It’s Cold Here in Yorkshire. Travel With the Kids? Take Paperwork!

Travel to the Sun? Make Sure You Have the Documentation.

So here we are again. In Yorkshire, in January. Lovely isn’t it? It’s cold, snow on the way, there is flooding all around – a good time for a holiday.

Perhaps a sensible time for me to bang the drum of warning for people who will be travelling with their children, or with other people’s children?

If you click on this link and read any of the first few blogs from last year you will be reminded of the issues.

When a child travels with one parent only, or else with an adult or adults who are not their parents then the situation – flight boarding, border crossing – is difficult to prepare for and it is getting worse.

Here is another link to a report which illustrates the difficulties people have recently found themselves in.

Whilst the Daily Mail article is something of a sob story seeking to present a family who were unable to travel to South Africa as being in some way random victims, the fact is that the rules appear to have been completely ignored and, surprise surprise, the result has been they have been unable to travel.

I suppose that, 20 years ago, few people would travel without consulting a Travel Agent. It is the business of Travel Agents to be aware of travel rules and to explain what precautions are needed. Today it is a very difficult time to be a Travel Agent – by and large travellers bypass the Agents and book flights direct with airlines.

I think that airlines which fly direct to South Africa would probably have warnings of the need for notarised consents published on websites but if the final flight to South Africa is booked from another country this is less likely.

Also, the cheaper the flight that is booked – the more “cut price” – the more the airline is likely to consider that meeting the travel requirements of various countries is your responsibility to meet and not theirs.

Whilst South Africa is far and away the most stringently difficult country to enter with a child travelling without both parents, most other countries and also airlines are catching up!

Over the Christmas break a Notary colleague of mine received a call from a friend of a family who were being refused boarding from Manchester airport because of the lack of an acceptable travel consent for the minor – the twist in this case is that the family had actually prepared such a consent but it was signed by a Solicitor – the airline quite properly was insisting that this should have been Notarised.

Unfortunately the call was received on a Sunday morning and the Notary was, not unreasonably, still in pyjamas and dressing gown having his breakfast and the call was made half an hour before closing of the flight gate.

Here is another link with regard to the South African situation.

As my blog last May set out, it would also be a mistake for parents to assume that there will be no problem even when both of them travel with their child. The difficulty in this case is of course that many a self-respecting child kidnapper [assuming that such a person would have self-respect?] is going to travel with an accomplice of the opposite sex in order to pretend to be the child’s parents together.

All genuine parents therefore would in my opinion be very well advised to carry with them sufficient documentation – at the very least a child’s Birth Certificate – to prove the relationship. Certainly if the document is also notarised you may expect to avoid being among the 600,000 plus travellers with children who are delayed at Border checks annually, sometimes refused travel altogether, often missing connecting flights and incurring huge expense.

And after that, happy holidays to you. Here’s a happy tune

Please do share this point with your colleagues and friends and spread the news, and Please do contact me whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation – at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

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