Parents left ‘humiliated’ by ‘over-zealous’ border staff questioning children’s surnames

Posted On: 
2nd December 2017

Border staff are being “over-zealous” in their questioning of parents travelling with children who do not share their surname, a Labour MP has said.

Tulip Siddiq urged border staff to be less zealous when quizzing parents with different surnames to their children.
PA images

Tulip Siddiq warned the situation at the UK border could become “quite tense” when parents travelling with children who have a different surname to them.

She urged politicians to use Brexit as an opportunity to smooth out existing problems with passports.

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In a speech in the House of Commons, Ms Siddiq recalled how distressed her own child had become when a border official was unconvinced they were related on returning to the UK.

Returning on the Eurostar with her daughter in a pram, Ms Siddiq said she was asked for more and more documentation by border staff as they questioned her over her relationship with the child.

"To my shock, the situation became quite tense. The official kept asking me for more and more documentation which I did not have and I explained over and over again that the child had my husband's last name, not my last name.

"My daughter was saying 'mama, mama' and crying because the unfortunate incident took so long, but even that didn't seem to convince the border official.

She said it was not only women travelling with their children but foster parents and "numerous LGBT couples" travelling with adopted children who had contacted her having been "questioned mercilessly" at borders.

She added: "These stories are the tip of the iceberg. Children's passports were introduced in the 1990s and list the child's name, and date and place of birth only.

“It is high time that they were updated to reflect the changing circumstances of British families."

The Home Office officially urges single parents to take a marriage or divorce certificate with them alongside their passports when travelling with children who do not share their surname.