Passports: Children

Home Office written question – answered on 11th March 2020.

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Photo of Alberto Costa Alberto Costa Conservative, South Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department has taken to help prevent mothers from being stopped at border control on entry to the UK as a result of having a different surname recorded in their passport to the surnames of their accompanying children.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Border Force officers have an obligation under Section 55 of the Borders Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 to carry out their core function with due regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the UK. This includes being satisfied a child crossing the border is not accompanied by someone who poses a threat to them.

At the primary control point, Border Force officers are the first point of contact with UK authorities for many vulnerable children and adults as well as the criminals who traffic them. Where there are concerns, Border Force officers will seek to establish the relationship between children and accompanying adults before allowing them to proceed.

Border Force officers will therefore make relevant enquiries where there are concerns as to an arriving child’s welfare or safety. However, Border Force officers have been instructed that in the absence of any cause for concern, they should not routinely pose questions to an adult who is travelling with a child simply because they have different surnames.

There is also a leaflet which explains the reason an individual may be questioned at the primary checkpoint when travelling with a child, and Border Force’s legal obligations to keep children safe. The information in the leaflet is found on the GOV.UK website and it is also provided by way of the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-travelling-to-the-uk

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