FAMILIES planning a holiday abroad with their kids this summer are being warned of a very simple passport mistake.
Anyone caught making the mistake faces being banned from travelling together.
Mum Eddi Fiegel found this out for herself after returning to the UK with her nine-year-old daughter Georgie after a trip to Disneyland Paris.
Despite having no issues leaving the country, the pair were stopped when trying to board their Eurostar train home.
She explained on the Telegraph: "On handing over our passports at the UK Border Force control booths before boarding the Eurostar, the officer looked us up and down before demanding 'And what is your relationship to each other?'"
He then asked for proof that she was her mum, such as a birth certificate, which Eddi didn't have.
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The issue came about as Eddi had a different surname on her passport to her daughter, due to not being married to her partner.
This is because it raises flags at the border due to child trafficking laws, under Section 55.
Eddi continued: "Georgie, sensing the escalating stress of the situation, began to cry.
"By this time I was almost shaking with anger, not only at being unable to protect my daughter, but at the prospect of being prevented from returning home, too."
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She said she thankfully managed to contact her partner who sent an image of his own passport showing his last name that was the same as her daughter's, which was enough to let them make their train with minutes to spare.
However, Eddi slammed the confusing rules, saying that many families are likely unaware of Section 55.
Similar problems can arise if parents are separated and travelling with a different surname to their child.
The government website currently states that parents should have copies of the following:
- birth or adoption certificate showing your relationship with the child OR
- divorce or marriage certificates if you are the parent but have a different surname to the child OR
- letter from the child’s parent/s giving you authority to travel with the child
Eddi said her advice was to make sure you have "all relevant documentation" when going abroad to avoid going through a similarly stressful experience.
Brits applying for their child's first passport may run into issues if they are a single parent.
If divorced, both couples must be named on the passport form, and if this is not possible then it must be explained why.
Here is how to apply for your child's passport.
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