Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My parents are forcing me to move out the country

I've been having some really bad issues with my family for a long time, but now it got worse. I'm 16 and my parents are forcing me to live with relatives back in my home country where i was born. Ive lived here my whole life and only know how to speak my native language. Sending me back would mean id be set back in school and that would jeopardize my future and all ive worked for. So while I'm willing to accept a punishment, I won't let it affect my future, So that leaves the option of running away, and just finding some place else. Anything. But I don't know what to do. The idea is crazy but the idea of having my life be ruined over regrets is even crazier. I need help, im so lost right now and i want to do the mature thing and let them send me but I just can't let it happen if my future is at risk.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Falling out with your family can be hard.

Where you can live and what your rights are is a complicated question. When it comes to legal questions and your rights it's always good to get some expert advice. Generally speaking, if you're 16 or over then you may be able to leave home and stay in the UK. But this isn't an easy thing to do and you'll probably still need some support, especially if you're still in education.

The law can be complicated, so when you have a legal question like this it's good to go to an expert and talk to them. There's free legal advice for young people available through an organisation called the Children's Legal Centre and their Law Stuff helpline. If you talk to them they'll give you the best advice - or tell you where to go for more information.

There are laws around needing the consent of your parents or carers if you're under 16 - both parents have to agree for you to go and live abroad, for example. It can be counted as child abduction if this happens and can be reported to the police even if someone is threatening to do it. As you're 16 years or older however this may not apply. If you definitely don't want to go and live abroad, you do have a couple of options but they're not particularly easy.

The first option is to leave home and live on your own, or with another relative. You can leave home at 16 and as long as you have somewhere safe to stay, it's unlikely you would be forced back home. There are some organisations who can help you if you're homeless and looking for somewhere to live, such as Shelter. It would be important to plan carefully and think hard about if this is the right step for you as it will have a big impact on your future.

The second option is to surrender or destroy your passport so that you can't be taken abroad. If you were to destroy or give your passport back to the passport office then you couldn't travel abroad without it. This will probably have consequences for you at home so you would need to think carefully about this but as you're over 16 your parents can't apply for a new passport on your behalf. It would cost £75 for you to get a new passport, so you may only want to do this as a last resort.

If you're moving to a different part of the UK where they may speak a different language - such as parts of Wales - then there are fewer options open to you if you're under 16, but the same options about leaving home apply if you're over 16.

I would strongly recommend you get some expert legal advice about what your rights are. You can also speak to a counsellor at Childline about your experience at home.

Thank you for sharing this with me, take care.


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter