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Passport Control

by JKey / Posted 27/09/2010 / Updated 07/01/2011

I have read many posts where one party has left one country to go to another with the child (or children). I assumed that passport control now need a signed letter to state that the parent not travelling gives persmission for the child to leave the country with the other parent. So how do so many children get taken?
I am now worried.


From Rebecca / Posted: 12/10/2010
This is a myth. I am a single parent and my son has a different surname to me. Taking him away on holiday abroad in Europe each year is never a problem as no one bats an eyelid. The father of my son lives in a different country and has nothing to do with me, so if such a letter was required he wouldn´t sign it anyway. My friend is a young widower and she takes her children abroad by herself, they all share the same surname, but she is never questioned either, and it would be very upsetting for her if she had to explain that the reason she was holidaying by herself and taking the children out of the country by herself all the time is because their father was dead! The only way to try and stop a child being taken out of the country is to get a court order and a prohibited steps order where the childs passport can be flagged up for passport control, but even this is not foolproof, as I recently took my son on a coach trip to Paris and the whole coach was waved onto the ferry without anyone´s passports being checked! Plus, these letters would be very easy to forge as it would be virtually impossible to clarify if they were genuinely written or not. The only thing I have noticed a difference on is arriving back in this country. On the last three occasions I have returned to the UK via Birmingham Airport the UKBA at passport control have individually spoken to my son who was 6 and 7 on these occasions, looked at his passport in detail and asked him his name. Whether this is to check if he is being brought into the country on a false passport or not I don´t know, but I did find it quite reassuring they were taking these steps to verify who he was.
From Anne-Marie / Posted: 06/01/2011
2 friends of mine have experienced problems at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam (separate incidents) when travelling alone with their children, who indeed hold different surnames. They have been told they can not travel without a letter from the father. So I am not sure this is a myth but I do agree, the law is unclear and very difficult to implement in the case where the father/mother may have passed away. It is there to protect against abduction which is a good thing, but of course, on the flipside, it can be a problem to genuine travellers.

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