A few years back I took my son on a day trip to France.  I have a different surname to him and his father and I separated some years back.  When we arrived at the French port for the journey home we were stopped by Border Force.  They asked my son if I was his mother and then asked me for proof of this.  Well, it turns out that stretch marks and premature greying hair aren’t sufficient proof, who would have thought it.  I then went on to receive a telling off like a naughty school girl and told to make sure that next time I travel with him I have proof that he is indeed my son, i.e. his birth certificate.  I had no prior knowledge of this requirement and since speaking with others like me, I am not alone.

After that we went to Turkey for a family wedding.  This time I was well prepared.  I had a letter of consent from his father and a certified copy of his birth certificate.  We didn’t need any of it until we arrived back in the UK where we were questioned as before but they didn’t ask to see any proof this time.

Since then my step daughter has been abroad with her grandparents and I made sure that they took with them a letter of consent from both her parents, even though they share the same surname.  Likewise when she goes away with her mother she takes a letter of consent signed by her father.

Some people tell me that they have never been stopped before but I think it’s important that people know that it can happen and it is better to be safe than sorry.

It is wise to speak to the airline you are flying with to seek advice and to check for any special requirements of specific countries.

I literally stumbled across this and don’t feel that it has been advertised enough so for further guidance please see the following links.

https://www.gov.uk/permission-take-child-abroad

http://ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/