Kids leaving France without a parent

are they holding british or french passports or id card?

I used to have to ask for an 'autorisation de sortie de territoire' from the mairie to allow me to take my boys on holiday to the UK after I got divorced. Their father had to sign it too and provide id. This was with French id though.

oh la la.... aye aye aye.. as they would say here :-)

What a story and thanks Beckie for sharing it with me.. I'm glad I asked on here.. at least I have time to organise and find out about all this (the trip is in Aug !).... I will try and cover every angle !

Thanks everyone

I had a big problem with this and I would advise you to phone up the passport people in the UK.

My daughter was promised a cruise trip with Dad if she did well at school. She got the grades we wanted and the trip was planned. I went to get a new passport for her as she only had her French ID card and I asked them there if she needed anything else ie official letter etc. The said no as it was the new passport with fingerprints etc that was all she needed.

The brilliant plan was Dad flies over Monday night, picks up Sam & takes her to England on the Tuesday and onto the cruise ship Friday morning. The day Dad was flying over I noticed there were strikes (I know "vie la France") and his flight to take Sam back in the afternoon was canceled. My Aunt managed to change the flight to a morning one, which meant I would hardly see my Dad but at least they could go.

So Dad flies over late at night & we get up at some horrible hour in the morning (having checked the flight wasn't cancelled) and off we go to the airport. Get to the airport, guess what - flight cancelled! We manage to get a flight for Thursday night and poor told Sam was getting worried by now as the cruise ship was leaving on Friday and I told her she had did what I wanted and got the grades and if ever the flight was cancelled I would hire a car and drive them both up!

Thursday night arrives, I take them to the airport, flight was leaving late as usual but by that time I really didn't care! I drove all the way back home and was going to call my sister and say they were finally coming but there was a little voice in my head that said wait don't make any phone calls yet, luckily I have learned to listen to this little voice......

The phone rings and it was my Dad & all he said (in a very irate voice) was I've got to pass you someone. I picked up the phone and it was passport control! I won't write down here all the words that were going through my head, but lets just say when I start swearing in a mixture of French and English it's not pretty!

Anyway this woman starts saying that my daughter isn't allowed into the country with my Dad because of child smuggling cases etc and I would have to come and get her! Luckily I kept my calm and after about 20 minutes I managed to convince her I was the Mother and she was allowed to go with my Dad etc.

The thing that really p***ed me off about the whole thing though was I asked the woman at passport control what I should have done to avoid this and she told me I should have personally written a letter saying that my daughter was allowed to travel with my Dad. Now I am naturally against child smuggling etc but how would she have known it was me that wrote the letter, if you are a child smuggler one would assume you would know about the "famous letter" if someone had told my Dad that on the airplane he could have written it himself and she wouldn't have known any different?! I didn't say that to the woman as I didn't want to push my luck!

After this very long winded story, my advice to you would be to call the passport office in England, as I said in France they told me she didn't need anything. Regarding the letter from the town hall asking for permission to leave the area, they said that they weren't allowed to do the letter for passports it was only for children who had ID cards so I think it really is worth checking up.

My younger daughter was left with family in Switzerland last summer. Her aunt brought her back. With being in the Schengen area, it would have been no problem to bring her by car as planned but brother-in-law suddenly had business with lots of SFr thrust under his nose, so they booked a flight from Milan to Bordeaux. However, sis-in-law was worried about it in case permission was required. In fact it was. They needed an official letter from the maire here, one from us to give permission. When we went to the mairie we were told we should have notified them about her remaining there without a (wait for it) primary caretaker. Either that would have been if the intent was to leave her or on return if she had been left owing to circumstances such as falling ill there. That was irrespective of her having a Swiss passport and her aunt being clearly related, perhaps getting away with pretending to be her parent, because of names. So much like Christian. There is, as you say, never too much...

OK thanks Christian.. I will ask the Maire if he knows about that too. Maybe it would be good to prepare a letter in French and English signed by me and their dad to say we are nominating my brother as responsable for them.

It wouldn't harm to have too much in the way of authorisation.

Brilliant !! Thank you so much for this quick reply Victoria !!

I'll pop down there this afternoon and get it sorted :-)

I sent my daughter overseas last summer, never heard of the letter from the mairie, but I did need a written document for the airlines and customs describing who would be the responsible caretaker.

Hi, yes just pop into Mairie and ask for a permission to leave the 'area', they will do it for you, usually it is just french children that need it, but seeing as you have been living here for so long it may be wise, no big deal,I did it for my children when they went on school trips to Italy, take with you identification for them and you and elec bill (domicile proof) :)