How to get through Dutch customs easier as a solo traveling parent!

When you’re traveling alone with your child there are many things you come across if you want to go through Dutch customs without any trouble.

Every time it’s a question whether they let me go through easy or not. Dutch customs is very afraid for kidnapping children by their own parents. In this blog I give you some advice to travel well prepared.

The first time I traveled with Noah through customs I thought I was prepared well enough. Noah’s got my family name, Geraint, my partner was registered officially as his father but we did not arrange custody officially as a mother obtains legal custody over a minor by default. We thought this would make travel easier….🤣

Arriving at customs it was not as simple as this. They find it very special and suspicious traveling alone with a child. They always ask me where Noah’s father is. A simple answer that we’re traveling to his father or coming from Wales is not enough. I at least have to proof that I am the mother and that is not written in your passport.

A friend who used to work at customs helped me out with some advice.

First I called the civil court to get a legal extract of the custody register. This expires every three months, so you need to request it again and again and….

Only this extract is not enough because it doesn’t prove I’m the mother. The next time I traveled I also brought the acknowledgement of parenthood.

This also confused them because we are both on it as parents. Because Geraint was still not there I needed to bring a completed authorisation form for traveling abroad with a minor.

This form was actually the reason that we did not complete the custody request yet. Because we travel so often we have to complete new form every time and if you travel with this form you also need all kinds of additional proofs.

By now I am thinking to complete the form digitally. Print it out 20 times and fill in date and signature in by hand. So i never have to complete the form over and over again.I ask Geraint to sign all the forms in advance so I’m not in trouble.

Until now they’ve always let us through. It took some time and patience though. The best thing to do is: smile a lot and stay relaxed and calm.

If you travel in between the Schengen counties, you don’t have a problem at all because you don’t have passport control then. If you travel outside of Schengen, for example to the United Kingdom you need to be prepared.

Don’t forget:

⁃ Of course your child needs a valid travel document

⁃ Ask the civil court for a legal extract of the custody register. This is free and will be sent to your home address.

⁃ Bring a legal extract from the personal records database relating to the minor (this can be done at the city hall in every city, The Hague even does it online)

⁃ Complete the authorisation form for traveling abroad with a minor.

⁃ Always carry a copy of your partners passport.

⁃ When you are divorced and you’re traveling with your new partner and your child or your partner passed away you could also get unexpected surprises at customs. On the website against international child abduction you can follow the steps to find out what is necessary for you to bring when traveling abroad with your child.

Hopefully these tips will help you along the way!

Have a good journey!

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