Travel advice: Families with different surnames could face immigration issues

Autumn break is a prime time for travellers around the world, and the UK is likely to see an increase in tourism over this period. While it’s common knowledge that travellers must carry their passport, it turns out this may not be enough in some cases. This is particularly true if parents don’t share the same surname as their child. The policy, which tourists were reminded of last year, remains in place and could catch some unaware travellers out during the busy holiday period.

This is only relevant to international travellers

Home Office spokesperson

The policy is with regards to passing through the UK border.

However, Britons coming in and out of the UK need not worry. Speaking to a Home Office spokesperson explained: “This is only relevant to international travellers.”

With school holidays peak times for airport travel, the government website warns: “We expect to see an increase in the number of travellers entering the UK border.”

Therefore it is wise for international visitors to stay up to date on information that could catch them out.

One thing parents may not realise is that travelling with a child who does not share their surname could result in more extensive questioning at the UK border and even the requirement of additional documents.

The website offers advice for parents travelling with children under 18.

It states: “If you are travelling with a child (under 18) and are not the child’s parent or may appear not to be the parent (for example, if you have a different family name), we may ask you a few questions to establish your relationship with the child.

“We do not wish to delay your journey any longer than necessary and it may help if you carry evidence of your relationship with the child and/or the reason why you are travelling with the child.”

Acceptable documents that may be of use to a border control officer include a birth or adoption certificate or a divorce or marriage certificate.

Additionally, passengers who are not the parent of the accompanying minor should have a letter from the child’s parent.

The government posted a tweet last August during the busy summer holiday period to remind parents and guardians of this rule.

A tweet from the Home Office reminded travellers: “If your family has different surnames, please bring birth or adoption certificates to help get through passport control quicker.

“We have a duty to safeguard children and to prevent people trafficking, child sexual exploitation and other crimes. That is why Border Force officers sometimes need to ask additional questions.”

Although the advice is aimed at foreign nationals entering the UK, Britons have been issued their own travel updates ahead of the half-term holiday.

With the Brexit deadline fast approaching holidaymakers have been advised to stay up-to-date on political happenings and relevant news.

A spokesperson from the Foreign Office said: “If the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, visiting the EU will change.”

There are four main areas that will be affected in the event of a no-deal withdrawal.

“Check your passport, get travel insurance which covers your healthcare, check you have the right driving documents and organise pet travel,” advised the FCO spokesperson.

According to the FCO website, when travelling to Europe holidaymakers must ensure their passport has at least 6 months less and is less than 10 years old.

Failure to follow these guidelines may mean travellers are refused entry to their destination.

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