The Home Office has issued new guidance to parents and others travelling with children this summer.

Anyone travelling with children under the age of 18 who is either not the child’s parent or appears not to be the parent because they have a different surname to the child will be asked to prove that they either are the child’s parent or have consent from the parents to take the child abroad.

The Home Office tweeted recently: “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.”

Parents, grandparents and others who are taking a child out of the UK, even if it’s just for a short break, are being advised to carry additional documentation in case their relationship to the child is questioned.  Documents such as birth or adoption certificates for the child, a parent’s divorce decree or marriage certificate (if their surname is different to the child’s), or a letter signed by the child’s parent(s) stating that you have their consent to take the child abroad and which includes contact details for the parent(s) would be accepted.

It is advisable to keep the documents to hand so they can be quickly passed to Border Force officials should you be required to do so.

Border Force officials may ask the adult travelling with the child some questions to establish the relationship between them and the child. The Home Office stresses that these additional checks do not affect the current right to freedom of movement for UK and other European Union citizens.

The law on taking a child out of the UK is set out in our Wiki page – Taking a Child Abroad.

If you have any questions about taking a child abroad, or if you believe your child may be removed from the UK without your consent, please contact Oratto today on 0845 388 3765 or email us in confidence at


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