If you’re travelling this year with children that have a different surname to you, please take note.
It is becoming increasingly common for passport control staff in airports to demand proof that you are the legal guardian.
This is not an internet scare story – it is frequently happening to mums and dads travelling through airports across the world, with social media and message boards full of comments from parents that have experienced the issue.
It’s also relevant to others – grandparents, family friends etc – that are taking children abroad.
Clearly the sensible idea behind this increased security is to prevent children being abducted.
What should you do?
First, you should contact the airline you are flying with in advance and:
1) Ask them if they have a specific procedure;
2) Ask them to record details of your situation before you fly.
Second, you should take along to the airport any legal document that provides evidence of your relation to the child or guardianship. If you are taking a child away who is not your own, you should have a consent letter from the parent/s signed in advance. Here is a template you can use: PDF download.
If you are separated or divorced and don’t have permission from your ex-partner (and can’t get it) you may need to investigate permission from the courts. This only applies if the ex-partner still has shared parental responsibility.