PSA: Travel Abroad With A Copy of Your Child’s Birth Certificate


Given that I am from London and all my family live there, I try to visit once a year from where I now live with my family in California. I have always gone through passport control with no problem, but this time we ran into a small issue upon our arrival to London. It only delayed us by about ten minutes, maybe less, but it could have been made into a bigger issue and I thought I would mention it incase it could happen to anyone else.

I chose not to take my husband’s last name, and my children do have my husband’s last name. So the passport control officer looked at their passports, looked at mine, and said “I see you’re all who you are in the photos, but I ask you madam, since the children have a different last name to you, what proof do you have that they’re your children?”

After a 10 hour flight with two kids under 5, I was pretty exhausted and just honestly answered “None. Except for the fact that you can hear them screaming ‘MAMA!’ at me every thirty seconds.” Hey, it was the truth! And he acknowledged that. After passing me to a supervisor, them asking me more questions and letting me know that I should always be traveling with a copy of their birth certificates, they let us leave.

On the one hand I was extremely grateful that the man I was dealing with was looking out for abducted kids, as he informed me. Only 3 weeks prior, I displayed my complete shock to a Delta flight salesperson at the law that a child under the age of 18 in U.S can travel without ANY documentation to prove who they are on a flight within the U.S. The salesperson said “But it’s only domestic flights.” I replied “Well, New York is six hours away from me, so someone could take my child on a flight to a state six hours away and no-one would ever know.” How is this even possible? How many families have been broken by this dreadful law? I dread to think.

The point is, if you are traveling with a child outside of the U.S.A or wherever you live, you may want to consider carrying a copy of your children’s birth certificates tucked safely with their passports. Just incase you also get questioned.

Have you ever been questioned when entering another country about your children? Leave us a comment and let us know!