Travelling With A Child Of A Different Surname: What You Need To Know

Travelling With A Child Of A Different Surname: What You Need To Know

I have three children and two of them have a different surname to myself. It wasn't until I went to book a holiday abroad for us all, that I discovered that taking your own children out of the UK can pose problems, if their name doesn't match yours.

No-one wants to miss flights or have their holiday ruined because of red tape at Passport Control, nor want the nightmare of not being able to return to the UK.

Whilst we appreciate that people are stopped and questioned when this situation arises for the right reasons, to prevent trafficking, it can still be nerve-racking and stressful.

In this day and age, many of us don't share the same surname as our children so, what can we do to stop any problems with Passport Control?

1. Carry a 'Letter of Consent' with you

That's right, a letter from the 'other' parent if applicable, to say that you can leave and re-enter the UK with your child. The letter should state the other parent's name, contact details and give reasons for why you're leaving the country. This letter has to be signed. You can find a 'Letter of Consent' template here.

2. Take your Child's/Children's Birth or Adoption Certificates

If you aren't in contact with the 'other' parent, or you would like to exercise your right to take your own Child on holiday without 'asking' your child's other biological parent, then this is what to do. It'll have you named on it and proves the two of you are linked.

3. Speak to the Airline you are flying with

If the Airline Operator is strict about the travel of Children with a different surname, then it's best to find out so you can satisfy their criteria for leaving the country or else you may encounter problems.

4. Take Marriage/Deed Poll Certificates

If you had your children before you got married and your surname is now different to that stated on their birth certificates, then you'll need to prove who you are. So, you'll need a Marriage or Deed Poll Certifcate to show that your name has changed along with their Birth Certifcates, as evidence of your relationship to the child or children.



Reply to
  • Victoria C.

    Ive never had a prob and take mine away often

    • Sammi B.

      I'm glad you posted this, I never would have thought of it!

      • Lesley M.

        I travelled to Toronto and New York last November and it wasn't till I was coming back via Dublin (as going) when I was asked if I had a birth certificate for my son as he has his dads name and he wasn't with us, was told to start carrying it when travelling !!! Not asked for it at anytime on journeys out !!

        • Frances R.

          I was just about to tag you in this lol

          • Lesley M.


          • Amber H.

            I take my son away with my fiancé who isn't his dad and we all have different names but all they ask s if he is my child and are happy with me saying yes. Never been asked to provide anything and we travel regularly.

            • DM W.

              Just becareful the law changed recently... and even though my son has the same surname and we are married they wanted our birth certificate... this was in October 2016.... all because his dad is South African and we queued in the EU passport control...:grimacing::grimacing:

            • Linzi E.

              I am constantly questioned with my daughter and now we have two children I will definitely be carry both birth certificates this year when I travel, totally understand why but the upset and distress they caused me and my two year old at the time when they tried to take her off me was awful in Dublin, luckily her dad was in the airport to meet us!

              • Suzanne J.

                I always get asked coming back into Dublin with my 6yr old daughter, she gets so annoyed now when they ask her who I am, she replies "are you stupid? she's me mam!!"

                • Frances R.

                  It was Dublin you had the issue in as well!

                  • Lesley M.

                    yip but just on return not outward !!!

                    • Suzanne J.

                      They are really cracking down on it in Dublin! I cracked at them the first time and said you didn't question me flying out and the woman was like how do I know you flew out of Dublin?

                      • Nikola P.

                        I had the same issues inward to Dublin with my son

                      • Leigh L.

                        why it will be so much easier to just get a new passport. Didn't know it was so strict xx

                        • Jake L.

                          Ive told you to get a new one! Not to just chance it!

                        • Nicola D.

                          I was asked to prove my child was mine at passport control arriving back in the UK, no one questioned me leaving with him.

                          • Tats N.

                            I travel with my daughter quite often, she has got her dads surname and I get asked for her birth certificate every single time. She is 7 now and we have been traveling for 7 years and i never go anywhere without her birth certificate.

                            • Jitka H.

                              I've always done the same, passports and birth cert ready at the immigration. They seem to be happy that I'm prepared without being asked :thumbsup_tone1::smile:

                              • Tats N.

                                Jitka Havlenova same here :ok_hand: they are always impressed when I hand over the passports with with birth certificate :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

                              • Lara B.

                                We went on 8 different flights in November and were only questioned once luckily. I just took her birth certificate and that was enough, didn't need a letter of consent (which is good as I completely forgot to ask him for it!)

                                • Genevieve S.

                                  I always take his birth certificate x

                                  • Gemma R.

                                    The person who signs the passport i.e., Teacher, social worker for you needs this info otherwise who can sign the passport!!! What is the point. So I understand asking but there signing on behalf of the government surely

                                    • Lucy F.

                                      All the child's passport proves is that they are in fact the person named on the passport. It doesn't prove they are related to you or any adult they may be travelling with.

                                      This is already a thing in America that if you travel with a child without the other parent you need a letter of consent from the absent parent stating you have permission to travel internationally with your child

                                      • Gemma R.

                                        Lucy Marie Faircloth right ok. Thanks Lucy

                                        • Gemma R.

                                          Lucy Marie Faircloth thank u.

                                        • Pamela M.

                                          And apparently if one parent takes he child/ren on holiday without the other parent, even with the same name, doesn't matter if married or not, you need a letter of consent from the other parent or you will be questioned and possibly accused of abduction.

                                          • Rowan D.

                                            Not true

                                            • Pamela M.

                                              Is very true. You may not have experienced this yet however the law has changed and there are New recommendations broad

                                            • Charlotte M.

                                              My Son has a different sure name to me. A few months ago we didn't get asked leaving this country but coming back my Son was questioned & I was asked to show proof he belonged to me. They are definitely tightening up which isn't a bad thing.

                                              • Lindsay D.

                                                In 15 years I've never been questioned once for any of my 3 who have a different surname to me.

                                                • Kayleigh F.

                                                  What if the father isn't on the birth certificate? Do I still need a letter of consent and bring birth certificate just incase,

                                                  • Shellie H.

                                                    No because your the only person with PR in that case

                                                    • Kayleigh F.

                                                      What about if the father dies? Do you take his death certificate? Sorry am travelling with a friend who is in that situation

                                                    • Emma T.

                                                      This carrying birth certificates doesn't make any sense. Anyone can obtain a copy of anyone's birth certificate.

                                                      • Ninja26

                                                        Yes anyone probably can, but they couldn't forge a passport so easily, it's more about having the birth certificates and passports together to match up. If you see what I mean :-) 

                                                      • Illenaitsab A.

                                                        I was questioned a few years ago when my dd and I travelled abroad. I was advised to carry her birth certificate on future trips

                                                        • Samantha E.

                                                          I have 3 children ....all have different birth surnames to me....for questioned in calais as we tried to board the boat....I was so shocked .... must have made me look guilty !!!

                                                          • Marie M.

                                                            been travelling for years with 2 kids who dont share my name .never been a problem

                                                            • Rebecca K.

                                                              I have flown lots with my daughter and it has never even been mentioned. I also have a different surname to my parents and we travelled the world when I was a child and it was never questioned!