Travel with children of different surnames
If you are planning to travel abroad this summer and you have a different surname to your child or a child travelling with you, then you might encounter difficulties at border controls which could cause delay or at worse mean you miss your trip.
It is important to remember that if there is no court order in place, consent to travel abroad is required from everyone with parental responsibility.
The most common way to deal with this is to obtain a travel consent letter which shows the child has the permission of the other parent or both parents if neither parent are travelling with them. The letter should have as much detail as possible, particularly the travel details so it is clear that full information has been provided and therefore informed consent given. That letter may need to be witnessed by a legal Notary, depending on where you are travelling to so you should always check official advice before you travel and allow plenty of time to obtain the document.
If you are flying you should also check with the airline or ask your travel agent for advice. If the child is not a British Citizen then you should also check the requirements of the country you are travelling to in case there are additional visa requirements.
If the other parent refuses their written permission, it might be necessary to go to court to obtain permission
The court will always put the welfare needs of the child first but they will also consider the reasons and intentions behind the trip, the effect this will have on the other parent and the child and what opportunities there will be for maintaining contact between them in the future, especially if it is for a longer than average holiday. Since Brexit there may be issues regarding residency and the enforceability of Court orders in EU countries and specialist advice should be sought.
It can take a number of months for an application to the court to be heard and it can be an expensive process for the person trying to initiate the trip. It is therefore always better if an agreement can be reached without having to go to court and mediation can help.
Other issues can arise when applying for a first passport for a child as if separated or divorced, both parents need to be named on the passport form and an explanation given if this isn’t possible. Given the delays being experienced in general with applying for UK passports, it is advised to apply as far in advance as you can.
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