me...if that makes sense?

dd (11) has my xp's surname, we were never married. I married my dh last year and I took his surname. We have travelled quite a bit with dd and I have often wondered what the powers that be in border control make of it, especially pre-marriage when all three of us had different surnames.

But apart from one time coming back to the UK on a flight from Spain, it has never been raised as an issue. Even then they just asked how dd was related and I said, she's my dd hmm

Returning from France a couple of weeks ago, we were stopped at border control and questioned much more thoroughly. We were trying to board a ferry and dd was questioned as to how she was related to us. I was asked to prove myself by showing documents that connected dd to me as her mother. I couldn't produce them. Luckily as dd is 11 she was able to answer numerous questions such as DOBs of her parents, where they were born, other places she'd travelled, so we were ok and dd is a bit of a performer and just thought it was all a bit of an adventure.

We were given a leaflet which explained that due to tightening of regulations, children with a different name to their guardians would be questioned in this way should documents not be available and that should there be a problem proving parentage, travel may be refused and relevant authorities called.

Although I thought it was odd that we didn't have these checks when leaving the country (which may have been more pertinent) I didn't feel singled out or distressed, neither did dh or dd. The lady was very nice and professional blah blah.

I'm warning you because a younger child or a child with special needs might be distressed by this situation and indeed might not be able to answer relevant questions.

I'm not thrilled about carrying even more documents around (I'm always worried I'll lose the passports) but I do think it makes sense and I don't mind hold ups if they make our children safer. However I think it's definitely something that should be made more public and that families ought to be aware of before they travel.

PS. This happened when travelling by ferry, so I'm not sure whether it applies when travelling by plane.

ShhhhNewName Wed 06-Nov-13 22:39:30

PS. Apparently a letter from dd's father would have been sufficient though. That did make me a bit confused as surely that could be forged and angry as he wouldn't have needed one from me.

Lilacroses Wed 06-Nov-13 22:39:54

Good post OP. My DP who is legally my Dds step parent has a different name (at the moment, we are double barelling) and is a different colour so I can well imagine her being challenged in such a way. She always carries her court documents with her but some people might not know this.

Eastpoint Wed 06-Nov-13 22:43:26

Our children were asked similar questions last year although we all have the same surname & were traveling together. My daughter has travelled a lot with another family & we always send her with a letter stating she is traveling with our consent, the expected dates of travel & with a signed copy of the page of her passport showing her photo.

exexpat Wed 06-Nov-13 22:43:34

This has been happening for quite a while, and there have been numerous MN threads about it, but there is no harm in having another one as a lot of people still don't realise - there has been no publicity about it, even though large numbers of people have different surnames from their children.

I have been stopped and questioned many times on returning to Heathrow and Gatwick, and also when boarding Eurostar in Paris or Lille. I carry copies of my DCs' birth certificates and DH's death certificate whenever we travel now, to avoid any problems. People whose partner/ex-partner is still alive are usually advised to get a letter from them saying they don't object to the other parent taking the children abroad.

Strangely enough, I took my DCs and an unrelated friend of DS's to France and back by ferry without being questioned, though I did have a letter from the friend's parents just in case.

Floggingmolly Wed 06-Nov-13 22:45:27

Carry your child's birth certificate with her passport. Perfectly simple.
What do you actually expect when you're crossing a border, in these days when people trafficking is so prevalent?
Border control would be criminally negligent if they didn't ask for proof.

ShhhhNewName Wed 06-Nov-13 22:45:55

Ahh didn't realise I was duplicating. doh!

We have never had this and yet we've travelled all over the place with dd by car on the ferry and by plane, that's why I was so surprised.

foslady Wed 06-Nov-13 22:47:28

I carry a letter from dd's father, but I was advised by UK Border Control to carry a COPY of her birth certificate. If me carrying that will help keep children safe from abduction, that's fine by me

ShhhhNewName Wed 06-Nov-13 22:47:36

flogging I'm not complaining, just highlighting that this was a new thing for me. Also on her birth certificate I have my maiden name. So it's birth and marriage certificates.

If border control would be criminally negligent, then they have been so on approximately 13 other occasions.

PacificDogwood Wed 06-Nov-13 22:47:59

Copy of birth certificate counts for nothing unless notarised if you come across a really awkward border control official.

I changed my name to a double-barrelled one purely to be able to travel with my DCs without hassle. I don't use the rather clumsy combination of our 2 surnames for anything else.

0utnumbered Wed 06-Nov-13 22:48:25

So my children have their dad's surname as we are engaged and saving up to get married, would they just have a problem with me then, if he was with us? Sounds quite scary and intimidating and that's for myself let alone a child being questioned!! What would they do about a toddler who can only say simple sentences and a baby who can't speak at all yet?! Sounds weird to me!

SagelyNodding Wed 06-Nov-13 22:48:46

It has happened to me too in France (I live there). Not married, kids have DP's surname. To take them out of the country (even once with DP on the flight) I have had hassle. Now I bring birth certificates, my 'family book' -don't know if there is a UK equivalent, as well as passports.

Apparently there has been an increase in the number of parental abductions, which has led to increased security measures.

ShhhhNewName Wed 06-Nov-13 22:50:14

outnumbered that's exactly why I posted, not moaning as it does make sense. It just came out of the blue and if dd was younger then ??

If it were just you you'd need proof, I would've though that if your dp was with you it would be alright? Probably worth checking or just bringing the relevant certs

lymiemum Wed 06-Nov-13 22:51:42

Why would having a copy of a birth cert prove anything?

Mim78 Wed 06-Nov-13 22:52:16

Someone asked me but on way back into the country. Could see the point if on the way out...

Birth cert would cover it though.

Was only time we flew abroad without dh but may do it again this summer. Will bring birth cert just in case. Is a pain but there we are.

ShhhhNewName Wed 06-Nov-13 22:52:35

It would link the parents name (on their passport) to the child's name (on their passport)

bsc Wed 06-Nov-13 22:53:54

sagely- my MIL used to have to have a letter signed by her DH to say she could leave France with them each time she went, back in the 70s. I see nothing has changed hmm

Bettylafea Wed 06-Nov-13 22:54:04

I have only ever heard of this from mumsnet. I not only have a different name to my children but also a different nationality. I have never been questioned and have travelled extensively, I think perhaps I should start being more cautious from now on, and take their birth certificates with me. Thanks for the warning.

impecuniousmarmoset Wed 06-Nov-13 22:54:34

In France it can happen even if you have the same surname and there is no question you are the parent of the child. My mum was stopped travelling with me (about 25 yrs ago) because they weren't happy she didn't have authorisation from my dad. We had to run around and get an 'autorisation de sortie du territoire' signed and stamped. Not sure if this applies to foreigners, but worth knowing if you are travelling out if France alone with yr child.

lymiemum Wed 06-Nov-13 22:55:58

But my name on my childs birth cert is not the same name I use now. Child out of wedlock.

PacificDogwood Wed 06-Nov-13 22:56:08

It v much depends on the border control official.

I've recently witnessed a lone mother travelling with a ?3 yr and ?1 yr old, overtired older child, wee one in buggy which was dripping with coats and bags, harassed mum - you get the picture. It was so bloody obvious that she was their mother, but she got the 3rd degree. In the end she said "Well, take them off me then - what are you going to do with them?". I almost applauded - but how stressful for her!
I told her afterwards how well I thought she had handled it.

Yy to linking child's name with other-named-parent's name.

ShhhhNewName Wed 06-Nov-13 22:57:13

lymiemum me too (awful people aren't we wink) you would need to bring docs to show the name change too, so for me it means dd's birth cert and my marriage cert

somewhereinessex Wed 06-Nov-13 22:57:41

I take my marriage certificate with me on holiday as I've kept my maiden name in my passport. My DH tends to fly in for part of our holiday while I drive with the DC who have his surname. I've only ever been asked to show any paperwork at Calais by the UK border agency. Gatwick border control weren't bothered last week and neither were the French.

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 06-Nov-13 22:57:57

Yep I was checked with DS when he was small, and I had my maiden name on my passport.

I was glad that this level of security was in place.

PacificDogwood Wed 06-Nov-13 22:58:44

Oh, I have a different nationality to my kids' too.

lymie, you'd need your marriage certificate as well then, I think?

My parents have taken our DCs on holiday as well, supplied with copies of birth certificates and letter stating our consent to them taking them out of the country signed by me and DH including our passport numbers etc.

I think trafficking of children is just horrific so am in principle in support of things being tightened up although it's a pain in the backside. Just hope you don't come up against a jobs worth... hmm

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