Passport control when a child’s last name is different from a parent

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

An interesting story:

Siddiq was returning from a family holiday in France with her husband, Chris Percy, and their 18-month-old daughter, Azalea, when she was separated from Percy and permitted to go through the fast-track queue to board the Eurostar with her pushchair.

Though she exited French border control without any issue, Siddiq was stopped at the UK border immediately before boarding the train.

“My daughter looks quite different to me, she looks like her dad,” she said. “At the UK border the man looked at my passport for a long time and my daughter’s passport and he said: ‘Who is this girl?’

“I was really surprised by the question, and he repeated it, and I said: ‘This is my daughter,’ and he asked why we don’t have the same name. He also asked for my marriage certificate and my birth certificate.

“There was a lot of discussion, and other asks for documents. I went back and the whole thing was very tense, my daughter was crying and saying ‘mama, mama’ but that didn’t seem to be what would convince him.”

Siddiq said the delay for people in the queue behind and the tone of the questioning had left her feeling uncomfortable. “It wasn’t exactly hostile but there was a real air of suspicion, I was made to feel like I had done something wrong,” she said. “And they said I could leave my child with them when I went to look for my husband.”

The MP said the current procedure made women feel vulnerable and also caused delays for travellers as well as an extra burden for border agents, which could be eliminated by writing the parents’ names in a child’s passport, a change of the regulations that would not require legislation.

“It would make life easier for border agents and it would mean parents didn’t feel under suspicion at the border gates,” she said. “I don’t want my daughter to have to go through that kind of questioning as she grows older because it won’t happen with her father, only with me. I don’t think it’s a good message to send to young women.

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