travelling from France to UK with DS1 & 2 who don't have my surname

(30 Posts)
AuldAlliance Fri 02-Apr-10 08:33:41

Tomorrow I am flying from France to the UK with DS1 & 2.

They have their father's surname, not mine.

As a precaution, I was advised to have a letter from DH authorising me to travel with them.
Is this right?
What do I need?
Just a signed letter? (which I could have written myself)
A photocopy of our livret de famille as well, or of DH's ID?


OP’s posts: |
Bucharest Fri 02-Apr-10 08:38:30

I'd check the Border Control agency website AFA the UK side of things is concerned.

I know (from working for them in the past) that they are starting to bring this in for lone parents travelling with children, and being told to pay special attention to it.

Not sure if it's that widespread tbh, yet. I know here that Milan airport is quite strict on it, but none of the others.

Best check somewhere official on the French side of things.

As you say, you could have written a letter with dh's signature....

thirdname Fri 02-Apr-10 08:45:03

I have never bothered myself, never had any problems

thirdname Fri 02-Apr-10 08:51:05

DH has in the past carried his marriage certificate with him. And lost on one of our travels....

Bonsoir Fri 02-Apr-10 08:54:40

Yes, take a letter signed by your DH confirming that he is OK with you taking your children outside the country.

I find the whole thing absolutely outrageous. DD has both our surnames for this very reason.

AuldAlliance Fri 02-Apr-10 09:15:44


I should have given them my surname as well as DH's, but hardly anyone in the UK can pronounce it correctly, never mind in France.

It just seemed an unnecessary hassle for them.

But it makes me furious to have to prove that I have the right to travel with the fruit of my own blimmin loins wink angry

OP’s posts: |
teafortwo Fri 02-Apr-10 09:59:36

My dd has a different surname to me too.

Based on the letter I was given at Gare de Nord I write and dh signs something like:

To whomever it may concern,

dd and dw are going to England to stay with dw's parents/sister/friends at .......................(address) from ..... to ......

I give full permission for my dd to travel with dw and ontop of that I hope they have a very good time!

DH signs

I also have an official copy of her birth certificate with me.

It is a pain and feels a bit hmm but I would rather jump hoops than not be allowed to get on the plane/train!


AuldAlliance Fri 02-Apr-10 10:49:30

Have done a bilingual version, to cover all eventualities:

I, DH, of ..., hereby confirm that I give my full and unreserved consent for my wife, DW,, to travel freely with our two children, DS1 & DS2 (born ... and ...), to leave and enter French territory as she wishes and to travel wheresoever she may see fit to take them.

Je soussigné DH, demeurant ..., père des enfants DS1 & DS2, nés ..., et disposant du plein exercice de l’autorité parentale sur ces enfants, atteste par la présente que je les autorise à voyager librement, sur et hors du territoire français, en compagnie de leur mère, DW, demeurant également ... et disposant aussi du plein exercice de l’autorité parentale sur ces enfants.

I so like to slip a "wheresoever" in when I can. wink

It does make me angry, but I agree that I'm not keen on being delayed by zealous passport officials.

The passport officer who advised me last time to bring a letter asked me if DS1 was my son, and when I said "yes" in indignant tones, he said, "I know he is, I can always tell, but I have to ask."

OP’s posts: |
pinkhousesarebest Fri 02-Apr-10 13:13:43

Is this new? I have never had any problems travelling from France to the U.K with the children, who also have a different surname to mine.

maman2tom Fri 02-Apr-10 17:56:18

Theoretically you don't need a letter but i got stopped by check in staff about 2years ago when i was flying back to UK with ds and this is despite him having both surnames!! Luckily they rang through to the border police who said there wasn't a problem ...but a v.anxious wait!!

I would now travel with the "livret de famille" but not a letter from dp as i find the whole idea of my dp "allowing" me to leave the country so shock ...hmm then again i now have 2dcand allways travel with dp!!!

peasandbeans Fri 02-Apr-10 19:48:51

Do they have UK passports?

If they are travelling on a french passport/identity card and not with their parents (I know you are their mother, but as you say it doesn't look obvious as you don't have the same name) they need a formal authorisation from the mairie for them to leave France.

If they are travellig on UK passports then it should be no problem (but you never know..)

My mother has on various occasions taken my 2 dds from France to England with no problems (but that was 2 years ago and they might be getting fussier at the border). I suppose really you just need to be able to prove that you are their mother, so a livret de famille should do.

AuldAlliance Fri 02-Apr-10 20:38:14

Their passports are UK ones.

I think controls are getting tighter. Have noticed a change the last few times I travelled with DS1. Questions about whether he is my son, where we are going and why.

Though my mum took him to the UK in Nov and she was asked no questions. hmm

OP’s posts: |
giveitago Fri 02-Apr-10 21:29:08

I was told at UK border that I should take something with me to connect me to ds ie birth cert - and I shall.

I was travelling with dh at the time but I'll still do in future. Annoying for me but I'd rather be connected than separated.

I think they are getting tighter on controls these days.

janek Fri 02-Apr-10 21:37:28

what about a photocopy of your dh's passport with his signature on it, to prove you didn't sign the letter yourself?

treetroppo Fri 02-Apr-10 21:45:42

never had any kind of problem whatsoever. been australia s africa america all over europe. never even thought about it tbh - i thought that that was what passports were for and why babies now have to have them whereas as before you could travel on a parent's one?

AuldAlliance Fri 02-Apr-10 21:46:31

Yes, I have a photocopy of his identity card, to show that the signature is his.

Don't fancy carrying birth certificates, livret de famille, etc. around as am worried about losing them.

OP’s posts: |
MadameDefarge Fri 02-Apr-10 21:55:16

Well, you might all feel outraged by this intrusion, but I can tell you I would be a damn sight more outraged if my exp decided to scarper abroad with my ds, and wasn't pulled up on it at border control. Just because some are all happy families doesn't mean everyone is. Its about the risks of child abduction.

chipmonkey Fri 02-Apr-10 22:59:36

When I was coming back from the UK to Ireland with ds2 and ds4, the Garda at passport control told me that ideally I should have a copy of the birth certs to show that I was in fact their mother as I didn't share their surname.
It did make me a bit hmm that according to that rule, dh would be able to travel with his niece and nephew who share his surname, than I would with my own ds's!

frakkinnuts Sat 03-Apr-10 09:36:19

I would say a copy of the livret de famille or birth certificate would be fine, signed by someone official of course.

On a side note it really annoys me that the UK don't allow maiden names and married names on a passport. I ended up double barelling mine.

Bucharest Sat 03-Apr-10 09:42:26

I agree a zillion per cent with Madame Defarge.

jamaisjedors Sat 03-Apr-10 09:45:20

Wow, I didn't realise this was a problem. The DS don't have my surname but I have got both (married and maiden but only use maiden).

I have always taken the livret de famille too because DS1 only has a carte d'identité not a passport.

Have a good trip!

bunjies Sat 03-Apr-10 10:08:57

Wow, I didn't realise this was such an issue. Dcs and I have a double barrelled surname (mine and dh's together) but dh still has his own surname which means he has a different name to us IYSWIM. We live in France and when I was working in the UK last year he came over with the kids. Luckily he didn't experience any problems either leaving France or leaving the UK but I will make sure he takes the kids birth certs next time he travels with them alone.

Bucharest Sat 03-Apr-10 10:19:18

It isn't an issue mainly yet, but it won't be long until it is a Europe (at least) wide thing, to stop child abduction by disgruntled parents.

The Home Office (at least since the 90s when I worked there) has always had a policy of checking a bit more closely single fathers who travel abroad with a child, and this was the main reason the legislation changed to make British children have their own passports.

It's all good as far as I'm concerned.

frakkinnuts Sat 03-Apr-10 11:21:11

Bunjies you're in less of a tricky situation because your DH and the DCs share one of their names. It's cases where the name is completely different that are an issue.

Saying that as a nanny I travelled alone with me charge who had a completely different name to me, different nationality, different appearance and I was never asked to show my carefully prepared letter and contract!

MadameDefarge Sat 03-Apr-10 16:12:22

frakkin,its less to do with name than parental permission. Solo parents travelling should always carry permission from the other parent with PR.

In Europe it is not as widely or consistantly applied, but you would not get into Canada or US with a child solo without other parental permission.

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