main banner


What Documents Do I Need To Travel With Children?

There are certain stresses involved with travelling, so it’s important to be as prepared as possible so you can get in and out of the airport quickly.

Since October 2004 all children, regardless of age, must obtain an individual Irish passport in their own name. But if your surname is different from that of your child, what preparations do you need to make before travelling? We had a great Mom’s Query asking about this:

"Hi moms, my son has nothing to do with his dad anymore but his name is on his birth certificate and he has his dad’s last name. Am I going to have any problems taking him on holidays? His dad signed for his passport but we have since had nothing to do with him. We were never married or co-habiting and he doesn’t have guardianship. Thanks."

Birth Certificate

Tracey: "Bring a copy of the child's birth cert to prove you are the mam. It's only passport control getting back into the country that queries my name being different to my child's."

Irene: "You'd want to bring his birth cert with you when you travel. Very annoying to be asked who you are and why you're with your own child because you didn't put both names on the passport. I won't make that mistake again."

Rachel: "I was just told coming back into Ireland two weeks ago to bring copy of birth certificates in future."

Official Advice: When a minor (Under the age of 18) is accompanied by an adult with a different surname, or by a person who is not his/her parent, the immigration officer may seek to determine the relationship between the minor and accompanying adult. It’s important to note that where a child is travelling with one parent only, an immigration officer may also seek evidence of consent from the child’s other parent.

It can help if you have the following documentation:
  • A letter from the child’s parent(s)/guardian giving consent for travel with you and providing his/her contact details.
  • An original or copy of a birth or adoption certificate showing your relationship with the child.
  • Marriage / Divorce Certificate if you are the child’s parent but have a different surname to the child.
  • A death certificate in the case of a deceased parent.

Read Next: 8 Tips For Travelling Safely With Children

Long Term Precautions

Isabelle: "Get an affidavit to state that you are sole guardian and it should be okay. There is a group One Parent Support Group Ireland who would have people in the same predicament if you want to ask there … You can go to any solicitor to get an affidavit and it usually costs €10-20."

Linda: "You need to bring birth cert: It's okay leaving the country, but they ask on the way back even its only as far as England. You can get the surname changed on a passport only with two years of proof from school or clubs that your child is commonly known as your surname: You can’t get double-barrel even without the proof. Had to do it all last year but the passport office were fantastic with information."

Rebecca: "You can get an affidavit from a solicitor's office to state that you are the sole guardian. Bring photo ID of yourself and your child’s birth cert with you when you are going to the solicitors."

Sarah: "You can get an MR10 form from Garda station and get a solicitor to sign it. Bring birth certs and photo ID with you. This is what I did and never had an issue getting a passport for my son."

Official Advice: When renewing your child’s passport, the application must be accompanied by the child's old passport, and birth certificate. If you are or were married to the other parent of your child, and the other parent is still alive, or if you are a joint guardian of the child, both parents/guardians must sign the passport application form. If you’re not in touch with your child's other parent/guardian, or if they refuse to give consent, you can apply to the District Court for a court order, which will allow the Passport Office to issue the passport without that consent.

If you are the sole guardian, you have to provide an up-to-date affidavit (AFF 1) signed by a solicitor, stating that you are the sole guardian each time you apply to renew your child's passport.

Read Next: What To Do When Things Go Wrong At The Airport

Don’t Panic

Lynda: "I didn’t think there would be any questions asked. My Irish dad travelled alone with my spanish niece and nephew last summer and no one asked for any letter from their parents. I’m travelling alone with my kids in a few weeks and my passport still has my maiden name which is different to what is on the kids passports and I’m not planning on bringing any documents apart from our passports. I’m sure once the child has a passport (signed for by both parents) and there is nothing to "flag" him/her as kidnapped there is no issues."

Susan: "I've travelled with my two children over the past few years. Kids have my ex's surname, different to my own. I've been asked for a copy of their birth cert twice, but never anything else. My own dad flew with them alone to Amsterdam when they were very small and he was never asked to produce any documentation other than a passport."

Read Next: 6 Tips For Travelling With Preschoolers

Why does this happen anyway?

These checks are in place to protect vulnerable children and those who may potentially be trafficked into/out of the State. Carrying relevant documentation to demonstrate your circumstances may not be a legal necessity, but it helps to ensure you can get through immigration control as easily as possible!

Please note: Every country has its own requirements for children travelling without their parent(s), so it’s always best to check before travelling. For more information, go to

About the Author

eumom team 


Please login to leave a comment.