How To Stop Someone Getting A UK Passport

There are tens of thousands of people that apply for first time and the renewal of children's and vulnerable adult's passports every year, and for most this is perfectly acceptable and agreeable with all parties involved and go on to travel and holiday all over the world.

However, there is another side to obtaining a UK passport. For parents and carers who have genuine concerns about a child or vulnerable adult travelling or being forcibly taken abroad, the idea of them having a valid passport to travel on, can strike fear and panic into them. The worries of where they are going and when or even if they are coming back can be unbearable. There are many reasons why a parent or carer might want to stop someone getting a passport and we are going to look at the best way to keep your children and loved ones safe.


Why Would You Stop A Passport?

There can be many reasons why someone would want to stop a passport being issued however this is often an emotional subject with the welfare of children and vulnerable people at stake. The two main reasons why people feel they need to stop someone getting a passport are;

• You think your child may be abducted and taken overseas by their other parent (or someone who has parental responsibility).

• A relative is vulnerable (eg has a mental disability) and you don't think it would be safe for them to have a passport


If you are concerned about these issues it is important to contact your local police and social services. They will be able to give your more information and support on this matter.



Who Can Apply For A Child Or Vulnerable Adults Passport?

To understand how to stop someone getting a passport, it is important that you understand who has the right to apply for one in the first place. A term often used is 'parental responsibility or PR' there are several ways that you either have or can obtain this for a child:

• A biological birth mother automatically has PR

• If you are or were married to the father of your child at the time of the birth, or marry your child's biological father after the birth he will automatically have PR for your child. It is presumed in law that if you are married at the time of your child's birth your child is the biological child of your husband.

• If you are not married to the father of your child and your child was born before 1st December 2003 he does not automatically have PR for your child. He can gain PR as set out below.

If you are not married to the father of your child and your child was born on or after 1st December 2003 and the father is named on the birth certificate he will automatically have PR for your child.

• If the child was conceived by artificial insemination on or after 6 April 2009 and you were in a civil partnership your civil partner will automatically have parental responsibility for the child. Similarly, if you were married to your same-sex spouse and the child was conceived by artificial insemination your spouse will automatically have parental responsibility for the child. Both names should be added to the birth certificate and your child will have no legal father.


There are several ways to obtain PR, you could enter into a PR agreement with the mother of the child, applying to the courts for a PR agreement or marrying the mother of the child.

If you have PR and you have obtained a passport for you child you are well within your rights to take your child abroad for a maximum of 28days with no one else's permission. However, if you would like to take your child for longer than 28days or on a permanent basis you must obtain permission from everybody with PR. Without this you are legally committing child abduction.

The courts can also help establish PR for same-sex couples, grandparents, step parents and in situations where there is no one else with PR. For this we recommend you seek legal advice to get the most reliable and up to date advice.


Who Do I Contact If I'm Concerned?

If you are concerned about a vulnerable adult with mental disabilities or a child you should first contact your local social services, you can find their details at your local council office or on the website. Secondly, if you have immediate concerns over a vulnerable adult or child being taken out of the country contact your local police who can assist you further. And lastly, if you have concerns that someone is going to apply for a passport for a vulnerable adult or child you can contact The Passport Office on 0300 222 0000 to lodge an objection, anyone with genuine concerns can do this.

If a passport has already been issued Her Majesty's Passport Office recommends that you do not cancel the passport while the child or vulnerable person is out of the country it can make it extremely hard to get them returned home.

There are procedures in place to ensure peoples safety and any and all genuine concerns will be heard and appropriate action will be taken. However, please be aware that these procedures are not there to settle squabbles and disagreements with parents or carers over who's taking the children on holiday this year. These are in place to safe guard are most vulnerable members of our community.

Communication can ultimately go along way to resolving many issues surrounding travel regarding these vulnerable and young people, and if the situation allows then this should always be your first port of call. Although we are aware that is isn't always that simple, there is help and advice out there for you.

Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 8am-8pm


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Passports Office provides relevant information about new passports, renewing an existing passport, and the contact details of key UK passport offices.

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