Benefits Of Having Dual Citizenship (And Two Passports)!

Filed Under: Travel

Reader Jim asked the following question on the “Ask Lucky” page of the blog, which I figured I’d answer here, given that I get a lot of questions about my dual citizenship:

Big fan of your blog. My questions is about dual citizenship and traveling with two passports. You mentioned that you travel with your German passport. What are some advantages and disadvantages of having two passports? When and where would you use a passport from the EU as opposed to US?

I was born in the US but both of my parents are from Germany, so I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to have dual citizenship. In a way, I’d consider my passports to almost be my two most valuable “elite statuses,” given how much time and money they save me.


I use my German passport for:

  • Entering the EU and UK. Most major airports in the EU and UK have ePassport gates, which are awesome. When you use these you don’t have to talk to a human, but rather just use an automated machine that takes your picture. That’s especially useful in the UK, since they otherwise often love to quiz about the reason for your visit.
  • Entering countries where a US passport requires a visa/reciprocity fee. Governments are all too often in favor of reciprocity, even when it’s negative. The US requires citizens from a lot of countries to acquire visas or pay immigration fees. So under these circumstances I use my German passport. For example, with my German passport I don’t need a visa for Brazil, while I’d need one with my US passport. Similarly, Argentina and a few other countries have hefty reciprocity fees for those with US passports, which don’t apply to those with German passports.

I use my US passport for:

  • Entering the US. Global Entry is awesome, and makes US-bound international travel so much more relaxing.
  • Countries where visas can’t be avoided. There are some countries where both Americans and Germans have to get visas, and in those cases I just get the visa in my US passport. Since I live in the US, geographically it’s easier to deal with a US consulate than a German consulate.
  • Entering most other countries not listed above. My German passport only has 16 pages, while my US passport is thicker than a credit card churner’s wallet. So purely in terms of available passport real estate, it makes the most sense to get “stamped” in my US passport as opposed to German passport.

While the above are mostly just preferences, I should note the one thing that’s required — I have to use my US passport to enter the US, and have to use my EU passport to enter the EU. Of course there’s no reason I wouldn’t do that, but I do think it’s worth noting that you can get in trouble if you don’t.

Bottom line

I save so much time being able to enter the US, EU, and UK without having to talk to a human. It saves me a lot of money as well, given that I can avoid quite a few visas and reciprocity fees.

Is anyone else fortunate enough to have dual citizenship?

  1. “Entering the EU and UK”

    You do know the UK is in the EU, right? “Entering the EU” by definition includes entering the UK.

  2. @Tex227 Not when it comes to getting stamped. Flying from the UK to a euro zone country will still get you another visa stamp.

  3. Yes! Although if traveling thru the US, (ssy, on AA connecting in DFW) I still need my US passport and that’s what has to be on my AA res. To get back into the UK, I have to have my UK one.

  4. Of course the best part is arriving at an airport where you can use either, and letting whichever has the shortest immigration queue “decide” where I’m from that day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. @Charlie, @Tex277 The UK is in the EU, but not in the Schengen Area, which just means that the UK government insists on maintaining passport checks at its border even for people coming from within the EU. That means you get stamped if you’re a non-EU citizen when travelling either way, and there are separate visas for UK and Schengen.

  6. @Charlie – I think you’re actually referring to the Schengen area, which is different from the “euro zone,” a term that usually refers to those EU countries (not all of the members) which have adopted the common Euro currency. The Schengen area includes most EU members (but not the UK) as well as some non-EU states (e.g. Norway and Switzerland). Flying between Schengen countries is like taking a domestic flight – no passport check.

  7. Chile no longer charges US citizens a reciprocity fee. It does still charge Australian and Mexican citizens.

    I did still use my UK passport, because I was making a land crossing into Argentina. I wanted to avoid any questions at the Chile/Argentina border about the lack of any Chilean exit stamps.

  8. I thought the requirement to enter on the passport of the country you’re going into was just a US thing? I have Irish and British passports and I enter the UK with my Irish one all the time – I’ve just never got into the habit of carrying both, since the visa requirements for most countries I travel to are the same.

  9. Some countries don’t allow you to use different passports, especially land border or dual-countries immigration in the same restricted area.

  10. I have both U.S. and Philippine citizenship. I was born in New York but became a Filipino citizen because of my mom trying to avoid overstaying fees when I was a young boy. The only use for my Filipino citizenship is pretty much travel to Bali if I were ever to go there on holiday as The Philippines is part of ASEAN and ASEAN countries get visa free access. Other than that, I have no use for it. I haven’t used my passport in years and thinking about renouncing my Filipino citizenship.

  11. How do you handle providing passport info in advance on a round trip from day the U.S. to Germany? Do you go into your booking and change it mid trip? Or do you just let them enter your info at the airport?

  12. Hey Ben, I love having dual citizenship and 2 passports as well. I hold a Taiwanese passport and a Thai passport. Having them really saves me a lot of money while visiting different countries in Asia, I guess I’m fortunate like you!

  13. Does the US give you a hard time returning when you don’t have stamps in that passport? I’m about to get my Canadian passport and want to figure out the best way to take advantage, without causing additional delays and explanation.

  14. Seperate passports are used by some travellers who visit Arabic countries and Israel – all visits to Israel in one passport, Arabic countries in another (just to avoid any issues). I suspect it’s the same for more than a few difficult international relationships out there – no-one likes getting caught up in a spat.

  15. I have 2 also US and UK but was on the understanding first under US law you were not supposed to hold 2 and you technically said you give it up at the citizenship hearing? 2nd I heard that using 2 different passports on one trip was not allowed as its in your records and could red flag you?
    So say leaving the US on a US passport then arriving in the UK on a UK passport would raise a flag as the info on the passport used was available??

  16. I’m German myself and I found out recently that German nationals can register for Global Entry! No need to be an american citizen anymore.

    You have to go register for some non-existent program in Frankfurt (“ABP+” or something along those lines). With that you get a beta-code and are able to register for GOES and get an interview.

    I have used the included TSA-PRE for a few domestic US flights and global entry for my first trip back from Germany. It’s amazing how the usual 30 minute wait and border interrogation session turns into a 5 minute “basically walk straight through” deal. And thanks to the Ameriprise Amex Platinum I got the whole thing for free ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I have a UK, Dutch and US passports. I know it sounds silly to have 2 EU countries passport, but for someone living in the UK there are benefits of having a british citizenship. I guess am the luckiest here!

  18. > Does the US give you a hard time returning when you donโ€™t have stamps in that passport?

    I don’t recall ever receiving a European stamp in my German passport. Since I am German, they mostly don’t care how long I stay in Europe or when I leave, at least not on a piece of paper.
    I do however have an ever growing collection of lovely US stamps

  19. KJ — It’s definitely not a problem to use two passports on one trip. And as far as having to give up citizenship goes, it all depends on the circumstances. In my case, since my parents are both from Germany and I was born in the US, I can legally hold dual citizenship. My parents, on the other hand, still have German citizenship, and while they’d be eligible for US citizenship, it would mean they’d have to give up their current citizenship.

  20. @ Sarah B — Since I have Global Entry I rarely interact with immigration officers anymore. That being said, even before I had that, they never gave me trouble.

  21. “Since I live in the US, geographically itโ€™s easier to deal with a US consulate than a German consulate.”

    Actually, if you wanted your visa in your German passport, you should be able to apply for it in a US-based consulate/embassy. You’d need to provide proof of residency status, however, which I imagine would be your US passport. As such, I’d say it still makes sense to apply for visas using your US passport, just not for the reason you state.

    Source: I’ve lived outside of my country of (single) citizenship for the last ten years, and I have about as much experience applying for visas as you do of flying in first!

  22. @ Dylan — I enter my US passport info into the itin, and then I show my US passport at check-in both in the US and in Europe. The only place I show my German passport or give any info regarding it is when going through passport control on arrival and departure in Europe.

  23. @ Dr. Wanderlust — Hmmm, I don’t remember, it was so long ago. If the form does indeed ask about other passports I surely answered it since I was honest on the application, though I don’t remember that question.

  24. Your parents wouldn’t necessarily have to give up their German citizenship.
    There are reasons why you can keep both.
    When you e.g. work in the US on projects that need security clearance, you have to be american citizen. In that case, the German embassy does make an exception. There are a few other cases when you can keep both, but in general you’ll have to make an argument for it.

  25. @ takke — Back in the day I made the mistake of showing my US passport to German immigration and was yelled at when they realized I also had a German passport.

  26. It seems we are now 2 user called No Name on this website, I have posted under that name for few months now and I have a single citizenship not triple like the other no name.

  27. Thanks for this post – it prompted me to check out both the Canadian and US government websites and discovered that my kids, who are dual Canadian-US citizens, haven’t always been following the rules. It appears that they are required to enter the US on US passports and enter Canada on their Canadian passports. Somehow we had the idea that a trip was supposed to be completed on the same passport. Also, of interest to Canadians, if you are a dual US citizen, travelling to Cuba using your Canadian passport, at least until very recently, would be considered an offence by the US government (still says so on the US govt website as of today). Does anyone know whether a dual US citizen transiting through the US enroute to another country would be required to use their US passport?

  28. You can certainly enter the EU with a non-EU passport even if you are an EU citizen. Maybe Germany requires their citizens enter with their German passport as they have laws about dual nationality, but for the UK, for example, I’ve entered with foreign passports before ๐Ÿ™‚ (just to get the stamp)

  29. I have dual citizenship with slightly different first name spelling on my US Passport (changed name when became a US citizen lately), what issues could I come across when trying to book a flight with one or the other name when having to use both passports for entry/exit?

  30. Having dual US and FRG passports is fine but no big deal, since except for a handful of countries, the US passport would get one into countries where a German passport would and maybe more. I would find it significant if I had. e.g., a Russian Federation passport and a US passport ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Yeah Lucky,

    I’m in the same “boat” as you. My parents are from DE and I was born in the USA. Currently, my mother lives in the USA and dad in DE, so I travel to DE whenever I have a break on LH. Having the German passport saves so much time, especially a FRA.


  32. Lucky might be a good thing to bold the part about the legality of entering country of citizenship using the wrong passport, since the post is very encouraging of persons engaging in usage of multiple passports.

  33. UK passport– my primary passport. We are on visa waiver program when entering the U.S. Someone mentioned global entry program using a German pp. any idea if UK passports are eligible as well?

    Got a Hongkong passport a few years ago for traveling to the middle east.. Visa waived for traveling to Japan

  34. Hello Lucky,
    I’ve always had this question about dual citizenship and two passports but never found the chance to ask anyone. Maybe you can shed some light. I have two passports and Im a dual citizen but I currently live in the Middle East which neither of my passports are from. I wanted to travel to Russia but one nationality requires visa while the other one doesnt. Is it possible to show one passport at the airline ticket counter to received my boarding pass without a need of a visa, and show the other passport at customs to exit the Middle East which is the passport I came in with and work under? Any idea?

  35. PJ, transiting the US is the same as entering the US, so you have to use your American passport. I assume you have also figured out that y’all have to file US tax returns and any boys will have to register for Selective Service when they turn 18.

    For a wealth of information on this topic, check out the very useful site

  36. I also hold dual citizenship, Brazilian, where I was born and still live in, and Italian, from my grandfather.

    Having a Brazilian passport is great for South American trips, since you don’t need a visa – and, in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, you don’t even need a passport to begin with, as we can cross borders just using the national ID card.

    And the Italian passport is great for Europe, obviously, but also for travel to the US – as there’s no need to apply for an American visa – and to China, as they easily give you multiple entries visa as opposed to the BR passport, where you usually only get a single entry visa in your first visit.

  37. @ Marc — Just show the passport with the correct spelling when checking in, and supplment it with your other passport as needed. Can’t imagine you’ll have trouble.

  38. US and HKSAR. Whenever possible use HKSAR to save pages on the US one and to save money s well. No visa needed for Russia, Turkey and Indonesia with HKSAR. Ditto several South America countries.

    Need US to enter US because most other nationalities require visa to enter US.

    People confuse the check in requirements with passport control – they are 2 independent matters. We recently flew IST-MAD-MIA. At IST check in we produced our US passports because our destination was US, airline had to make sure we can legally enter US. At passport control out of Turkey we produced our HKSAR which we used to enter Turkey. Because we had to overnight at MAD we needed to go thru passport control both coming and going. We used HKSAR. When we entered US we used US and enjed the Global Entry.

    The key is you used the SAME passport on both entry and exit of the same country.

    As for the HKSAR we travel to China using our US with the Chinese Visa (ouch for the expensive visa fee). HKSAR alone cannot be used to enter China anyway – you need a “home permit” which we are NOT eligible to get. However I know friends who have the permits and use such for their entries into China. In that case their US passports would become a mere travel document for identification only but does not offer any protection. It is specifically spelled out in some Chinese documents I have seen. In our cases since we enter China with our US passports bearing valid Chinese Visa, we are supposedly afforded protection from US Embassy should bad things happen… US does not encourage dual citizenship but does not forbidden it either. China does not allow dual citizenship so some of our Chinese friends have to give up their Chinese passports when they became US/ EU Citizens.

    Many many people in HKG hold dual or more passports, with the Canadian and US being the most prevalent but many other countries as well. Never a problem.

  39. @Stannis Thanks for the clarification – as I suspected, even when transiting the US, dual citizens need to travel on their US passports. And yes, the “kids”, who are adults now, are painfully aware about the US requirement to file an income tax return even though they have never lived in the US and have never had any US income. Had no idea about the Selective Service requirement – even though I have daughters, I was interested to learn this.

  40. @Lucky: You seem to suggest that you are ‘quizzed’ when entering the UK and talking to a human even if you are holding an EU/EWR/CH passport. Did you really experience that?
    It never happened to me and I think it should be pretty unlikely (in particular with a German passport), and they are technically not even allowed to.

    @w: If you want to be pedantic, it should be changed to “EU/EWR/CHW, in particular UK” or, even better “Schengen area and non-Schengen EU countries (e.g., UK)”, as I’m pretty sure Lucky also uses his German passport when entering, e.g., Switzerland.

  41. Triple citizenship here for me and my kids: USA, ARG, IT. I do use my American passport to enter Argentina. Argentine’s passports are only issued for 5 years and it’s a hassle to renew it at the NYC consulate or back at home when I go.
    Argentine authorities still accept my expired passport, and for the kids their national ID to waive the reciprocity fee. They won’t stamp my argentine passport of course but is still useful.

  42. I have dual with the US and EU (Ireland). My grandmother was born there. My grandfather was born in Naples but I already have an EU so no sense.

  43. @Adam Only the U.S. and Eritrea tax based on citizenship. All other countries tax residents only. So only American and Eritrean citizens living abroad may be subject to double taxation.

  44. I have a german and my wife an american passport while our kids have both. While my kids and I have certainly enjoyed the small time savings at FRA and DUS when entering, the whole thing is becoming quite expensive. Germany now requires german passports to be renewed in person at the consulate assigned to you, ours is 10 hours away in Miami.
    The real benefits will become apparent down the road, when our kids will have the choice to live and work in 29 countries of the world.

  45. Dual citizenship is a blessing for me but it depends on what passports you hold; compulsory military service and income tax liabilities are just some of the issues.
    What frustrates me most is that Australia and New Zealand both allow US & UK passport holders to use our Smartgate automated immigration systems to allow express arrival but this is not reciprocated and we have to wait hours upon arrival at a US or UK airport. Not fair at all

  46. Hi Lucky,
    If you ever visit Canada, I strongly suggest you use your US passport.
    I’m a dual citizen (Canadian, and UK), and I always use my Canadian passport when traveling to the States.
    If I used my UK passport I’d need to obtain an ESTA (if flying in), and would be limited to a 90 day stay.
    Regarding reciprocal fees, it is a HUGE advantage using my UK passport.
    On a side note, I recently visited Laos.
    The 30 day visa cost for my Canadian passport was $42 US, the same visa using my UK passport was $35 US.

  47. Nothing beats a HKSAR passport and a US passport, and of cos if you hold HKSAR you should( and have the right) to apply home return permit from China travel agency in HK or you can apply China travel document from consulates in states.
    With such home return permit, you can stay in china indefinitely since you are technically Chinese citizen plus you dont need another special permit to visit tibet.

  48. I have USA, Canadian, and Swiss citizenship. I always make ini mini in europe whichever line is shorter. I always use my USA passport when entering the USA, even when entering Canada I use my USA passport, because I don’t have a valid Canadian passport, never had an issue.

  49. Most important question about this post is how old is that picture! I can’t remember the last time you flew United, let alone be a 1K!

  50. @Paul — As much as I can tell. it looks like @Lucky was flying with Etihad in seat 1K ๐Ÿ˜‰

  51. Hkgfll,
    You did not travel from Hong Kong to China, just as Lucky did not fly from Hawaii to the United States. You did however traveled from Hong Kong to Mainland China, Just as Lucky had flown recently from Hawaii to the Continental United States.

    Recently, Lucky suggested that to avoid a Chinese visa, travellers can go from Beijing to a 3rd country, such as Hong Kong. I find this as interesting a suggestion as flying from USA to a 3rd country, such as Alaska or Hawaii.

  52. That’s not to say the suggestion doesn’t work; Just that it’s a third region, rather than a third country.

  53. A good friend was ticketed to go to Panama last year. The day before departure, he discovered that his US passport had only a few weeks of validity remaining…not enough to pass muster with the Panamanan authorities.

    He was very fortunate to still have a Swiss passport (his native land, although he left decades ago), which he used without issues.

  54. One thing to bear in mind:

    If one has a German citizenship and gets any legal problems while IN Germany, US citizenship will mean nothing and no help will be available from US embassy (and opposite – if in US, German citizenship would not apply and no legal help from German embassy. Most likely not very important for law abiding people but not bad to know.

    Interestingly enough, people who immigrated to Germany and who want to apply for the German citizenship MUST give away their original citizenship.
    I don’t know how it works if one is from EU country or USA.

  55. Hi Ben,
    I have a Canadian and an Israeli passport.
    I use my Israeli passport for:
    1) Travelling to Argentina and Chile,to avoid the reciprocal tax.
    2)Travelling to Brasil and Russia where Israelis do not need an entry Visa.

  56. @jason – technically if you hold HKSAR you should be able to get the home return permit. Unfortunately things with China do not work by the letter of the “book” – it is subject to countless interpretations and thousands shades of gray when it comes to interpret the black and white “rules”. No, we could not get the home return permit without jumping thru hundreds of hoops AND not even know where (the local government in China) to start the process of getting some papers the CTS in Hong Kong wanted. The hurdles are impossible to overcome. So we just get the Chinese visas with our US passports instead. Too bad we got our latest just a few months before the 10 years visa became a reality. Chinese Visa are expensive due to the red tape the Chinese government imposes, i.e. you can only apply in person (or the sanctioned agency in person) at the consulate that governs your state. You cannot just walk in Chinese Embassy in DC or any Chinese consulate in the US / Canada to apply the Chinese visa. This means for us in fll, we would either need to fly to iah to apply at the consulate in houston, or pay an agency operating in houston to do this for us. All told, it costs about $250 per Chinese visa when everything added up.

    What you describe is the geography and the nature of sovereign. The Politics and the “One Country Two System” are something being handled completely differently from what the sovereign would dictate (and apparently the basis of your concept which unfortunately cannot be more wrong when it comes to the entrance and exit China from Hong Kong or Macao.)

    Lucky is absolutely correct on the 3rd country requirement with the 72 hours transit without visa situation.
    HKSAR and MacaoSAR are indeed treated as 3rd country when it comes to the Transit without Visa regulation, such as you can enter China from Hong Kong and then return to Macao with a US passport and can enjoy the 72 hours without visa benefit but make sure you know how the 72 hours are calculated as they are DIFFERENT calculation depends on which port of entry you are entering!

    On top of what, HKSAR passport does NOT entitle you to enter mainland China without the Home Return Permit – can you say that the US passport does NOT entitle your to fly from Hawaii to Mainland, or even from Guam to Mainland?
    Heck, you do even need a passport to fly between Hawaii and mainland US. All you need is some sort of government issued photo ID to enable you pass security check to board the plane! Can you say that with the HKSAR to mainland China?
    Therefore, your analogy is completely WRONG because you dont really know how things work but simply make an assumption based on total lack of knowledge.

  57. Hkgfll,
    Hong Kong is a part of China. Any statement of the form “…Hong Kong and China…” is an OXYMORON. Just as “…Hawaii and United States..” is an OXYMORN. Reasonable people say “…Hong Kong and Mainland China..”, “..Hawaii and the Continental United States..”. “..Alaska and the lower 48 states..” etc.

    Highlighting nitty gritty administrative details – such as the need for a home resident permit to travel between Hong Kong and *mainland* China versus the seamless travel between Hawaii and the *continental* United States, blah blah blah – is futile and does not change the fact that “…Hong Kong and China..” is an OXYMORN. You will have to deal with your “completely WRONG” (to borrow your phrase) outdated colonial mentality in some other way.

    I cannot help you with your “total lack of knowledge (to again borrow your phrase) with regard to the history (not “geography” as you wrongly stated) between Hong Kong and *mainland* China. However, I can help you by pointing out that reasonable Americans do know enough about Hawaii and the *continental* United States, Alaska and the *lower 48* States, to understand my analogy that “..Hong Kong and China..” is an OXYMORON. They are reasonable because they have no colonial-era emotional baggage on their shoulder. lol

  58. hkgfll worte: “HKSAR and MacaoSAR are indeed treated as 3rd country when it comes to the Transit without Visa regulation”

    HKSAR and Macao SAR are treated as 3rd *REGION* under the 72-hour visa-free transit. They are 3rd *REGION* precisely becuase they are SAR – Special Administrative Region.

    But yeah, perhaps to some Hong Kongers still clinging on to the white-better-than-yellow outdated colonial mentality, the “third region” phrase on the Chinese embassy website, somehow transform in their mind to “third country” ๐Ÿ™‚

  59. hkgfll wrote “you can enter China from Hong Kong”.

    Sorry to disappoint you, dude. You can’t.

    Just as Lucky could not have entered United States from Hawaii a month ago. He was already in the United States when he was in Hawaii! Lucky did however successfully entered *continental* United States from Hawaii.

    Similarly, you are already in China when you are in hong Kong. However, you can certainly enter *mainland* China from Hong Kong, as countless Hong Kongers (with no hangover colonial mentality) do every day with at land crossing with their HK ID ๐Ÿ™‚

  60. @james
    This is a travel blog and not a political blog, please take your political bias elsewhere where instead of muddling the issues here. We are talking about required travel documents here, no more no less. Your politically biased posts do not add any value other than muddling issues and misleading people.

    3rd countries or 3d regions do NOT matter an iota. Bottom line is, the 2 SARs are treated just as 3rd countries when applying the 72 hours transit without visa rules and that is WHAT MATTERS when it comes to the discussion in the travel context. Now why mainland China treats the SARs this way when it comes to travel documents required for entry and exit, that is another interesting topic but totally does not belong here.

    Furthermore, no, you cannot just enter China with your HKID but without Home Return Permit. You conveniently omitted that important trivial. AND to add to that, a HKID does not guarantee you a Home Return Permit. That is the sad but true part deliberately made it so by the motherland which does not seem too care for her charges in the non-colonial Hong Kong since 1997.

    The mere fact that the Hong Kong ID holders could not freely travel between Hong Kong and mainland China without having the Home Return Permit is a proof that Hong Kong folks are NOT treated as the same as the Chinese inside Mainland China, no matter how loyal you feel to the motherland. But then who cares when HKSAR enjoys well over 100 countries and regions visa free visit while mainlanders have to apply visa for almost all countries that are worthy for a visit. That is what Jason alluded to. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  61. @hkgfll
    Ok, so you may have not meant to create an uprising from James, but at least admit he is correct. I understand he could have been (a bit) nicer about it, but you were wrong.

    You are politically correct, I couldn’t agree more with you. However, did you really need to go crazy on hkgfll like that? He got the point in your first post, he didn’t need two more to tell him that he was wrong.

  62. I am a Canadian living in Canada, but I also have an Irish passport obtained through my father. I’m planning a trip to Turkey in the near future, with a connection in France outbound and a stopover in the Netherlands on the return (all booked on a single ticket).

    I noticed the Visa for Irish citizens costs much less than Canadians.

    I received an email from the airline requesting passport info, which I have not yet completed while I tried to figure this all out. I assume whatever info I submit will be forwarded via API to Turkish (and French/Dutch?) officials. And that there could be an issue if this info doesn’t match the passport I turn up with upon arrival.

    Does that mean I have to use my Irish passport for the entire trip (not just entering Turkey)?

    Will I have a problem when I re-enter Canada? (using my Canadian passport of course).

  63. OK here goes. I have four PP: US, AU, EU member, and ASEAN member. It is fun (and challenging) at times to figure out which to use and under what circumstances.

  64. I have US and Polish passport. Will be traveling to Bolivia, for which I plan to use my EU passport and save the money on the visa required for US citizens.
    As I am reading all the replies here and on other web sites, I am still unsure on what passport to present the US airlines when boarding for Bolivia bound flight. Do I show them my EU passport, which does not need visa or do I show them my US passport, and if asked about visa let them know I will enter Bolivia on my EU passport?

  65. I have a US passport and a Portuguese passport. My father was born in Portugal which gave me Dual nationality. I live in the UK and have done so for the past 3.5 years. I work and pay taxes here. I’m leaving on holiday to go back to the US to visit my family and don’t know how to Travel there. When I travel the EU I just use my Portuguese, as it’s so easy. But I know when I go to America I need to use my US. But here’s my kicker – my US passport has my married name on it (I was married but now divorced) which I haven’t changed yet and and my Portuguese has my maiden name…what do I do about this?? And what name do I use on my ticket with the airline?? I can’t change my US passport back because they actually require me to go to the state that I was once married in to change it back at the courthouse.
    Been feeling so overwhelmed thinking about this! Help!

  66. If you’re a U.S. citizen, you’re required to use your U.S. passport not only for entering the U.S., but also when leaving the U.S. While the government does not perform exit checks, the airlines report exits to the government, and they’re supposed to help the government reconcile exits for foreigners by verifying and reporting the foreigner’s legal status. Not that it always happens — I remember once leaving the U.S. when an airline failed to check the documentation of my stay in the U.S. (I had my green card with me, but they forgot to ask to see it). As a U.S. citizen, your foreign passport will bear no evidence of the legality of your stay in the U.S., tipping off the airline to ask to see your U.S. passport.

    Many years ago, relatives of mine who were staying temporarily in the U.S. had a baby born shortly before their return. They registered the child with their home country (which, at the time, allowed infants to be registered in their parents’ passports), but never bothered with a U.S. passport. When it came time to leave, the airline insisted that the 6-week-old infant, being a U.S. citizen, must have a U.S. passport, and it took a lot of arguing before an exception was made and they were allowed on the plane.

  67. In reading all the comments, I need clarification. I have US and Peruvian passports. I want to go to Brazil avoid the visa expense.

    So, I use my Peruvian passport to leave the US. The counter person will ask for my legal documents such as a green card. At that time, do I show my US passport w/o the Brazilian visa? I know I can use my Peruvian passport upon arrival and travel between South American countries. Just unclear of departing from US.

  68. Hey Lucky,

    We have a baby born in US. We both are Indian citizens on H1/H4 Visa. Our Baby is eligible to get Indian Citizenship based on parents, if we do not apply for his US passport.
    We applied for his Indian passport and received it.
    Now we are planning to make one way trip to India using his Indian passport?
    Do you think this will create any issues when we show his Indian passport to the airlines? Since he will not have any electronic I94 record in his Indian passport. Also, when he turns 18 and renounced his US citizenship and travels to US on his Indian passport will he face any issues for this travel where he traveled out of US on Indian passport which had not record of entry?

    Will appreciate your help.

  69. hello, i hold two passports, one Russian and one Jordanian, i lived in Jordan for the most of my life, and am planing to visit Russia in less than a week, i booked my ticket on using my Russian passport but my name is spelled differently on my Russian passport, i was planing to give the airlines my Russian passport when exiting Jordan and provide passport control with my Jordanian one, and when entering Russia ill be using my Russian passport, on my return trip i want to show my Russian passport for the airline and leave Russia using my Russian passport, keep in mind Russian’s can get an entry visa for Jordan at arrival so it shouldnt be an issue for the airlines i guess, when arriving to Jordan i would enter using my Jordanian passport. will i face any problems?

  70. I also have US/German dual citizenship, and it has been a godsend. It makes traveling infinitely easier, especially when I doing EU travel. (Obviously)

  71. Hi Ben,
    Im have two passports French and US but i actually did not renew my french one
    My wife has only the Austrian Passport, we live in the US,
    Whenever we go to France or Vienna and there is two lines one for EU one for US we go to the shortest
    same thing for our way back to the us
    thats preety cool

  72. Currently a U.S. citizen. No international connection other than someone immigrating from Ireland 175 years ago. Is it possible to establish some sort of dual citizenship?

  73. Ben, let’s say you use your German passport on an AA flight from the USA to Brazil (to enter Brazil without a visa). Since you have Global Entry and a corresponding Known Traveler Number, have you had any issues getting TSA Precheck to print on your BP under these circumstances?

  74. My mother and maternal grandparents are both British. My mother married my father (US citizen) in England when he was stationed there in US Air Force.

    They moved to the US but my mother never renounced her British citizenship. She had an alien card and British passport when she passed away a few years ago.

    My question, am I eligible for dual nationality (dual passports) due to my mother never renouncing her British citizenship? I was born in the US in 1966.

  75. My fiancee is American and obtained German citizenship as a German/Jew descendent. She has a Staatsangehorigkeitsauswies AKA Certificate of Citizenship. What would be the reasons for following through with getting a passport?

  76. My siblings and I (US citizens) have applied for Luxembourg citizenship through our direct ancestor, a great grandfather. We are halfway through the process. My sister is married to a Scot and travels in Europe regularly. A brother plans to live in Europe. I will probably stay for extended periods of time, but do not plan to live in Luxembourg year ’round.
    I am gathering from reading other comments that when I travel to Europe from the US, I should leave and enter on my US passport. When I travel through Europe (EU members or not), I can use my Luxembourg passport. Is this correct?
    As US citizens we don’t want to lose our citizenship. Is there any danger of that from the United States? I have read the State Dept information on dual citizenship and it seems a bit subjective.
    I appreciate all of the information posted. Thanks!

  77. I’m wondering if I can re-enter a country with different passport? Just because it doesn’t need a visa whereas the other one need a visa. Thanks

  78. Hi! so i am really confused as to what to do with my next travel. I have a US passport and my husband has a FRA passport so my baby has both. We will be going through FRA small stop over and then on to US. What passport should I show for him and where (arriving, and leaving FRA and same for US)? Also, for some reason when we were getting his passports we put his first and my husbands last on his US passport and his first, husbands last-my last name on his french passport so he has 2 different names!… omg.. I have no idea what we were thinking! so how will this affect his travel, boarding pass, etc?… any and all advice is very welcomed!;))))

  79. I’m a dual citizen living in the UK, with a SL passport and a UK passport. I currently have a valid US B1/B2 visa in my SL passport – issued before I became a dual citizen. I’m trying to figure out which passport(s) I should be using at each point during my next US visit. Would the following approach be correct? 1) Airline Check-in from UK with SL passport – which has the US visa. 2) Show my UK passport to UK immigration (if requested). 3) Show US immigration my SL passport. 4) Return trip airline Check-in with UK passport. 5) Show my SL passport to US immigration to stamp and register i94 departure. 6) Show UK immigration my UK passport. Does that sound about right? Or have I got anything wrong?

  80. Is it correct that the AIRLINES do not care whether you have a valid visa for the destination country on the passport used to book the flight? I have an EU passport and a US passport. I booked a flight to Turkey using the US passport but later realized Turkey requires a visa for US citizens but not for EU citizens. I had this exchange with my travel agent:
    ME: Don’t the airlines want proof a passenger may legally enter the destination country? For example, if I check in with the U.S. passport with no visa for the flight to Turkey, which requires a visa for U.S. passport holders, will they let me on the plane? Or if I show them the EU passport, would they deny me entry to the plane because it dos not match the passport on the reservation?
    AGENT: There is no issue. Just check in with the passport name that is on the reservations. When you go through Customs, you can use either. The two are not linked.

    Is he correct?

  81. Very important information missing:
    NO COUNTRY recognize other nationalities on its nationals. In USA, the author is only American. In Germany, only German. You can only play with the passports in third countries.
    I got three of these little books myself…

  82. I have an American and Italian passport. I am traveling to China next month. I live in the United States. I saw that being an italian citizen it would be a lot cheaper for the visa to china but i need to know can i obtain the visa (with the italian passport) from the united states?

  83. Yes you can. However, if you need consular assistance in china, you will have to deal with italian authorities since you will be entering china as an Italian.

  84. Hello again, does anyone have an answer to the question I posted on February 22?
    Is it correct that the AIRLINES do not care whether you have a valid visa for the destination country on the passport used to book the flight? I have an EU passport and a US passport. I booked a flight to Turkey using the US passport but later realized Turkey requires a visa for US citizens but not for EU citizens. I had this exchange with my travel agent:
    ME: Donโ€™t the airlines want proof a passenger may legally enter the destination country? For example, if I check in with the U.S. passport with no visa for the flight to Turkey, which requires a visa for U.S. passport holders, will they let me on the plane? Or if I show them the EU passport, would they deny me entry to the plane because it dos not match the passport on the reservation?
    AGENT: There is no issue. Just check in with the passport name that is on the reservations. When you go through Customs, you can use either. The two are not linked.

    Is he correct?

  85. Correct but not accurate!

    The Airlines care if you have the right to abode in the destination country. Otherwise, they have to bring you back.
    ON THE check in Counter, produce your EU passport if required. In the destination, for the immigration, you can produce your EU passport.

    But remember: in case of any issue, turkey will treat you as a national of the country you present the pass at entrance. You cannot claim to be “an American citizen” after identify yourself with another nationality.

    I have myself three passports and do this kind of switch very frequently.

  86. Hello, I have dual nationality,born in the USA and since both of my parents are peruvian I also have a peruvian citizenship. I used to leave in the USA but moved to Peru 4 years ago. I did entered the country with my American US passport, now I am planing on traveling to USA. I have heard that people from other countries can only stay certain time, does that apply to me too? I am worried about the fines, but I am confused because I have all my paperwork up to date, I even have an ID and have voted in Peru, as well as in America. Please help me, I do not know what would I do if I have to pay a fine, I really though that having dual nationality will allow me to stay in both places as long as I wanted. The fine will be huge if is not like I assumed to be. I have being in Peru for about 4 years.
    I will appreciate your help. Thanks in advance.

  87. You were born in the US. You have a US passport. You are an American citizen. You can enter the US and stay as long as you like. Use your American passport upon entry.

    Note that Americans are taxed on their worldwide income and is based on citizenship rather than residency. So if you have not been filing American taxes while in Peru, there may be consequences some day.

  88. You made a huge mistake entering peru with your American pass. In peru, you are only peruvian and can not claim to be American. You should have flashed your peruvian passpoet to enter and leave peru.

    If you use your peruvian passport to leave peru, you should not have any problem.

    Never show two passports. At check in use your American pass. Forvperuvian immigration, only show your peruvian pass.

  89. Hi again, I am not concerned about my American nationality at all, I am concerned about the overstayed issue. Can you overstay in a country where you have a nationality? I have being 4 years in Peru, so I will like to know if I am in trouble, I used my American passport because my peruvian passport was expired.
    Please help me if you can. Thanks

  90. Hi, peruvians need a visa to go to the USA, I didn’t think of that possibility. To do that I will have to show them my American Passport too. In the case that my passport was lost (because I still could not find it) I will have to get a new one in Peru, I will have no entry stamp, will they have records of my entry? or will they give me a new date?

  91. When you entered on your American passport, you were considered a visitor. As a visitor, you can overstay your welcome. But as a Peruvian citizen, you cannot. So they won’t track your entry.
    They might detect you if you were stopped for another offense or once again presented yourself at a border entry/exit. But you’d almost have to show your US passport again for them to connect the dots.
    If you can show proof of citizenship at that time, I can’t imagine how you would get in trouble. I guess they could argue that since you presented yourself as a citizen of another country, you may be deemed to have given up your Peruvian citizenship, but that would be pretty extreme. If you have since renewed your Peruvian passport, then you should have no problems, in my opinion.

  92. Thank you Marvin, I really hope you are right. I am totally clean, never had gotten in any trouble so far, it still seems very unsure for me what will happen, we are speculating on what could happen. What you say makes sense to me, I need it to hear it from someone who knew more than I do in this case, hopefully everything will go as we think.
    Thanks again, your your clear advice and for you time.


  93. I disagree with “Never show two passports. At check in use your American pass. For peruvian immigration, only show your peruvian pass.” I think she should use her Peruvian passport whenever on Peruvian soil.

    I am dual Canadian/American. Whenever I am in the USA, I always show my American passport, exiting or entering. Entering Canada, I obviously show my Canadian. And when exiting Canada, well with US Customs pre-clearance, once I enter that I am technically in the US so I show my US passport.

    Where I may agree is travelling to 3rd countries. I once left the US on my American passport and entered St.Kitts on my Canadian one and confused the hell out of them. There was no trouble, just a longer entry/exit. I could have either exited with my Canadian passport, which may have raised some questions about the lack of US entry stamp, or entered on my American one. Depends on whose consular assistance you’d want if you needed it.

    As a Peruvian, you don’t need the stamps in your passport to show when you came or left your own country.

  94. If Peruvians need a Visa, then exit as an American. The comments are full of people picking and choosing their nationality based on Visa requirements or cost.

  95. Hello, the issue is that I used my American passport to enter Peru, instead of my Peruvian passport which I could not use because it had long expired. Now my question was: Since I am going to leave with my American Passport, will they see my entry stamp and be like Oh! You have overstayed 4 years! Now pay the fine if you want to go back. Or, will it all be ok if I show my Peruvian Passport, and tell them that at the time my peruvian passport was expired. Will they even care? What if I renew my American passport? (because I cannot find it) and I show them both…will that be a good solution?

  96. Sarah, sorry for my sincericity:

    Only in a very very stupid action you will show your american passport to peruvian immigration authorities. As i said you before, IN PERU, YOU ARE ONLY PERUVIAN AND SHOULD NEVER PRESENT YOURSELF AS AMERICAN.

    No country recognize other nationalities in its nationals.

    YOU WILL NOT “LEAVE WITH YOUR AMERICAN PASSPORT”. you will show at the check in your american passport ONLY to inform the airliner you have the right to abode in USA. You will show your PERUVIAN passport to immigration authorities in peru.

    of course, you will enter USA as an AMERICAN citizen, showing ypour american passport.

    unless there are facts omitted in your message.

  97. Marvin,

    You are right.

    When I said “never show two passports” understand “never show two passports, at same time, for the immigration officer, unless requested”.

  98. Sarah,

    bottom line:


    leave on your PERUVIAN PASSPORT.

    Have a nice flight!

  99. Celso, I can’t undo the past. I know that I should have used the Peruvian Passport when I came in, but it was expired, that is why I had to use the American passport. You keep saying what I should have done, but unfortunately I didn’t, that is why I am concerned, otherwise they wouldn’t be an issue, and I won’t be asking for help.

  100. I guess you haven’t read the part when I said that if I leave as a peruvian I would be requested a visa.

  101. You need to relax, I am the one with the problem but I am not going to be offensive to you or anyone else. I will just follow Marvin’s advice. Thanks anyways.

  102. Sarah

    Im not telling you to change the past. I’m telling you not to make the same mistake you did in the past.

    You will leave on your Peruvian passport. That’s all you will produce to Peruvian immigration at exit.

  103. Sarah
    What part you did not understand?

    Why do you think you will need a vida to enter usa if you are really an American citizen?

    I will draw up to you:

    In peru:

    At check in – produce your AMERICAN PASSPORT

    IN USA
    Produce your American passaport to immigration

    Is it clear now?

  104. Sarah

    You “problem” is imaginary and I suspect you are only looking for attention here!

    Or else….

  105. Celso, I just needed advice from people who knew about this, I really hope that I am worrying about something that will not be an issue. I will follow Marvin’s advice as he seems clear and polite. I do not need any attention from someone I don’t even know, what you say is just absurd. I really do not need your opinion about anything at all, do not worry so much, is not your problem anyways.

  106. My American passport has an “entry stamp” 183 days! I stayed 4 years. Just forget it, or learn to calm down so you can read with more attention.

  107. Happy to know that after draw up my lecture, you finally understood!
    Good you noticed that Marvin just repeat what i thaught you before!

    have a nice travel ๐Ÿ˜‰

  108. Oh, I am glad you have a sense of humor. Marvin does not repeat at all what you say. If that is what you think and that makes you happy, good for you.

  109. Good bye, as I said I will fallow Marvin advice. You do not need to worry, thanks. I hope you no not replay anything, since I am not asking you a question.

  110. Just written to Peruvian immigration a very strange case I have seen in a forum. An individual try bypassing controls.
    It is up to them now!

  111. I see you have bigger problems than mine, I will solve mi issue thanks to Marvin, but you, you need professional help. You just want to have the last word. So be it, I bet you are going to reply after this too.

  112. You deal with IMmigration when your ENTER a country. I have NEVER dealt with immigration or customs when leaving a country. Which is why, once you’re in the country, they don’t really give a flying frog what citizen you’re a country of. You could have been born there, you could have entered legally, you could have overstayed, you could have entered illegally. You’re leaving. You’re not their problem anymore. As long as the airline can determine you have the right to enter your destination country (Peruvian + Visa or American), they don’t have to worry about you being denied and having to carry you back. You can leave with either passport. American, if you can find it, and it’s not expired (you’ll need it to enter the US anyway), will save you the Visa requirement.

  113. >I have NEVER dealt with immigration or customs when leaving a country.<
    I correct myself – Caribbean nations, I'm assuming due to high tourist flows, often given you an entry chit which must be produced upon exit. No idea what would happen if you tried to leave without one. Though I suspect many have been lost on drunken nights at the beach party.

  114. Hello,
    i have a question that no one could answer to me so far. I own EU passport but about to apply for the UK one. I was banned from South Africa (12 months) for (unintentionally) overstaying my visa by 10 days. I am wondering, if i get the UK passport, could i possibly re-renter SA (while i still have ban on my original passport)? What could possibly happen? The passport number will be obviously different. But date and place of birth same. What info would their computer show when they scan my new passport? Will it match the info up with my old passport?


  115. Interesting comments…

    Clarifying a few things concerning dual citizenship…
    1. At birth when father is a German citizen offspring are German citizens. From year 2000 must register foreign birth within 1 year at German Consulate.
    2. Gerrman mothers have this right from 1975 onwards, in some cases certain years before 1975.
    3. Offspring born overseas, if under 18 become automatic US citizens if one or both parents naturalize without having to give up citizenship of birth.
    4. Not extremely difficult to receive an exemption from Bundesverwaltungsamt to apply for an additional citizenship. Can be done without attorney. If U.S. citizenship applies bear in mind, if one decides to reside outside U.S. it is almost impossible to open a foreign bank account as a U.S. citizen, plus asset reporting requirements, forget about any investment opportunities offered by any bank as those are totally prohibited. If included in a foreign partnership, real reporting headache, if lucky enough to enter into one! As mentioned above yearly U.S. tax returns a must.
    5. Germany allows dual nationality from any member of EU.
    6. Believe I covered most situations if not there are great sources of info out there, take time and google.

  116. Please answer this question of mine. I have both Canadian passport and Vietnamese passport. I plan to be in Vietnam more than a year. What should I do at immigration of Canada and at Immigration of Vietnam when I go to Vietnam from Canada. What should I do on the way back to Canada too. Please reply to my email address. It is [email protected] Thank you very much. Nghia Truong

  117. I have a question regarding dual citizenship-So, in the event that there is a war between lets say, Argentina and Chile, and someone has passports for both, who is their allegiance to? Did immigration law for quite a number of years and while you can’t have two “green cards” or permanent residency, you can have two passports??? Doesn’t make sense to me but that’s just me..

  118. In your example, Argentina will always only recognise you as Argentinian. Chile will always recognise you as Chilean.
    Everywhere else, will recognise you as the nationality you claim on pass the immigration.

  119. Hi,
    I was wondering if you know if my daughter (5weeks) can use her US passport to enter Germany. She has dual citizenship (born in US with a German parent).
    I’m afraid I won’t get her German passport in time for our trip to Germany.


  120. In need of your fast advice.
    My friend has dual citizenship and holds an AU/EU passport.
    As her AU passport was relatively soon to expire, she chose to put her Lao visa on her EU passport as it had a longer expiry.
    She came in Thailand a few days ago and at entry showed her AU passport, which got stamped.
    However, when she went to leave Thailand yesterday to go to Lao, when she showed her dual passports she was denied entry by the airline. The reason being is that an ASEAN agreement meant you are only allowed to travel to certain ASEAN countries only one passport.
    Has anything had a similar experience? What should she do?
    She is scrambling to think of how to solve this problem. As her AU passport is expiring, she would not be eligible for a Lao visa at the border.
    I hope I’m not oversharing information but she is stressed out!

  121. My parents are Chinese, and I was born in the US. When I was 8 years old, my parents moved to the UK. I’ve graduated in the UK. I hold Chinese, US and UK passports. It’s superb for travelling, but I sometimes question myself the place I belong to.

  122. It’s worth noting that EU countries like Germany and the UK, and many more, don’t actually have laws requiring you to use your EU passport to enter. You can enter on your US passport, especially if you don’t have your EU one, or it has expired. You have a right to enter, and especially if you are entering an EU country that is not your country of citizenship, the treaty requires you to be allowed in as an EU citizen in case they want to deny you entry as a US citizen for whatever reason – you would then just have to somehow prove your EU nationality with, say, a national ID or even a phone call to a relative, etc.

  123. I’m a dual citizen. I have been accepted for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa on my Netherlands passport. However to get there I want to fly through the USA and then travel to Canada by land border. As I already have a multiple entry B1 tourist visa for the USA on my NZ Passport, would it work for me to fly into the USA on my NZ passport, and then at the Canada Border show them my Netherlands passport? Would Canada care that theres no USA entry stamp on my Netherlands passport?

  124. Leaving Argentina require preemptive doctoral quadrant. this is available only to nationals presenting out of country exit visas. they will allow you back to US but global entry expedites. avoid the dual partisan and be honest. then your US passport will be helpful. If trouble the consulate will allow EU exemptions .

  125. I’m the same as you Lucky. I was born in the US though both my parents are from South Asia. Love the fortunate benefits!

  126. I am a dual citizen of Canada (by birth) and Ireland (by descent). I am a taking a trip later this month to Chile and Argentina (in that order). I will be flying into Chile from Canada directly but crossing into Argentina via a land crossing, and back also via land for the return flight.

    I was planning to enter & leave Argentina on my Irish passport to avoid the US$78 Reciprocity fee (which is being phased out January 1st a few days after my planned arrival). I hadn’t planned on entering Chile on the Irish passport however, and have booked all my flights using my Canadian passport information.

    It occurred to me that the Argentinian border agents might find it strange that I had no entry/exit stamps from Chile in my passport (no stamps at all actually, I have never used it). Should I be worried about this?

    The other option would be to enter Chile on my Irish passport but I’m not sure if that will cause a problem since my flight was booked using my Canadian passport. I presume there is some electronic information transferred to the Chilean customs about who is on the flight, will it cause a mess if I present a different passport upon arrival in Chile?

    I suppose my last (and probably safest) option would be to just pay the US$78 reciprocity fee and do the entire trip on my Canadian passport but of course I’d rather spend that on some nice food & wine ๐Ÿ™‚

  127. I would not pay the 78 bucks.
    i did things like this a lot of times and never the immigration officer bothered with exit stamps from prior country. If they ask, just tell the truth ๐Ÿ™‚

  128. So if I possess a German passport and a US passport. I always have to carry both when traveling from US to EU zone and vice versa? and then the immigration offices will ask where I went and the stamp in my passport and I then show them the other passport? please make this clear to me.

  129. my wife has both the US passport and the Hong Kong SAR passport, but the names on these two passports are different by the last name, one with my last name and other with maiden name. we will be going to Russia. We have booked tickets with the HKSAR Passport particulars to fly into Russia since HKSAR Passport holders do not need visa to enter Russia. On our return back to US, we have the return tickets with the US Passport particular. My wife is very concerned how this will work with the airline and thru the immigration when leaving Russia. would appreciate all with experience to share your wisdom.


  130. I currently holds the following passports:
    1. UK (British Citizen)
    2. Hong Kong SAR (can have Visa free access to Russia)
    3. Hong Kong Permanent ID (only usable when entering / exiting Hong Kong and Macau)
    Will travel on the following itinerary: (will Enter border for EVERY flight due to separate PNRs)
    1. Hong Kong -> Frankfurt
    2. Frankfurt -> St.Petersburg
    3. Moscow -> London
    4. London -> Hong Kong
    Want to ask about the actual sequence of passport usage at CHECK IN and IMMIGRATION for each of the above flights

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