What happens at border crossings if your children don’t share your name.

The Guardian’s The Women’s Blog reports that over the last five years, an estimated 600 000 women have been stopped at border control because they were travelling under a different name from their children. This could be because they had divorced the children’s fathers, and had to revert to their previous surname, or because they had never changed their name in the first place but the children had taken their father’s name.

One of the women mentioned in the article, Helen Perry, who was stopped at the UK border in 2010 while travelling with her children, has launched the Parental Passport Campaign, asking for the optional addition of parents’ or guardians’ names on a child’s passport.

The article doesn’t mention fathers, but one can only assume that a man travelling alone with a child who does not share his name might also attract a certain amount of suspicion!

Until this is resolved I am keeping copies of their birth certificates in my children’s passports!



2 thoughts on “What happens at border crossings if your children don’t share your name.

  1. As the UK doesn’t have exit controls, this can only concern incoming passengers. (That’s also why this policy doesn’t prevent any child abductions from the UK.)

    If they have British passports, nobody can stop them from entering the country [except suspicion of terrorism which is unlikely in the case of infants], whether the children are with their mom, their dad or alone.

    So these folks could just walk through the border individually. Or if the parent is cool, he/she could reply “OK, I’ll go ahead then. You deal with the children here.” The Border Agency would soon stop asking silly questions.

  2. My experience of border agencies, or airport officials generally, is that they’re not often impressed by anything, and quite happy to stall you even when you are with an autistic toddler who is in the midst of a meltdown caused by their stalling. But also, some families have multiple nationalities are well as multiple surnames, and I’ve often had to cross the border with my English passport carrying daughter whose surname is different from mine, and my husband with our French national son who has my name.

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