Stranded in Poland

My son, 16, was left stranded at the Polish airport last night. He went through border control but was stopped by a gate assistant who demanded to see his Settlement status.

 Let me highlight that he is still Polish on paper, born and raised in the UK, so British at heart.

So the story is my son wants to join the British Army, so we applied for his British Citizenship and sent his passport and all paperwork to the Home Office. However he wanted to go and see his grandmother in Poland over the summer and as the law states he can travel on his Polish ID card to and from Poland to the UK until 2025 as long as he has the Permanent Residence in the UK aka all the legal paperwork. And with the airline we booked he can travel on his own after he had his 16th birthday (May 2023)

Last night he was checked by the border control and went through no problem, so his legal guardian left the airport and went back home (approx 120km away from the airport) .

My son was supposed to wait at the gate and go on a plane and in the UK I will pick him up from the airport. After 2 hours wait for the boarding to start my son was rejected entry by a gate assistant (a person who’s job description states: checking if the name in the document is the same as on the ticket) She wanted to see his Settlement status so I quickly took picture of the original paperwork sent by HO in 2017, she wasn’t happy with that and requested my son to login into his gov account.

 I gave him details, he logged in, she looked at it  but still wasn’t happy with his status, so the last thing we could do was to share with her the code so she can login herself and check the status. At the point where she should type her name and job title she didn’t want to do it and informed my son “It’s too late now you can’t fly”.

She has been proven numerous times that he is allowed entry to the UK on his ID card. After the gate was shut the airport staff escorted my son to the main hall, and 10 minutes after that he was asked to leave the airport because they are shutting the place as the last plane has left for the night.

My son was left outside in the darkness in front of the airport in the middle of nowhere without any way to get out of there. He waited 2 hours for his aunt to come and collect him. He was left there alone with no adult supervision. In Poland a 16 year old is a minor and being alone at night is illegal for a child (person under the age of 18) especially at midnight.

Now the airline is quiet and unresponsive about this matter. The airport messaged today saying “we will look into this” but I have a feeling they will brush everything under the carpet. I’m furious as he will miss his collage interviews this week but most of all his safety was endangered.

Karolina S., 36, Polish, in the UK since 2004

September 2023

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