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This is a question First World Problems

Onemunki says: We live in a world of genuine tragedy, starvation and terror. So, after hearing stories of cruise line passengers complaining at the air conditioning breaking down, what stories of sheer single-minded self-pity get your goat?

(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 12:00)
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Children's passports
My children have my surname, their mother has a different surname. With alarming frequency she is harassed at Passport Control when travelling with them as she "cannot prove that she is their mother and cannot prove she has permission to travel with the children".

Various Immigration Officers have suggested that she travels either with copies of their Birth Certificates – which do not show parents' names, are "not to be used for identification purposes", and can be obtained by anyone willing to pay the relevant fee – or with a letter from me giving my permission for her to travel with them – trivial to forge. This is to "help prevent child abduction". Neither suggestion takes into account the possibility of a child being abducted by someone with the same surname.

BUT this only ever happens when she is returning with them to the UK, never on departure. It's hardly abduction if she's bringing them back, is it?

If children under a certain age are not allowed to travel without the permission of their parent(s) or guardian(s) then why are those details not in their passports?

This used to annoy my sister so much that she got passports for her children in her husband's nationality.
(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 12:08, 11 replies)
That must be
the quickest repost ever
(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 12:15, closed)
My real problem
was feeling miffed at posting a reply to last week's QotW just before it closed.
(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 12:19, closed)
My birth certificate
shows my parents names.
(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 12:37, closed)
That may well be
what is sometimes called the long form birth certificate, "Certified Copy of an Entry Pursuant to the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953".

The document entitled "Certificate of Birth" only has details of name and date and place of birth.
(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 13:34, closed)
I've looked at it any you are correct. It's a certified copy.
(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 16:40, closed)
And a certified copy is just as acceptable as the original for ID purposes.
/dealing with too many documents blog
(, Fri 2 Mar 2012, 1:25, closed)
The other possible solutions:
1. Mum changes her surname to match yours.
2. You changed yours and your kids' to match hers.
3. Passport control stop behaving like idiots. Do you get this at more than one point of entry, or is it just one port/airport?
(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 13:07, closed)
It has happened
at every London airport.

1&2 - shouldn't have to do this, plus does not resolve the issue that the Immigration Officers *claim* to be tackling.

In fact, we've decided to follow my sister's example and have applied for dual nationality for the kids. Their new passports will have their parents' details in them.
(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 13:28, closed)
We've been stopped at a number of international airports
in Canada and the US because my stepson's surname is different to mine and we might have abducted the five foot five rugby playing teenager and brought him along with our seven year old! Mrs no.5 being a well versed lawyer dealing amongst other things with prevention of international travel for children during nasty custody disputes et al has to bite her lip not to tell them how much twaddle they speak as to what constitutes valid permission/requirements etc. She says it is best to nod politely take along the aforementioned 'easy to forge but for god's sake don't forge it' letter from (in this case) his father and act dumb.
(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 14:20, closed)

(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 17:17, closed)
It's the law

Since Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship & Immigration Act 2009 - which specifically relates to the welfare and protection of minors - Immigration Officers are obliged to ensure that any minor arriving in the UK is either travelling with their own parents (or legal guardians) - or that there are appropriate travel arrangements in place for them if they are unaccompanied.

Yes, it's quite common for children to be born to parents who do not share the same surname - and yes, it's also common for them to travel solely with the parent whose name they do not share. Therefore we realise that in 99.9% of cases, the accompanying adult IS indeed the parent, and that there is no problem. However we still have to ask.

The point about carrying a birth certificate is a good one - even if it's just a photocopy. The full birth certificate does give both parents' names, therefore it provides a documentary link between the child and the parent. Without this documentary evidence, then it is always possible that the accompanying adult could be.. err... LYING when they say that they are the true parent.

Granted it's unlikely - but it's still not completely impossible. That's why a copy of the birth certificate is best, in order to avoid any hassle.

If the children are old enough to speak, and not too shy to communicate with other adults, then the Immigration Officer may ask the children directly to confirm their name and identify the parents. Otherwise, it becomes slightly tricky. And remember - all this time, the immigration queue is waiting, full of people who just want to get their luggage and go home.

The point about it being "hardly abduction if she's bringing them back" is incorrect: not everyone lives in the country of their nationality. You may be a British citizen living abroad, and abducting a child into the UK. Or maybe you do indeed live in the UK, but you have abducted them to live elsewhere in the UK, and you're simply returning from a foreign trip. The possibilities are endless.

So instead of complaining about UKBA officials for simply doing their job as instructed by the law, you should be thankful that the minor inconvenience of being advised to carry a birth certificate, to the 99.9% who have done nothing wrong, may well be protecting the interest of the tiny minority of children who HAVE indeed been taken without their parents' permission.
(, Fri 2 Mar 2012, 14:47, closed)

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