Parents travelling with children who have different surnames to them could face questioning at airports

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  • If you are travelling with your children abroad this summer, and they have a different surname to yours, you may need to take extra documentation with you to the airport.

    Thousands of families are embarking on their summer holidays and getting out of the house in one piece can feel like a mission, never mind to the airport and in a foreign country.

    There’s always the dreaded forgotten passport scenario that might prevent you from jetting off but now families with different surnames should be extra cautious.

    For parents travelling with a youngster who has a different surname to theirs it could be worth adding their adoption papers and/or birth certificate to the list of things not to forget when jetting off abroad.

    The Home Office have warned that families should bring these documents to the airport so that if they are pulled aside for questioning, it’s a much smoother, quicker process.

    In a tweet they explained: ‘If your family has different surnames, please bring birth or adoption certificates to help get through passport control quicker.’

    They added: ‘We have a duty to safeguard children and to prevent people trafficking, child sexual exploitation and other crimes. That is why Border Force officers sometimes need to ask additional questions.’

    Alongside the tweet the Home Office shared a video that stated Border Force staff must feel confident that adults travelling with the children have parental responsibility or parental authority has been given to travel with the child.

    So if you are taking any of your children’s friends away with you on holiday or your child is going away with their friend’s family, it could be worth writing a letter of permission in case they face any difficulty at the airport.

    While the Border Control staff will try to cause as little disruption as possible, having the birth or adoption certificates available can really help speed up the process.

    Lots of people have responded to the tweet and thanked the Home Office for the advice as they would not have considered it an issue before.

    Others argued that it is unjust for women in particular who choose not to take on their husband’s name.

    One person simply wrote: ‘Many families have different surnames to each other. It’s 2018.’

    Another added: ‘This is absolutely ridiculous. You have the information when the passport is applied for but more importantly if this was your concern you’d carry out these checks on leaving the country and not just when you return.’

    Have you faced any difficulty when travelling with your child who has a different surname? Head over to our Facebook page to share your experiences, we’d love to hear from you! 

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