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Single Parent Holidaying abroad - is permission needed from XP?

(25 Posts)
Bluepenny Sat 06-Oct-12 22:12:37

Hi all,

Planning holiday abroad for myself and DS next year.

Myself and XP were never married, though XP is named on the birth certificate. XP does not have Parental Responsibility as DS born before law change and has never applied for it. DS has same surname as me, not his fathers. DS also has his own passport (in the process of renewal). There is no residence order in place and XP, though a British citizen, now resides in Asia and relationship between DS and XP has broken down since he emigrated.

My understanding is that legally I do not need a letter of permission from XP to take son out of the country, however, I've read a few articles that state it would be wise to have such documentation and that some countries now insist on it before allowing entry, irrespective of the above facts.

Could someone advise what I should do here? It seems I don't legally need a permission letter, but it would be best if I did. Have I got that right?

Many thanks.

babybarrister Sat 06-Oct-12 22:22:18

Yes -exactly correct IMO

Collaborate Sat 06-Oct-12 23:07:23

If ex isn't cooperative you could try a letter from a solicitor addressed "to whom it may concern" confirming the law and your rights.

Bluepenny Sun 07-Oct-12 14:00:35

Thank you for your helpful replies.

I am thinking along the lines of asking XP to do an open consent form that is signed and legally witnessed - this could cover any country we go to then until DS is an adult (he is 12 now).

If XP disagrees, then I'll follow up Collaborate's advice and see our family solicitor locally.

I'll also contact the embassies concerned just to make sure everything is covered.

Many thanks.

NarcolepsyQueen Sun 07-Oct-12 14:08:22

In reality, we gave never been asked for anything when we go away. Ever. Just go!

TheAngelshavetheOod Sun 07-Oct-12 14:36:58

We were advised to take something with us when we went to the US as dds don't have my surname. No one stopped us but apparently more likely in the US

Bluepenny Sun 07-Oct-12 17:00:12

We've never been asked before either, but the countries I am looking at include the US and others further afield where the travel agents state that documentation is required for lone parents travelling.

I would prefer to go prepared than to take the risk. It's also becoming more wide-spread - the US seems to be following Canada's strict policy on this, judging by what I've read on travel forums and people's experiences.

If anyone is interested, I'll post up progress and response from the FCO who I have emailed for guidance too.

Bumply Sun 07-Oct-12 17:17:05

I've travelled to Canada with my sons who don't share my surname. No problem.
Only issue I ever had was travelling within uk where they made a fuss about id being required for the boys as well as myself in order to collect the tickets. Nearly didn't let us fly. Since then I've always taken their passports as id although using an out of date passport confused the hell out of them as well.

DizzyPurple Sun 07-Oct-12 17:33:42

As far as I know if he has no parental responsibility he cant do a lot. I've never had a problem with my dd in that position but we've only been to Europe.

avenueone Mon 08-Oct-12 20:27:52

If your DS has his own passport I am not sure how the customs people would know if you had a partner has PR or not? My DS has his own passport and we travel freely.

avenueone Mon 08-Oct-12 20:29:11

We have been to the US too.

Bluepenny Thu 11-Oct-12 21:26:34

Just to clarify a few points on this.

It's not about travelling out of the UK - in UK law I do not need XPs consent as XP does not have PR, etc. We would not have problems at Security at say Heathrow or Gatwick and would be able to board flights.

It is about other countries entry laws and if you look at Mexico and Canada, you must have consent from the other parent for the child to travel. I guess you may not get asked to show it at Border Control there, but if you do and you don't have it, they can refuse you entry. Even for a holiday - this is made clear on package holiday websites.

In the past, I would agree with all those that said just go, it's not a problem, never had an issue before. However, the more I read, the more I am seeing other countries starting to take the same stance - it is to reduce child abductions across countries and the stats show this has risen substantially in the last few years. Logically it therefore makes sense for countries to implement this type of rule, but is a nightmare where the absent parent isn't ameniable or even contactable.

I should add, this isn't just about single parents, this applies to any child not travelling with both parents. So you could be happily married, but say DF working and DM takes DCs on holiday - DF would still need to provide that consent letter.

In terms of where I've got to...well, perhaps as expected, XP has not responded to my request for a consent letter for DS. I shall give it until early next week and if no advance, I will probably go via solicitor to apply for a Specific Issue Order.

The FCO responded (though they state they are not legally trained) that a notarised letter from XP stating that he does not have PR for DS and therefore does not have any authority to provide consent, should also suffice.

avenueone Thu 11-Oct-12 22:08:48

ummm I am not sure about that - what if one parent was dead? it doesn't say anything on a passport that they are dead. I must have been on 20+ holidays to all kinds of places with my DS and there has NEVER even been a question asked regarding my XP.

Graciescotland Thu 11-Oct-12 22:14:23

The only place I've ever been asked is going into the Netherlands. Didn't have birth certificate/ marriage certificate. They made us wait for twenty minutes in a corridor and then sent us on our way...

Bluepenny Thu 11-Oct-12 22:32:07

avenueone - the advice there is to travel with the death certificate and child's birth certificate. Yes, honestly! This is all about what is happening now and going forward - not so much about in the past. DS and I have travelled abroad easily for the last 11 years and not taken any documentation and never been asked.

The Netherlands is somewhere we are planning on for a city break, and then US in the summer.

Have a gameplan now, so am sure will have documentation of some sort in time.

birthdaypanic Thu 11-Oct-12 22:35:08

I was also advised to have something in writing when going to US, haven't bothered and haven't been stopped in the last three years been to US twice and Menorca.

avenueone Thu 11-Oct-12 22:39:25

Just checked with a friend who went to the US three weeks ago with her DS, her husband sadly died two years ago, she didn't need a death certificate and/or birth certificate.

Bluepenny Thu 11-Oct-12 22:46:00

Yes, the USA Embassy in London says:

"My child, who is under the age of 18, is traveling to the U.S. and will be accompanied by only one parent/by an adult who is not his/her parent. Do I require the permission of the other parent/Am I required to give my permission for my child to travel?

Adults traveling in or out of the United States with children under the age of 18 should be aware that because of increasing incidents of child abductions in disputed custody cases and as possible victims of child pornography, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly recommends that unless the child is accompanied by both parents:

the adult have a note from the child's other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, or friends, a note signed by both parents) stating "I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter. He/She/They has my permission to do so." CBP also suggests that this note be notarized.
While CBP may not ask to see this documentation, if they do ask, and you do not have it, you may be detained until the circumstances of the child traveling without both parents can be fully assessed. If there is no second parent with legal claims to the child (deceased, sole custody, etc.) any other relevant paperwork, such as a court decision, birth certificate naming only one parent, death certificate, etc., would be useful."

So it's about risk for USA. Mexico and Canada are strict.

avenueone Fri 12-Oct-12 22:07:33

Unless it is going to be easy to get the paperwork - it would not be for me. Then I'd risk it but thanks for the post Bluepenny I will bear it in mind. I am hoping my good record of lots of trips and me returning each time would help now if I did get stopped. I have two long hauls coming up - if you see me on here in tears you can say - I told you so...

MyNeighbourIsHorrid Sat 13-Oct-12 11:35:49

Why not write your own fake permission? Who is going to know it is fake i.e. get a friend to sign using XP's name. Sorted

Bluepenny Sun 18-Nov-12 18:51:17

Ressurecting my thread as it seems XP's initial agreement to provide travel consent has come to nothing. I can only assume he's ignoring my email reminder requests.

So the question is, how do I get a legal document to take DS abroad? We can't go without some paperwork, this has already been confirmed by FCO and Embassy of countries we are going to.

Would I be able to get a sole residence order? Specific Issue Order? Never been through courts before for DS, as everything has been by agreement (or him controlling me is more like it, but not anymore).

XP doesn't have PR, has lived abroad since June, DS is 12 and won't respond to XPs emails/have anything to do with him.

Any advice gratefully received. Thanks.

floatyjosmum Sun 25-Nov-12 07:02:39

I'd take a copy of his birth certificate as this shows he doesn't have pr.

I went to the states in 2008 with ds - dad doesn't have pr and dd - dad does.
I took ds birth certificate and a letter from dd's dad with a copy of his passport.

However they didn't ask for this and me being me asked them why. Was told it was obvious we were there for a holiday - to Disney in California so they don't check.

Have to say I've only been asked once about dd and that was coming back into the uk as she has a different surname to me. They asked how we were all related and accepted I was mum without any paperwork. Exp had the same issue with ds as he has my surname at the same airport. Makes me so see why they dont question people more when hey are leaving the uk

prh47bridge Sun 25-Nov-12 08:45:57

I would also take a solicitor's letter as Collaborate suggested to confirm the law and your rights.

What if exh has PR but you don't know where he is??

cestlavielife Mon 26-Nov-12 16:14:26

i've been asked always on coming back to uk from france at uk passport control at ferry if they are my dc as have dad's surname not mine. they usually ask the dc too "is this your mum"?

then they apoliogise and say "we just need to check"
of course i could ahave abducted and forced them bu maybe they trained to look for signs of this??

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