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Traveling with Dual Citizenship

Fri May 19, 2017 7:10 pm


I haven't been able to find a straight answer on this anywhere. I have dual US/German citizenship. I know that I have to enter and exit the US on the US passport and the EU on the German one. But where exactly do I "exit" the United States? There is no passport control for departures in the United States. And based on what I've read, airlines send your check-in information to your destination. So if I were flying to Germany, I'd have to scan my German passport at airline check-in because I'd be using that one to enter Europe. Is that correct? How do other dual US/EU citizens deal with this? I want to be sure I do it the right way on an upcoming trip. It's been years since I've flown internationally, so there was always a person I could show both to at check-in, but I've heard from friends that now it's all just kiosks and that the people at the counters don't check you in - they just direct you back to the kiosks.

Thank you!
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Re: Traveling with Dual Citizenship

Fri May 19, 2017 7:51 pm

You should use the passport required for the destination at checkin as that's what will be entered into the system. For example, flying to Germany, you should check in using your German passport. The US has no exit control, so there shouldn't be a problem. Vice versa when you check in for your flight to the US, make sure your US passport info is in the system. Then just show your German passport when you exit the Schengen area.

Easy :)
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Re: Traveling with Dual Citizenship

Fri May 19, 2017 9:14 pm

I have never gotten through the whole check in process for an international flight without having to see an agent, you will run into an issue at check in, the agent is going to want your visa waiver form, which of course you don't have, so be prepared to have your US passport.....Also, if you are asked why you have two passports, answering "I am an international spy" may or may not get a smile....

Of course, the biggest benefit is having a choice in which line to wait when entering the EU.
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Re: Traveling with Dual Citizenship

Fri May 19, 2017 9:37 pm

Checking in with only the German passport will raise questions as to how you arrived and where your VWP or Green Card is in this case is.

Keep in mind while the US does not yet have formal exit controls yet (there is a trial currently ongoing at ATL ... hartsfield ), the airline collected exit information is shared with the government so they can track visa overstays, so trying to use your German passport would create a mismatch.
Ultimately the agent will want to see your US passport.
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Re: Traveling with Dual Citizenship

Fri May 19, 2017 11:50 pm

Exit with the US passport by checking in with it, and when you arrive in Germany, use the German passport to enter. And when you check in on the way back, use the US passport to check in and the German one to exit the country.

As an EU citizen, you are required to enter the EU and/or Schengen area with your EU passport.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
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Re: Traveling with Dual Citizenship

Sat May 20, 2017 7:54 am

Show both to the agent.
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Re: Traveling with Dual Citizenship

Mon May 22, 2017 1:50 am

Similar situation for me. Dual US and Greek citizenship. I always give the airline my US passport when departing or returning to the US. I use my Greek passport to clear customs in Greece and move throughout the Schengen area.
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Re: Traveling with Dual Citizenship

Tue May 23, 2017 10:46 pm

Thank you all for your advice! Hopefully everything runs smoothly :)
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Re: Traveling with Dual Citizenship

Wed May 24, 2017 2:39 am

I have two passports (British, Australian) and exited on one and entered on another without issue.

For example, Australia has exit immigration and like the US, it is illegal to enter or leave Australia as an Australian citizen on anything other than an Australian passport. But if I am returning to the UK (where I permanently live) that means I present my British passport at check-in with the airline (proving my right to enter the UK) but my Australian passport at exit immigration. I have never had an issue with this, and I have done it more times than I can possibly count.

For countries that do not have exit immigration, it can be slightly annoying for check-in staff. For example, my Australian passport previously had my US ETSA on it, but my British Passport is linked to my BAEC account, so this pre-fills to any BA booking. At check-in on a flight to the US, the agent would scan my Australian passport but not locate the booking. I give over my British passport t location etc booking, but since it does not have an ETSA, the passport details on the booking is changed, then I am free to go. It is never a problem.

I have had a similar situation travelling to Australia ex-UK - my British passport, with no Australian visa, has defaulted to the booking. It never takes more than a few moments at check-in to sort out.

In sort: check-in agents are used to people having multiple passports, and having to juggle them on bookings. Provided you are eligible to enter your destination country on one of your passports, they are valid, and within date, you will not encounter any problems.
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