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Travel to USA

(15 Posts)
gmt61228 Tue 28-Jul-15 22:51:59

My family lives in UK but my 2 oldest children and myself have dual US/UK citizenship whereas my youngest is British only. We are travelling back to US and I want us to all travel on our British passports only - my family is struggling to be able to afford UK and US passports for myself and 2 oldest kids. I know all the advice is you must travel into US on US passports only - but I can't find any info on what actually happens if you don't? Is it illegal? Has anyone with US citizenship tried to enter or leave US on a different passport before? What happened?.... I can find any info online so any advice would be MUCH appreciated!!!!

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Tue 28-Jul-15 22:57:53

Why do you want to all travel on the same passports? For clearing immigration and customs together?

gmt61228 Tue 28-Jul-15 23:08:29

well yes just to all be the same but also its the costs in having to get 2 sets of passport for me and 2 kids. Since we all have valid British passports it would just be SO much easier to use them. Also since my other 2 kids got their US passports when they were babies, I have to find photographic evidence of their age progression from infant to now and present them in person to the US embassy to get their US passports renewed, its SUCH a nuisance and life would be so much easier to not bother with the US passports at all. We are just a British family going on holiday for 3 weeks thats all!!

Taz1212 Wed 29-Jul-15 11:05:03

Legally, yes, you and your DCs need to enter the US on a US passport. Does you UK passport have the UK listed as your country of birth? I renounced my US citizenship a while ago, but my UK passport only has "Boston" listed as my place of birth- no reference to the US. I'm not sure it would be picked up at immigration- am going back in April on my UK passport so will find out!

However, you'd need to lie on you ESTA applications if you travel on your UK passports. Personally it's not a risk I would take but I have heard of other parents who have just been given a warning at the border and told to not do it again.

Are you sure your youngest isn't considered a US citizen as well?

AlpacaMyBags Wed 29-Jul-15 11:39:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Taz1212 Wed 29-Jul-15 12:39:09

I seem incapable of typing "your" instead of "you"!

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Wed 29-Jul-15 13:32:50

Don't forget there is a cost for your ESTA clearance too ($14 I think) to travel on a UK passport

whatsagoodusername Wed 29-Jul-15 14:51:26

They will hassle you at the border if your place of birth is in the US, but probably let you in.

I did it once as I am dual US/Canadian and my US passport was out for renewal and I really needed to go home. I lied and said I was not American, never had been. The border guard questioned me for several minutes, trying to trip me up, but let me go.

What is your current passport situation? Were you and the children born in the US or the UK? If you were born in the US, and the children in the UK, then I would get you a US passport and not the children - they don't have to be US citizens if not born there.

whatsagoodusername Wed 29-Jul-15 15:03:08

And I've never had any trouble using any passport leaving the US - I need to use my Canadian to enter the UK as that's where my UK visa is. My records must show me entering the US dozens of times, but never leaving because I don't use it anywhere but to enter the US - except occasionally to enter Canada as a day trip from the US grin

whatsagoodusername Wed 29-Jul-15 15:18:50

FWIW, I wouldn't do it again for myself unless it was absolutely necessary.

I wouldn't worry about the DC not having US passports and would take them on UK passports. Yes, DC are probably entitled to US citizenship, but it isn't automatically conferred and it is entirely possible that you wouldn't have registered them.

We always travel with a stack of passports. DH is British only, and I do not yet have a British passport, so we always have two different countries anyway. This is never a problem, we always go through together with the DC, and always go for the shortest queue.

Taz1212 Wed 29-Jul-15 17:34:14

whatsagoodusername If a US born citizen fulfils various residency requirements then yes, their foreign born children absolutely do have US citizenship automatically conferred on them. It doesn't matter whether you have registered their birth or not. In the eyes of the US, they are US citizens and legally must enter the US on a US passport. In reality there are probably loads who are unaware of this and do enter on foreign passports, but it's not as you would imply.

Google "accidental American". grin

whatsagoodusername Wed 29-Jul-15 17:47:36

Ah, I thought the children had a right to it, but not that it was automatically conferred unless applied for.

We registered and passported both our DC within weeks of birth, so I hadn't thought about it very much beyond doing it myself.

Taz1212 Wed 29-Jul-15 18:29:19

Yes, it's a pain! I remember phoning the US embassy in London to ask if I had to register DS' birth and was shouted at by a very rude and angry embassy person. She was clearly having a bad day. grin To be honest, I probably wouldn't have registered DC if it hadn't been for the fact that I knew I was likely to take them to the US on my own sometimes and I didn't want the hassle of travelling on my (at the time) US passport and being questioned as to why DC didn't have US passports. If I knew we'd always go with DH, I'd have kept them on UK passports and split us up at immigration--bad me. Bad, bad me--

YeOldeTrout Wed 29-Jul-15 18:56:06

Were they born on US soil, else how will border control spot the possibility?

but I can't find any info on what actually happens if you don't? Is it illegal?

The immigration officials scratch their noses hinting that you should be on your US passports and depending on their whims will probably shrug & let you thru anyway. (happened to a friend).

To get US passport you'll also need notarised evidence of your spouse's permission for them to have a US passport which is minimum £50 total to cover all DC, unless spouse comes to US embassy to confirm their permission. I'd probably risk it on British passports if I were OP.

YeOldeTrout Wed 29-Jul-15 18:57:58

for future reference...

ps: Mostly we travel into UK with USA passports but we carry DC birth certificates and the expired British passports I have for some DC, the immigration people have been absolutely fine about this. So if you can only afford one passport (or are miserly like me) I would only get USA passports rather than UK ones in future.

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