FAMILIES planning on travelling abroad with their kids this summer should be aware of a little-known passport rule that could leave you in hot water if not followed.
The rule is applicable to parents travelling with children who have a different surname to their own.
Some parents in this position have already found themselves being questioned to ensure they’re actually the parent of the child who’s travelling.
In some cases, parents might need to prove that they’re allowed to travel abroad with their child, requiring documents like birth certificates to prove relationships.
So you might need to pack some extras on your next trip if it applies to you.
Anyone caught making the mistake of not bringing the appropriate documents faces being banned from travelling together.
It can happen at both airports and international train terminals. But why?
It’s all to do with protecting against child trafficking and child abduction.
Two passports of people from the same family showing different surnames raise flags at border control under Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009.
While an important cause, it can leave parents – especially mums, who are more likely than dads to not share a surname with their child – feeling pretty unnerved when pulled aside at border control to be interrogated about their travels with their child.
Mum Eddi Fiegel found this out for herself after returning to the UK with her nine-year-old daughter Georgie after a recent trip to Disneyland Paris.
Despite having no issues leaving the country, the pair were stopped when trying to board their Eurostar train home.
She explained in the Telegraph: “On handing over our passports at the UK Border Force control booths before boarding the Eurostar, the officer looked us up and down before demanding ‘And what is your relationship to each other?'”
He then asked for proof that she was her mum, such as a birth certificate, which Eddi didn’t have.
Mum of two, Catherine Lofthouse, thinks it’s ‘ridiculous’ in this day and age that any parent can be stopped because their child might have a different surname.
‘Why should parents who do have the same surname have less scrutiny?’ she wrote in the Sun Online.
‘If there’s an issue with child safety, there should be a blanket rule that applies to all adults, regardless of whether your surname matches that of the child.’
‘I can think of loads of families who might be disadvantaged otherwise.
‘What if you’re taking your foster child away for their first trip abroad? What if you’re in a blended family and not everyone has the same surname?’