Traveling with dual national (US-UK) baby to UK - can I do this with just US passport?

(52 Posts)
AlohaMama Fri 11-Jan-13 00:26:35

Hard to summarise this one in the subject but here is the deal. I live in the US. I'm expecting a baby in June who will be a dual national (British parents, born in the US). We will get the baby a US and a UK passport but both need the birth certificate to be sent off with the application, and both take 4-6 weeks, and we'd like to visit the UK ~8 weeks after baby is born so I don't think we'll have time to get both passports before the trip. I know the US demands every US citizen enters and leaves the US using a US passport, so I was planning on applying for that one and taking baby to the UK using their US passport. Does anyone know if that will cause problems for entering the UK? I'm assuming we'd just enter the foreign nationals queue at immigration and would have to get a visa stamp in baby's passport. We're only going on a holiday (2-3 weeks) so the length of stay isn't an issue.

Natation, we didn't renew our British passports this time around as we were only going to be in the UK for a month.

Mutley77 Wed 23-Jan-13 17:26:22

I think it depends on discretion of individual entry officer. You cant legally get a visa to enter britain if you are a british national.therefore the entry officer has to be happy with your proof of citizenship and a passport is the only guaranteed way of doing this.
If you havent claimed the citizenship you can get your visa on your "other" passport perfectly legally.
Only know this from personal experience.

That may be true but four of us entered this summer using two different airports and three different flights and all of us got in fine. The officer was kind of crappy to my 16 yr old flying internationally alone for the first time but let him through without any problems other than his attitude. I'm guessing a newborn travelling with two citizen parents won't be held up.

Mutley77 Wed 23-Jan-13 17:57:48

Scsf i dont know what passport you were on. My cousins baby was threatened with being deported in that situ. The op wont have a prob though as the baby wont have claimed british citizenship and will be entering on his own us passport with the correct visa for entering the uk so that is perfectly fine.

natation Wed 23-Jan-13 18:04:23

Just ignore Mutley77.
Dual nationals can travel to the UK on either document, you're not obliged to say to the Immigration Officer you're a British citizen! So long as you enter the UK on a USA passport and ask for entry to the UK as a US national, then you'd be given 6m as a visitor, easy peasy. If however you're a dual national and Nigeria is your other nationality, well you simply cannot do it with a Nigerian passport because your require a visa and dual nationals who are British citizens cannot have entry clearance. Ok I do know someone for whom it happened once, but the ambassador ordered staff to do it, god knows why, something to do with tax (probably evasion).

We were entering on US passports.

Your cousin could have just been unlucky. My brother is also a dual national (but had only ever had US passport) and went to Denmark for the day and was detained coming back through London. The officer wouldn't let him back in even though he had his UK birth cert. a library card, bank card etc. My father had to go to London to vouch for him. In the end he let him in for 30 days very reluctantly and told him he had to do something or rather in order to stay. When my brother looked into it he was told he didn't have to do anything and the officer was just being a jobs worth and should have let him in. I think some officers are just PITNs regardless of what paperwork you have.

Mutley77 Wed 23-Jan-13 18:09:34

How rude. I am only clarifying the advice my cousin was given at an immigration desk and clarifying the legal position. Of course these things are usually ok in practice but it only has to take a grumpy immigration officer habimg a bad day to mean that the situation is not ok.
Clarity could only be provided by ukba anyway not individuals on a public forum.

IamtheZombie Wed 23-Jan-13 18:17:22

I am an American married to a British citizen.

When we travel to America he goes through the American line with me. When we return to the UK I go through the British / EU line with him.

natation Wed 23-Jan-13 18:46:17

If you write untrue things, then I will correct them. I also missed the bit about a passport being the only guaranteed way of proving citizenship as that is incorrect too. I'm just a bit too tired to list all the other options. British national doesn't exist either, it's British citizenship, ok that is being picky but that's true too, and also there is British national (overseas) British overseas citizen etc etc.

natation Wed 23-Jan-13 18:59:22

The problem with a British citizen going outside the UK for the day and returning on a US passport and claiming they are a British citizen (no a UK birth certificate, library card, driving licence, bank card etc are surprisingly not proof of British citizenship) is that if they don't actually have a British passport or a certificate of registration of birth of a British citizen abroad or a certificate of naturalisation or other form of proof of their British citizenship, then it puts the person at the border point in an impossible position. Do you have any idea how many people try to enter the UK using this same method - some having never set foot in the UK and having been provided with a complete identity kit like bank card, UK birth certificate for someone else, library card? The only solution usually is if they are believed to be genuine but cannot prove their citizenship, they would be given temporary admission to return with documents / or 2 months to sort the proof out. You really cannot call the entry officer a jobsworth, let that person into the UK and their boss finds out and they will face losing their job, it IS their job to check nationality and identity and failing to do so is the major sin. For some people, it requires quite a bit of paperwork to prove their British citizenship, such as parents' naturalisation certificates or parents' passport details, their own birth certificates. So for dual nationals living in the UK and traveling out and back, I'd say a British passport is essential. The entry officer can check who is a British citizen AND who has also a British passport, the entry officer has no authority to bestow British citizenship upon those who are indeed British but have no proof of it. For those British citizens who live abroad and are travelling to the UK and no intention of staying and on holiday, although it's perhaps a good idea to enter the UK on a British passport, if they aren't a visa national in their other nationality, eg US national, then they can indeed visit the UK as a US national on holiday.

Ok but here is the crazy thing, the big sticking point was that he didn't have a driving license because at the time he didn't drive. That was what the officer was getting hung up on. Oh and his point at the time was that the ONLY document he was required to submit to get a passport would be his birth certificate, yet that isn't enough to get him in.

It is kind of crazy they can't check who he says he is, he was renting a flat, had paid taxes all his adult life, school records etc. it should be easy for officers to check these things (but I know it isn't and don't know why).

Mutley77 Wed 23-Jan-13 19:33:20

Natation - I am not sure what is going on because I am agreeing with what you are saying.

SCSF - they can't clarify identity from a birth cert because there is no photo - hence why you need a passport as the only guaranteed way to confirm citizenship which is what I said in the first place. The reason they were asking for a driving licence as well is because that would identify him and the birth cert could then be used to confirm his citizenship.

Mutley77 Wed 23-Jan-13 19:35:53

Natation - Sorry to clarify I don't agree that legally you can enter the UK on a visa if you are a national but I do agree that you can get away with it.

natation Wed 23-Jan-13 19:46:39

You can't clarify citizenship from a UK birth certificate because even the babies born to illegal entrants to the UK get UK birth certificates, as do French, US, Russian nationals who give birth in the UK whose children do not necessarily have British citizenship at birth.

Mutley77, I'm not sure if you're using the term visa in the term it is used in the UK, a visa is an entry clearance issued only to VISA nationals, eg those nationals of designated countries and stateless persons representing 99% of visa nationals.

People arriving in the UK are not granted visas to enter, visas are granted only at visa issuing posts outside the UK to visa nationals. People arriving in the UK are either granted leave to enter the UK if non EU/EEA/Swiss or admission to the UK if EU/EEA/Swiss or are exempt completely eg NATO forces as an example. If you are a US national and British citizen travelling to the UK on holiday, if you only present your US passport as proof of identity and nationality, there is no proof presented that you are a British citizen and therefore you are granted leave to enter the UK. It would take someone an hour at the border to go and check up on someone's British citizenship, do you think David Cameron would be happy with UK entry officials doing this to all potential dual nationals?

natation Wed 23-Jan-13 19:50:30

And really really you cannot confirm British citizenship from looking at a UK driving licence and UK birth certificate. One proves a person's place of birth, the other proves they have the right to drive in the UK and other countries. I will however repeat again you can prove your British citizenship with documents other than a British passport, but a UK driving licence, UK birth certificate, UK bank card, UK library card, Blockbuster membership card (yes I'm serious there, been tried!), all these documents do not prove your British citizenship.

natation Wed 23-Jan-13 19:52:43

I'm sorry but no-one can be issued with a British passport on the basis solely of a UK birth certificate. If that were the case, then I'm going on the internet now and ordering thousands of UK birth certificates, am going to apply for British passports for all those certificates, then I'm going to get thousands of British passports yippeee.

natation Wed 23-Jan-13 19:55:02

Oh and you can go to school all your life here, pay your taxes all your life here, yet these facts have no bearing at all on your legality in the UK or your nationality either. British nationality is not based on school attendance or on whether you pay tax or work in the UK.

Mutley77 Wed 23-Jan-13 21:02:39

Lost my answer - anyway I am not sure who the citizenship info was aimed at but unfortunately I am fully versed in citizenship having naturalised, by birth and by descent all among my DH and 2 x DC's so I am fully aware that being resident in a country would indicate citizenship. I was just trying to guess at why the other poster had the experience of being asked for a driving licence.

I thought that birth certs did show what nationality a child's parent are, which would demonstrate citizenship but I am happy to stand corrected. However a certificate of naturalisation would prove citizenship but would not necessarily be accepted at border control.

I appreciate my use of the word visa may be incorrect but I still stand by my understanding that if you are a UK citizen you should be travelling in and out of the UK on a UK passport - but I can't be bothered to email the UKBA to find out as I personally don't need to know. I agree that it wouldn't be checked but it doesn't change the point as to whether or not it should be done.

Mutley77 Wed 23-Jan-13 21:03:11

Sorry that should obviously say being resident in a country wouldn't indicate citizenship.

natation Wed 23-Jan-13 21:16:39

A UK birth certificate does not prove the nationality of parents, only the country of nationality has the right to bestow nationality on its citizens, only that country's documents are acceptable for proof of a nationality. Even if UK birth certificates did prove the nationality of parents, it still wouldn't necessarily mean that the child could be a British citizen.

British citizenship is pretty complicated, it can be descended in a family, it can be due to place of birth + status of parents at birth, too many ways to list.

A certificate of naturalisation as a British citizen ALONG with a foreign passport in the same identity MIGHT be allowed as valid documents combined to allow admission to the UK of a British citizen, I think most entry officers would be happy with them together, might double check on naturalisation database if there were any doubt, which would mean a delay.

Finally there is no obligation for a British citizen to travel back and forward to the UK using a UK British citizen passport, unlike other countries such as USA. IT might be advisable if actually living in the UK, but they are not obliged. Between UK and Ireland, you don't even have to have a passport.......

I'm sorry but no-one can be issued with a British passport on the basis solely of a UK birth certificate.

No, but that is the only documentation I would have to provide if I were applying for a UK passport for the first time.

https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-adult-passport/documents-you-must-send-with-your-application

"Born or adopted in the UK

Before 1 January 1983

You must send your birth or adoption certificate."

natation Wed 23-Jan-13 21:47:32

Sorry but there is more than that as documentation required, you also have to provide details of the identity of your parents as well, sometimes people have to provide their parents' UK birth certificates, sometimes they can provide their parents' passport numbers (which leads to more documents). At a border control, the people there do not have the time to research someone's history which may lead them to be recognised as a British citizen.

For our children's first passports, as we are all UK born and parents already recognised as British, we had to provide our children's full birth certificates, the application form, details of our passports, photos which were countersigned, and finally our marriage certificate. Thankfully the IPS does the research and digs up our passport applications and copies of birth certificates so we don't physically have to provide them, but indeed they are needed.

information yes, but not documents... unless you were naturalised or born abroad (without being adopted) or born after 1983 or your parents were born after 1982 or.... or... or...

none of which applies to me... or my brother.

"that is the only documentation I would have to provide if I were applying for a UK passport for the first time"

I said nothing about your kids.

GinandJag Wed 23-Jan-13 21:54:26

You can do both passports in parallel - you simply get several copies of the birth certificate.

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