Logistics Of Traveling With Two Passports (And Dual Citizenship)

Logistics Of Traveling With Two Passports (And Dual Citizenship)

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I’m lucky enough to have dual citizenship, as both of my parents were born in Germany, and I was born in the United States. Sometimes I get questions from readers about the logistics of traveling with two passports, and figured that’s worth addressing in a post, given that I imagine this is something that many people deal with.

Which passport should you provide when you book an airline ticket? Which passport should you show when you check-in for your flight, or when you go through immigration? Do you need to show both passports at every stage of the travel journey? Let me address some of those points…

How I decide which passport to use when traveling

Let me first share how I go about deciding which passport to use when traveling. I generally use my passport from Germany:

  • When I’m entering Germany or any other European Union country; this allows me to avoid getting “stamped,” as I’m always trying to avoid filling up passport pages
  • When I’m entering a country where a German passport is advantageous compared to a US passport; for example, some countries have reciprocity fees or require visas for those with US passports, but not for those with German passports

I use my passport from the United States in virtually all other situations, including:

  • When I’m entering the United States, both since I have Global Entry, and since entering with my German passport would require an electronic travel authorization
  • When I’m entering countries under any other circumstances, since it’s easier for me to get a second passport in the US than in Germany, if I run out of pages

Furthermore, I usually try to use the same passport when entering a particular country, even if it’s not the United States or European Union. For example, I once used two different passports to enter the same country several months apart, and that got me sent to secondary, as it seemed to trigger some alert in the system.

I use my US & German passports in different situations

A practical example of passport logistics

Let me give an example of my typical passport “routine” when traveling between the US and Germany. There are a few general things to keep in mind:

  • You always need to enter and exit a country with the same passport
  • Many countries require you to use your passport from that particular country if you are a citizen
  • There’s no shame in admitting you have two passports, if you get confused at any step in the process; you could even proactively present both passports every step of the way

With that in mind:

  • It doesn’t matter what passport information you enter into the itinerary when you book, if it’s even required
  • When I check in for my flight to Germany, I provide my German passport, since this is the information shared with German authorities, and determines my eligibility to enter the country (and in some cases determines whether online check-in is possible)
  • When I land in Germany I use my German passport at immigration, which avoids me getting a stamp (and saves space in my passport)
  • When I check in for my flight back to the US, I provide my US passport, since that’s what will be shared with US authorities, and avoids me needing an electronic travel authorization
  • Then when I go through departure immigration (which is a step that doesn’t exist on the outbound, since we don’t have that) I present my German passport, since it’s the passport with which I entered the country
  • Then when I land in the US I again present my US passport, since that’s what I need to get through immigration, and also what has Global Entry

I’ve certainly been absent-minded in the past and accidentally showed the wrong passport, whether at check-in, immigration, or wherever. However, that has always been quickly noticed and corrected without issue.

When traveling to Germany I use my German passport

Bottom line

I’m incredibly fortunate to have dual citizenship, as I have both a US and German passport. Hopefully the above sheds some light on how I decide to use each passport, and also helps anyone who may be trying to figure out which passport to use when traveling.

To anyone else who has passports from two different countries, how do you decide which to use when traveling?

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  1. dee Guest

    Ben, How is access to German passport?? Via Marriage or Heritage??

  2. LMA Guest

    I have a question ...I am dual USA & German Citizen - I am flying to Berlin - I will show my German Passport on entry...Plan to travel by train to Amsterdam (EU) country...which passport should I show - USA, German or both?

  3. TP Guest

    İf one travels on a two-leg connection itinerary from the US to the EU, a knowledgeable agent can enter two passports in their system - the US one on the transatlantic leg, and the EU passport on the Intra-Schengen flight. It's totally doable, and this way you satisfy the requirement to present your US passport on departure. Even if you technically arrive on your first leg with a US passport, and one must leave back...

    İf one travels on a two-leg connection itinerary from the US to the EU, a knowledgeable agent can enter two passports in their system - the US one on the transatlantic leg, and the EU passport on the Intra-Schengen flight. It's totally doable, and this way you satisfy the requirement to present your US passport on departure. Even if you technically arrive on your first leg with a US passport, and one must leave back to the US on a US passport, 9 out of 10 times there are no issues using the EU passport on the gates when you enter or leave the Schengen Border. Upon boarding the Intra-Schengen flight, the gate agent is supposed to compare your name and photo from your Passport or National ID card. Since pulling the card out of my wallet is easier than dealing with bulkier passports, I've never had an issue with showing ID at boarding while registered on a passport.
    So the rule is regardless of what passport you enter at pre-registration or check-in, entering the EU as an European is usually easier, and when going back to the US one must show the US passport to get back there.
    The only slight confusion I've had is while attempting to enter some of the GCC counties on a US passport after you have entered before on a European one. They seem to prefer the European or rather the first passport in their info systems. And many gates in the UAE now don't even require passport scanning, only eye biometrics.

  4. JB Guest

    I have dual-citizenship with the US and Pakistan, and passports from both countries.

    My strategy is pretty simple. My Pakistani passport is ranked second worst in the world with visa free entry to under 30 countries (almost all of which are small countries I would rarely travel to). So, I basically use my US passport everywhere lol. But my Pakistani passport is great when I need to get a visa in advance for a certain...

    I have dual-citizenship with the US and Pakistan, and passports from both countries.

    My strategy is pretty simple. My Pakistani passport is ranked second worst in the world with visa free entry to under 30 countries (almost all of which are small countries I would rarely travel to). So, I basically use my US passport everywhere lol. But my Pakistani passport is great when I need to get a visa in advance for a certain country, because I can provide that passport to an embassy or consulate and not worry about the timeframe because I can still travel with my US passport. If I need to go to Pakistan during that time, I have an Overseas Citizen National ID card that allows me to enter with my US passport (no need for a visa). My Pakistani passport is great for traveling to China though.

    I have noticed that not everyone knows about dual citizenship, so I have had check-in agents and airport staff who detained me because they saw that I had two passports. They didn't understand why, and thought I was a criminal or something. I've also seen this happen to others. For example, last week, there was a European traveler behind me with two passports from EU countries. An airport agent started harassing her, but his English was very limited, so he couldn't understand her response. I translated to him, and explained why she has two passports and how it's common. I then showed him how I also have two. I think he was about to detain me as well lol. Then his supervisor came over and let us go.

  5. Tim Dumdum Guest

    Multinational Canadian citizens must travel back to Canada on a valid Canadian passport, for example. Otherwise, the airlines won't allow boarding. And you cannot use a passport of your other country instead, as you won't be able to generate Canadian eTA authorization.
    Those Canadians, or others, who are also EU-member state citizens, shall identify themselves with an EU-country passport or even national ID, when entering and exiting Schengen Area external borders.
    Checking in...

    Multinational Canadian citizens must travel back to Canada on a valid Canadian passport, for example. Otherwise, the airlines won't allow boarding. And you cannot use a passport of your other country instead, as you won't be able to generate Canadian eTA authorization.
    Those Canadians, or others, who are also EU-member state citizens, shall identify themselves with an EU-country passport or even national ID, when entering and exiting Schengen Area external borders.
    Checking in for a flight... That really depends. An Italian-Canadian, or Portuguese-Caadian may not be questioned, if travelling to Europe on a Canadian passport, for a short stay, with a roundtrip ticket in hand. It could be a totally different story, if going to Europe with a O/W ticket in hand, or for a stay to exceed 90 days in 180 days. The passengers shall identify themselves also with an EU ID.
    Once European ESTA is in place, I bet the airlines will have to allow their websites to proceed with advance passenger registration on TWO passports.
    Other case: I flew to Taiwan on my CAD passport, whereas I've cleared both TW immigration controls on my ITA passport, in order to take advantage of E-gates. It worked seamlessly

  6. Ken Adams Guest

    @JohnG you sound very sure of yourself, but you are totally wrong. Also, do you have two passports?

  7. Pavel Guest

    I have an EU and an Australian passport. Use AUS for all bookings as this is my home base. Use EU for entering, moving around and leaving EU. But when leaving EU the airline want to see also my AUS passport just to be sure that I can enter AUS. Works well.

  8. David Fagan Guest

    My husband and I, both have Australian passports and UK — he being born there and me as both parents were UK citizens before moving to Australia 60 years ago. Once in Europe he managed to leave his Australian passport in his jeans pocket and washed it just a day before we were to fly back to Sydney. So to depart Amsterdam and arrive in Sydney he used his UK passport. On arrival on Sydney...

    My husband and I, both have Australian passports and UK — he being born there and me as both parents were UK citizens before moving to Australia 60 years ago. Once in Europe he managed to leave his Australian passport in his jeans pocket and washed it just a day before we were to fly back to Sydney. So to depart Amsterdam and arrive in Sydney he used his UK passport. On arrival on Sydney he presented his UK passport only to be chided by Immmigration for not using his Australian passort which is what he left Australia on. When he explained that his Australia passport was effectively mangled the Immigration officer took a stamp to his UK passport which said it was no longer valid and told him he would not be able to use it to travel and thar if he ever wanted to travel again it had to be with his Australian passport. Needless to say he applied for both nations passport asap and has me do all clothes washing.

  9. vtvoyager787 Member

    I am a dual citizen of the US and the Philippines. When I travel to the Philippines, I present BOTH passports to Immigration. I do the same when I leave as you still have to go through Philippine Immigration. Being a dual citizen exempts me from paying the Philippine departure tax that is mandatory for Filipinos. Once I presented only my US passport on departure and the Immigration agent asked me for my Philippine passport....

    I am a dual citizen of the US and the Philippines. When I travel to the Philippines, I present BOTH passports to Immigration. I do the same when I leave as you still have to go through Philippine Immigration. Being a dual citizen exempts me from paying the Philippine departure tax that is mandatory for Filipinos. Once I presented only my US passport on departure and the Immigration agent asked me for my Philippine passport. I guess they do track. Both passports get stamped entering and leaving the Philippines.

  10. iamhere Guest

    The reason what you do works is because the airline and the authorities do not need to check about your entry for the other country. Where it gets more complicated is if you have a visa for your ongoing destination in your other passport than what you entered that country in.

  11. Chad Wilson Guest

    Actually on flights leaving the US, you should always use your US passport, even if the flight is going to Germany. Us law requires you to enter and exit the country on a US passport for all US citizens.

    1. JB Guest

      That law is true, but is isn't ever enforced, so you shouldn't have a problem. The US doesn't have exit immigration checks, so no US officials or immigration officers check which passport you are traveling on (unless you are detained for some reason).

  12. Andrew from Yucatan Guest

    Just like Ben, I use the same logic, I have two passports, Mexico & USA, and potentially I can apply for Italian & Russian. There was time in Mexico where it was forbidden to have dual nationalities and when you reach 18 years old you needed to choose only one nationality. Crossing the border and passport control in Mexico was a complicated process. Interesting, entering many countries as Mexican usually I receive a warm welcome.

  13. Peter Papier Guest

    But... What if your name on the US passport is different from the one German document?

  14. George (Madrid) Guest

    As a dual EU US citizen, it is important to clarify that you cannot enter the US with a non US passport (an ESTA on your German passport would be impossible).

  15. Fed UP Guest

    not quite accurate.... You are supposed to use your passport of the country to which you have a passport... Therefore, when you enter the US, you must use your US passport. You should be using your German passport to enter Germany (and Schengen). It is explicitly stated for the US. Most countries have this requirement. When you enter a country that you have no status, you can choose the passport to use, and be subject...

    not quite accurate.... You are supposed to use your passport of the country to which you have a passport... Therefore, when you enter the US, you must use your US passport. You should be using your German passport to enter Germany (and Schengen). It is explicitly stated for the US. Most countries have this requirement. When you enter a country that you have no status, you can choose the passport to use, and be subject to the visa requirements of that country, based on the passport you use.

  16. Alex Guest

    Not all countries care about consistency. Entered Montenegro by air with one passport (no visa required for Montenegro) and left it by land to Croatia using another one (no visa required for Croatia). Actually did show them the one I used to enter but the insisted on using another one.

  17. Ricport Guest

    THANKS for this post! I have U.S. & Polish citizenship and generally do the same thing, except I was using my Polish passport with the airline on my outbound departure. Will use the U.S. one moving forward.

  18. Jake Guest

    If I were in you I'd remove this post. If the far-right comes to power, having a second passport will be forbidden and will go after anyone they know had one to provide proof they rescinded their other citizenship.

    For most of history, multiple citizenships were banned. The era of personal freedoms seems to be getting over, and we're entering the one where the government tells you what you can and cannot do (who to marry, whether to have an abortion, etc.).

    1. Ricport Guest

      ...annnd cue the polititwits who have to cram politics into a subject that has nothing to do with politics. Get a life!

    2. Joshua K. Guest

      If dual citizenship really did get banned (something I doubt will happen), then everyone with dual citizenship would have to give up one of their passports anyway. Whether or not they had ever publicly announced that they had dual citizenship wouldn't make a difference.

    3. AD Diamond

      @Jake, I'm a democrat and even I think that's alarmist. Getting rid of dual citizenship would require that (1) congress pass a law or (2) the supreme court overturn their existing ruling. It's not out of the question, but I just don't think this is a priority for the far right. And if they do, there's nothing illegal about being a dual citizen now, as @joshua k. pointed out.

    4. Ken Adams Guest

      You are a sad, sad, misinformed person. Please consider leaving your mom's basement more often, while wearing a mask.

    5. dee Guest

      Not true --It is the far-left that will have a problem with you....DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  19. Vardomannen Guest

    I have both UK and Norwegian citizenship. Was born in the UK, but have lived in Norway for 30 years. My UK passport has recently lapsed, but I will renew it. I use my Norwegian passport when I travel to the UK for one main reason: I found out that you are treated as a citizen of the country whose passport you used to enter. With current instability and war both here and there, I...

    I have both UK and Norwegian citizenship. Was born in the UK, but have lived in Norway for 30 years. My UK passport has recently lapsed, but I will renew it. I use my Norwegian passport when I travel to the UK for one main reason: I found out that you are treated as a citizen of the country whose passport you used to enter. With current instability and war both here and there, I don't want to risk being unable to leave the UK if suddenly all men of a certain age are prohibited from leaving due to military threat or likewise. Laugh, but it happened in the Ukraine, and the world is a bit volatile at the moment. I'm not against defending my country, but my country in such an instance would be Norway, where my family is. Sad that we have to even think like that, but it is sadly the truth.

  20. Elizabeth A Guest

    Avoiding legal liability is another great reason for U.S. citizens to enter the U.S. on their U.S. passport :)

    "It is unlawful for a citizen of the United States, unless excepted under 22 CFR 53.2, to enter or depart, or attempt to enter or depart, the United States, without a valid U.S. passport."

    22 CFR § 53.1 (https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/22/53.1)

  21. M Fulton Guest

    @Ben would be worth adding the usefulness of the German (or other EU) passport with regards to EES (now scheduled to start from 6th October 2024) and ETIAS (intro 1st half of 2025).

  22. CS-KPE Guest

    I'm Brazilian (B1/B2 visa valid through 2028 to US) and also hold an EU passport
    I've been to the US a few times with BR passport, and renewed my B1/B2 once. Once it expires, am I good to use the EU passport then? or that might be tricky?

    1. AD Guest

      Yes you are. I also had a B1/B2 visa on my Brazilian passport and used it to enter the US many times during its 10 year validity. After the visa expired, I started entering with my Italian passport (with an ESTA). Never had an issue (the CBP agents actually know you entered the US with a different passport before. They have asked me on occasion, but it was never a problem)

  23. snic Diamond

    "When I land in Germany I use my German passport at immigration, which avoids me getting a stamp (and saves space in my passport):

    This makes it sound like you use your German passport out of convenience. But doesn't Germany require you to use your German passport when entering the EU, the same way the US requires you to use your American passport to return home?

    Also, one thing you didn't touch on is that...

    "When I land in Germany I use my German passport at immigration, which avoids me getting a stamp (and saves space in my passport):

    This makes it sound like you use your German passport out of convenience. But doesn't Germany require you to use your German passport when entering the EU, the same way the US requires you to use your American passport to return home?

    Also, one thing you didn't touch on is that the consulate you use if you get into any kind of trouble might depend on which passport you used to enter the country. Say you enter Egypt with your German passport, and get arrested. Would the US consulate help you? Or would it have to be the German consulate?

  24. _ar Guest

    The US requires US citizens to enter on their US passport. The US doesn't care how many other passports/citizenships you have, as long as you are a US citizen on US soil.

  25. Santastico Guest

    I have 3 passports and follow similar steps like Ben described above. As for those saying you need to leave the US with the US passport, that’s not really the case. When flying from the US to Europe, I always present my EU passport at the check-in in the US so European authorities have a record I am arriving there. Sometimes the check in agent asks if I am a US citizen which I confirm...

    I have 3 passports and follow similar steps like Ben described above. As for those saying you need to leave the US with the US passport, that’s not really the case. When flying from the US to Europe, I always present my EU passport at the check-in in the US so European authorities have a record I am arriving there. Sometimes the check in agent asks if I am a US citizen which I confirm but very rarely they ask for the US passport. Never ever had an issue coming back using Global Entry.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      By doing this, you just volunteered to provide USICS information that you hold dual citizenship, not that it have any affects yet.

    2. Santastico Diamond

      Who cares? I didn’t apply for other citizenships. I was born with them because of my parents. I chose to become American and informed the US authorities of my other citizenships when I applied for the American one over 15 years ago. Thus, I have nothing to hide and couldn’t care less. When you have citizenships by blood there is not much you can do.

  26. Chris Guest

    I would agree some stronger language is needed in this post . You are required by law to enter the US with US passport. It is really bad if you were to try to travel to the US without it. (and you can loose your global entry if they find out too)

  27. ClownDancer Guest

    Ben. You are so lucky with dual citizenship. I wish i had that. Just more opportunity with German and American passports. Are you bi-lingual? I envy prople who speak 2 languages.

  28. Daniel B. Guest

    Great post Lucky. I too noticed that on occasions, I can only check in online if I use my EU passport (and not the US one) during online check in.

  29. Schlange Guest

    When I was in college I worked pax service for Lufthansa in the states. The conversion to biometric passports had just begun, and most US passports were still soft covered with the photo page on the inside cover. My first German biometric passport was a real eye opener…hard cover, solid photo page, and the crest on the cover…I love my country, but I thought to myself “man, German passports look so much cooler than ours…”. Good times :-)

  30. Gary Welsby Guest

    I have a UK and a US passport. I live in The US permanently so I always use my US passport no matter where I travel. When my daughter was born she was also entitled to dual citizenship so we got her a UU passport as well as a US passport but we were told. Ever to use the UK passport even on trips to the UK as it would cause problems with the US immigration services on our return. We both now only have expired UK passports which we keep as proof of UK citizenship.

    1. HkCaGu Guest

      It used to be that US immigration officers would question citizens for the lack of stamps after visiting other countries. It is no longer the case. So many countries don't stamp anymore. Especially if your country of birth is your other nationality.

  31. rrapynot Guest

    A few months ago I entered Schengen at VCE using my UK passport since I was arriving from London. I’ve always been told by immigration officials in the UK and Schengen that this is a rule. You need to use the passport for the country you last departed from.

    I exited Schengen from BCN and used my U.S. passport since that was the county I was traveling to. I’ve been told by U.S. offices...

    A few months ago I entered Schengen at VCE using my UK passport since I was arriving from London. I’ve always been told by immigration officials in the UK and Schengen that this is a rule. You need to use the passport for the country you last departed from.

    I exited Schengen from BCN and used my U.S. passport since that was the county I was traveling to. I’ve been told by U.S. offices that this is also a rule.

    6 months later I entered Schengen using my US passport and was initially refused entry because my passport contained an exit stamp but no entry stamp. I explained what had happened and was told that the stamp in my UK passport would work but I didn’t have it with me this time. They said they’d accept a photo if someone at home could send one but there was nobody at home. I was eventually let in but told that I would have to pay a fine and may be banned from Schengen due to what appear d to be an overstay. Before I left Schengen I was able to get proof of travel from British Airways for the flight from LHR-VCE and that was accepted when I left Schengen. All because of Brexit.

    1. albert Guest

      Actually not at all because of "Brexit", the UK was never part of Schengen.

    2. John Guest

      The UK was indeed never part of Schengen, but before Brexit UK passport holders had freedom of movement in and out of the EU. They did not need passport stamps and were not at risk of overstay. So yes, it is actually because of Brexit.

    3. HkCaGu Guest

      You couldn't have been more mistaken. This article just explained you're supposed to switch passport mid-trip. Italian immigration doesn't care where you've arrived from, and Spanish immigration doesn't care where you're heading to. Schengen countries do not yet use a centralized computer system, and they look at stamps to match things up, but even after when they go live, basic common sense tells us they'll keep records using passport numbers. You make sure a departure...

      You couldn't have been more mistaken. This article just explained you're supposed to switch passport mid-trip. Italian immigration doesn't care where you've arrived from, and Spanish immigration doesn't care where you're heading to. Schengen countries do not yet use a centralized computer system, and they look at stamps to match things up, but even after when they go live, basic common sense tells us they'll keep records using passport numbers. You make sure a departure record matches the arrival record so you're not recorded as an overstay. Sure they wouldn't record a UK citizen entering and exiting before Brexit, but a US exit stamp only would still give you trouble.

  32. AC Guest

    As someone who has 4 passports, I just use whichever one makes it easier and faster when it comes to how fast the line is - it also helps when you spend the time to get licenses from other countries so that the worse that can happen is a fine for minor speeding offences instead of getting booked.
    Whenever I go home in NZ, I book rentals with my UK license, saves the trouble of having to deal with points etc.

  33. Airfarer Diamond

    US/UK passports. As described. Leave USA on US, arrive anywhere in Europe on US, except UK where I use UK. Leave Europe on US and arrive in USA on US.
    Those are pretty much the only continents between which I fly for business.

  34. Onespart Guest

    @Ben, what about your son? Does he have dual citizenship? Curious how it works for children with dual citizenship - does it add any complexity when traveling as a family? Assuming Ford only has US citizenship.

    1. Ryan Guest

      I can tell you from experience (wife and child dual US/EU), it's both a positive and a negative.

      If the country has electronic gates, I can't use those when traveling with my child since you have to be 14+ I think. On the plus side, I get to go with my family through the EU line when traveling to the EU, bypassing the longer lines for non-EU citizens.

      I've also been asked for a marriage...

      I can tell you from experience (wife and child dual US/EU), it's both a positive and a negative.

      If the country has electronic gates, I can't use those when traveling with my child since you have to be 14+ I think. On the plus side, I get to go with my family through the EU line when traveling to the EU, bypassing the longer lines for non-EU citizens.

      I've also been asked for a marriage certificate before to prove my relationship to my wife, so worth keeping a copy of that and a copy of the child's birth cert on hand.

  35. known traveler Guest

    When flying out of the US, if you have precheck, do you have to use your us passport? Or your German one will also work bc it's based on the precheck / global entry number?

    1. HkCaGu Guest

      Precheck is granted by passenger name and Known Traveler Number, and has nothing to do with flights being domestic or international.

  36. Ken Guest

    some countries use the airline check in information to track your exit: US and UK for example. So providing one passport at the check in and yet entering with another passport would cause any issues? Also, let's say you leave US with US passport then and enter Turkey with a German passport and exit Turkey with German passport and enter US with US passport. Wouldn't that be a problem for US because it has no track of traveling (wihout stamp on your passport)?

    1. putout Guest

      As the comments below allude, strictly speaking the entry and departure passport information may be required to be kept consistent. However, in practical experience a country typically doesn't bother to flag you up on it if you are a citizen, especially if you are only using your foreign passport to depart as opposed to enter.

      The US for example requires using your US passport for entry and departure (the latter logged electronically even though there...

      As the comments below allude, strictly speaking the entry and departure passport information may be required to be kept consistent. However, in practical experience a country typically doesn't bother to flag you up on it if you are a citizen, especially if you are only using your foreign passport to depart as opposed to enter.

      The US for example requires using your US passport for entry and departure (the latter logged electronically even though there are no physical controls), but plenty of people including Ben have exited using a foreign passport with no problems.

    2. putout Guest

      Also some countries don't even stamp passports on entry nowadays due to relying on electronic records. And the US is aware of citizens traveling on other countries' passports. So it's long past the time "missing" passport stamps where you "traveled to nowhere" causes any problems.

    3. Rrapynot Guest

      I just had an issue at LHR. I have UK and USA passports. When I scanned my boarding pass at the gate it did not work. Apparently there was a passport mismatch in the system that had to be cleared manually.

    4. Daniel B. Guest

      Once in Dublin when going though pre-clearance heading back to the US and presenting my US passport to the US immigration official, he asked me: "do you have another passport?" (I entered the EU using my EU passport).
      I of course said yes, and stated which one. He nodded without any further question, which indicated to me that he knew exactly what other passport I had. Interestingly I also noticed when I was standing...

      Once in Dublin when going though pre-clearance heading back to the US and presenting my US passport to the US immigration official, he asked me: "do you have another passport?" (I entered the EU using my EU passport).
      I of course said yes, and stated which one. He nodded without any further question, which indicated to me that he knew exactly what other passport I had. Interestingly I also noticed when I was standing there and looking at his PC monitor which was tilted towards me, that as he was talking to me, a picture of my checked bag on the carousel was displayed. This was 10 years ago.

    5. Joshua K. Guest

      Not all countries stamp passports anyway. If someone is a US citizen, returning to the US, and shows their US passport to the immigration official, why would the US immigration official care whether the person has or lacks a Turkish stamp on their US passport? The US immigration official isn't going to say, "Where's your proof that you went to another country?"; they are primarily concerned with whether the person is entitled to enter the US.

  37. John G Guest

    @Ben,

    Using your German passport is not an option for you since you are a US citizen. You cannot under any circumstances use the German passport to enter the USA. Likewise, you’re supposed to use your USA passport when departing the USA. Even if flying to EU, the US requires a record of departure.

    Proper process would be to check in with US passport and upon arrival to EU nation use the German passport...

    @Ben,

    Using your German passport is not an option for you since you are a US citizen. You cannot under any circumstances use the German passport to enter the USA. Likewise, you’re supposed to use your USA passport when departing the USA. Even if flying to EU, the US requires a record of departure.

    Proper process would be to check in with US passport and upon arrival to EU nation use the German passport for entry. Upon return, check in with US passport- use the German passport at EU exit customs.

    1. DistincTravel New Member

      I was just about to write the same thing! :-)

    2. DT Guest

      As a German citizen, he is obligated to use his German passport when entering the EU, even if it was expired. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor.

    3. R B Guest

      There is no passport check (by immigration or customs official) when departing the USA as a US citizen.
      Using TSA pre-check I only use my Driving license even when flying international out of JFK and using mobile boarding pass

    4. Julian Guest

      There is some sort of control for at least USA permanent residents as departure/ entry is a record that residency requirements are being maintained.

      My recollection is that even now with a US passport at check in I get asked for my US passport when I travel to a destination that I plan to enter on another passport. It may have taxation control implications?

    5. Santastico Guest

      Exactly. But you will be called at the gate to make sure they see your passport to ensure you are eligible to enter the country of destination.

  38. hk Guest

    Good post! In Korea, upon checking in for a flight to the US, I as a dual citizen need to show both passports. They want to see which passport I used to enter Korea (thus Korean passport) and whether I'm eligible to travel to the US without a proper visa (thus US passport). Then in the emigration, show only Korean passport. My friend, last month, mistakenly showed his US passport upon emigration and on that...

    Good post! In Korea, upon checking in for a flight to the US, I as a dual citizen need to show both passports. They want to see which passport I used to enter Korea (thus Korean passport) and whether I'm eligible to travel to the US without a proper visa (thus US passport). Then in the emigration, show only Korean passport. My friend, last month, mistakenly showed his US passport upon emigration and on that day, he lost his Korean citizenship (in Korea, dual citizenship is not allowed except only by birth). Now we get this kind of useful information easily online but back in the day, it was extremely confusing.

    1. Jody Guest

      This is an important caveat to Ben’s suggestion that you be upfront about having more than one passport. Some countries do not recognize dual citizenship, so if you have one of those passports you need to be extra careful about which passport you use and when.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      This is the authorities bullying their own citizen.

      If they really wanted to crack down on this they could have easily spotted this. Especially back when US was stamping passports.

  39. Elizabeth Guest

    Some countries also require you to use their passport to enter if you are a citizen. Canada is an example. I’m not sure how it’s enforced, but it’s something to keep in mind.

    1. JohnnieD Guest

      Thanks Ben. Just got a second passport (Ireland) and was wondering how to use it with global entry.

    2. Jeff Guest

      There's an exception for Americans.
      "American-Canadians can travel with a valid Canadian or U.S. passport."

      https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/entry-requirements-country.html

    3. Gabe Z Guest

      Not “some”. Effectively all.

      -G

  40. Andy 11235 Guest

    Generally agree. One important thing to remember is that your host country may not recognize multiple citizenships. In this situation emergency consular services might only be accessible from the country whose passport you used to enter. All nations are not equal in their support of citizens stranded abroad.

    Also, while not specifically for duals, many nations impose mandatory military or national service; if you are a citizen of such a country, be sure to...

    Generally agree. One important thing to remember is that your host country may not recognize multiple citizenships. In this situation emergency consular services might only be accessible from the country whose passport you used to enter. All nations are not equal in their support of citizens stranded abroad.

    Also, while not specifically for duals, many nations impose mandatory military or national service; if you are a citizen of such a country, be sure to properly register your foreign residence to avoid legal issues (i.e., entering on your US passport will not prevent your other country of citizenship from drafting you for national service).

    1. rrapynot Guest

      Consular access is based on which country of citizenship you were most recently in.

      I have UK and USA citizenship. If I flew SFO-LHR-DXB and had issues in Dubai, the USA would not be able to provide consular services.

    2. Gabe Zichermann Guest

      I don’t think this is accurate.

      Consular services are provided to US citizens worldwide, period. If I need a replacement passport, to register a birth or death, or to vote, the US consulate will definitely see me regardless of my most recent transit lol.

      Are you perhaps misusing “consular services”? Do you mean something else?

      -G

    3. Elphinstone Guest

      That's not universally true. Access to consular services really depends on the rules of the country where you are at. Some countries base it on the passport you entered with, some others base it on the country you live in (if you are a citizen of that country), while some countries restrict consular assistance to one country only, and your multiple citizenship countries' colsular officers may coordinate with each other on how best provide assistance...

      That's not universally true. Access to consular services really depends on the rules of the country where you are at. Some countries base it on the passport you entered with, some others base it on the country you live in (if you are a citizen of that country), while some countries restrict consular assistance to one country only, and your multiple citizenship countries' colsular officers may coordinate with each other on how best provide assistance to you. I suppose the example of Dubai may be the local rule in Dubai, but in general you don't cease to be a U.S. citizen and give up the right to U.S. consular assistance somewhere just because you were in the U.K. last.

      More information from the U.S. State Department here, under 7 FAM 086 CONSULAR PROTECTION AND SERVICES AND DUAL NATIONALITY:
      https://fam.state.gov/FAM/07FAM/07FAM0080.html

  41. Joe Guest

    It is also worth noting that if you are a US citizen you are legally required to enter the US on your US passport.

  42. Billy Bob Guest

    Care to share which country flagged you for entering with a different passport a few months later? It's something I do quite often and I'm always curious what they're seeing on their immigration screens...

  43. gideyup11 Member

    I am also a dual citizen holding Canadian and US passports. Grew up in Canada (❤️) and 23+ years moved to US for work. US is home now. I use my Canadian passport when entering Canada (years ago a Canadian immigration official told me to do so), and use my US passport to re-enter US and for almost all other travel. That said, I did travel with my Canadian passport in 2017 to SE Asia,...

    I am also a dual citizen holding Canadian and US passports. Grew up in Canada (❤️) and 23+ years moved to US for work. US is home now. I use my Canadian passport when entering Canada (years ago a Canadian immigration official told me to do so), and use my US passport to re-enter US and for almost all other travel. That said, I did travel with my Canadian passport in 2017 to SE Asia, and in Laos, I was charged double the Visa fee vs. my partner on a US passport! So to Ben’s point, it pays to do research on visa fees of countries one travels to…

    1. canuck_in_ca Guest

      As Jeff mentioned there's an exception for Canadian-Americans and you can use your US passport to enter Canada. I would use my Canadian passport if going up there to work though. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/entry-requirements-country.html

    2. Fed UP Guest

      WRONG... https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/documents/dual-citizenship

      Returning to Canada
      If you are a Canadian with dual citizenship, you need to carry a valid Canadian passport to return to Canada by air.

      This applies even if:

      the country or countries you’re travelling from require you to carry your other passport
      you’re only passing through

    1. Peter Guest

      Not even remotely rich people problems. Millions of people have dual citizenship in the US, we're a country of immigrants after all. Millions of US citizens live abroad and acquire the local citizenship, or have it through blood. I've got 3 by blood.
      I think you'll find that unless both sides of your family have been in the US 100+ years you might easily qualify for another yourself, assuming whatever other country allows duals.

  44. German Expat Guest

    I also have a German and US Passport and use a similar approach. For some countries even if both passports would work I would use the general feeling about US citizens to decide if I use my German passport. Also the other way around with the history around Germany.

    But on a side note you MUST enter the US with your US passport:

    https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-with-special-considerations/Dual-Nationality-Travelers.html

    I also have a German and US Passport and use a similar approach. For some countries even if both passports would work I would use the general feeling about US citizens to decide if I use my German passport. Also the other way around with the history around Germany.

    But on a side note you MUST enter the US with your US passport:

    https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-with-special-considerations/Dual-Nationality-Travelers.html

  45. hbilbao Guest

    @Ben, I think "departure immigration" in Germany sounds rather confusing especially because you're actually emigrating. There are emigration checkpoints in many Latin American airports as well. US pre-clearance (i.e., YYZ) could be an example of "departure immigration", though.

    1. JD Guest

      Regardless of technically emigrating, the standard term is immigration: Immigration authority, Immigration facilities, Immigration procedures, etc.

  46. Steven E Guest

    Yes being both an Australian and US citizen I always enter the US on that passport and it’s nice to be told welcome home and enjoy your dual citizenship, then return into Australia on my Australian passport- no ESTA or Australia electronic visas required

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Peter Guest

Not even remotely rich people problems. Millions of people have dual citizenship in the US, we're a country of immigrants after all. Millions of US citizens live abroad and acquire the local citizenship, or have it through blood. I've got 3 by blood. I think you'll find that unless both sides of your family have been in the US 100+ years you might easily qualify for another yourself, assuming whatever other country allows duals.

1
Ricport Guest

...annnd cue the polititwits who have to cram politics into a subject that has nothing to do with politics. Get a life!

1
albert Guest

Actually not at all because of "Brexit", the UK was never part of Schengen.

1
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