My ex-partner has advised that she is applying for a passport for our daughter. Can I object to this?
The rules on parents consenting to passports for children vary depending on if your partner is applying for a United Kingdom or Irish passport.
United Kingdom passport:
An application for a passport for a child under 16 must be signed by a parent or by someone with parental responsibility. For a young person aged 16 or 17, parental consent to an application is only needed if required by a court order or if the young person has a mental disability.
An application for a first passport for a child or to replace a child’s passport that is lost or stolen must be countersigned.
An existing child passport can be renewed if your ex-partner still has their old passport and no change is needed to the child’s name.
Objections to issuing a passport to a child under 16
An objection can be made to the issue of a standard passport to a child under 16. Unless an objection has been lodged, a passport will be issued if an application is made by either parent, provided they have parental responsibility, or by anyone else who has parental responsibility.
A parent or a guardian can object to the issue of a passport to the child if:-
You have a court order which confirms that the child’s removal from the country is contrary to the wishes of the court; or
You have a residence order in your favour; or
You have a court order specifying that your consent to the child leaving the country is necessary; or
You have a court order supporting your objections to the child having a passport or leaving the country; or
a court has made a prohibited steps order preventing the child’s removal from the United Kingdom.
If you wish to make an objection this should be made in writing, giving the full name, place and date of birth of the child(ren) concerned. The full name, place and date of birth of the parent against whom the objection is being lodged should also be given. The letter should be accompanied by the relevant court order, where appropriate, and this will be returned after being noted.
The objection can be made to any passport office. It may be quicker to lodge the objection in person. If that is not possible, and the matter is urgent, a telephone or fax request will be accepted. The objection will be logged on a computer and should take effect almost straight away. The passport office will inform all other passport offices.
If the child’s passport is with the other parent who has parental responsibility Her Majesty’s Passport Office cannot compel that person to surrender the passport. In these circumstances if you fear that your child could be abducted by the other parent you should seek legal advice since it may be necessary to obtain a court order to require the other parent to surrender the passport.
If you are or were married to the other parent of your child, or if you are a joint guardian of the child, both parents/guardians must sign the parental consent section of the passport application form. If you are not in touch with your child’s other parent/guardian, or if you refuse to give consent your ex-partner can apply to the District Court for a court order, which will allow the Passport Office to issue the passport without that consent.
If the birth was jointly registered by both parents in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, you could have joint guardianship even if you never married. If the birth was not jointly registered your partner may have to provide anaffidavit (AFF 1) stating that she is the sole guardian. This should be completed in the presence of a solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths.
For further advice get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice at www.citizensadvice.co.uk or for further information go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk.nireland