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Can dual nationals 'mix and match' the passports they use when travelling?

30 replies

StrongerOrWeaker · 07/08/2021 23:15

For example, say you have both Italian and British passports and you travel from Britain to Italy, can you cross the border one way using one passport but use the other passport the other way? How about the two border control points you cross in one direction (leaving Britain then entering Italy)? Do these have to be crossed with the same passport?

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ramonaquimby · 07/08/2021 23:33

Yes my kids do this. Use U.K. passports to leave the U.K. and use their other one to enter other country. This is the official and legal thing to do
Not sure about EU and U.K. passports though

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BritWifeInUSA · 08/08/2021 06:27

I use my British passport to enter any country in Europe but I have to use my American passport to come home to the United States. Some countries require that you must enter on that passport if you are a dual national (such as the United States). The UK doesn’t require that but surely it’s easier to enter the UK with a British passport if you have one?

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GiantKitten · 08/08/2021 06:39

DH used his recently-acquired Irish passport for a trip there last weekend. I will ask whether he used his UK one on the return journey.

DD is a UK/US dual and normally uses the appropriate passport on entry (matters more over there obv) but iirc her UK passport had expired on her most recent trip.

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Fiercestcalm · 08/08/2021 06:39

Yes, I use UK passport to enter the Uk but use my NZ one everywhere else ….

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Porridgeislife · 08/08/2021 06:40

Before Brexit it didn’t matter. Now, if you’re a citizen of Italy or UK, ideally you’d enter on the relevant passport. If there are exit checks you should also use that same passport.

In third countries, whichever passport you flash will largely determine which country comes to your aide if you need consular assistance.

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Geamhradh · 08/08/2021 18:27

Most countries insist on this. Don't know about Europe but post Brexit I imagine it will become this way too.
(Enter UK on UK ppt, enter Italy on Italian one)
I don't imagine you can go out on one and at the end of the flight use the other as your ppt details have been recorded at the advanced passenger details stage which are confirmed at the gate etc.

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purplesequins · 08/08/2021 18:36

international convention is that you need to enter a country with their passport if you are a citizen. you would enter italy on your italian passport and uk on the british one.
however, most european countries are not as strict. my extra passport is in the safe and I usually only travel on one.

canada and us you cannot enter on a foreign passport if you are a citizen.

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StrongerOrWeaker · 09/08/2021 08:48

Thank you everyone. This is very helpful. I will be entering Britain with my UK passport and Italy with my Italian passport. Which passport should I use when exiting each country? Do I show my Italian passport when leaving Britain so there is a 'continuity' across the journey (i.e. international records can track where I am?) or should I stick with my British one so Britain knows I have left? I am assuming the latter?
These are probably very stupid questions. Sorry!

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Mumoftwoinprimary · 09/08/2021 08:55

I think if you enter a country on a passport you should exit that country on that same passport. I have a feeling a friend got themselves into (slight) trouble through this as they had an entry stamp but not an exit stamp. (Or possibly the other way around.)

Basically it looked like they had been smuggled over the border rather than the true situation which involved a bored stroll around duty free and standing in a massive queue to buy some overpriced water.

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RoseAndRose · 09/08/2021 08:58

Yes.

Indeed if there is a visa requirement between the two countries, it's necessary that you do. You shouldn't apply for a visa if you are a national of that country, so you'll need one passport to exit one country and the other to enter the other.

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GiantKitten · 09/08/2021 13:33

@Mumoftwoinprimary

I think if you enter a country on a passport you should exit that country on that same passport. I have a feeling a friend got themselves into (slight) trouble through this as they had an entry stamp but not an exit stamp. (Or possibly the other way around.)

Basically it looked like they had been smuggled over the border rather than the true situation which involved a bored stroll around duty free and standing in a massive queue to buy some overpriced water.

Ah, I’d forgotten EU is stamping our passports now (except Ireland). That does make a difference!

Also, fwiw, my neighbour has just returned from a 3-week trip to Germany and Austria; she flew to Germany, for a 10-day stay before entering Austria to avoid self-isolating there, and then drove back via ferry from Rotterdam. She said they were quite strict about both passport stamps and vaccination status at all the borders.
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StrongerOrWeaker · 09/08/2021 13:53

Thank you. If I were to go to a country I do not have a passport for, say Japan, does it mean I could enter Japan on either passport but I would have to leave Japan using the passport I had used to enter it?

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Cameleongirl · 09/08/2021 14:00

This is an interesting question and might be relevant to me in the near future. My question is, what about when you have to enter your passport number on the airline’s website? We have to do this when flying US to UK so how would I use a different passport to cross borders?

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StrongerOrWeaker · 09/08/2021 14:04

"This is an interesting question and might be relevant to me in the near future. My question is, what about when you have to enter your passport number on the airline’s website? We have to do this when flying US to UK so how would I use a different passport to cross borders?".
Good question. Would that be the passport you will use over there?

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Serenissima21 · 09/08/2021 14:05

I have an additional question too! If you have two passports, can you let one lapse or is that a bit risky? So could I just renew my Italian passport and not pay for a British one?

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justmetoday · 09/08/2021 14:05

We use our aus passports to enter australia. And our other one to enter our home country, mainly to avoid queues and be faster. It doesnt matter at all though. You can use whatever passport you like at any border. Unless there are certain restrictions with certain passports.

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SimonJT · 09/08/2021 14:09

It depends.

If you have a passport for that country you generally need to enter on that passport. So if my husband went to Sweden he would use his Swedish passport to enter Sweden, but his British passport to return to the UK. He would show both to show why his British passport hasn’t been stamped.

We were due to go to Spain this summer, again he would use his Swedish passport to enter Spain due to Sweden being in the EU, he’d then return on his British passport.

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SimonJT · 09/08/2021 14:10

@justmetoday

We use our aus passports to enter australia. And our other one to enter our home country, mainly to avoid queues and be faster. It doesnt matter at all though. You can use whatever passport you like at any border. Unless there are certain restrictions with certain passports.

Airlines don’t generally check your visa, so you just show the passport you want to show at border control the other side.
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StrongerOrWeaker · 09/08/2021 14:15

"Airlines don’t generally check your visa, so you just show the passport you want to show at border control the other side."
Simon: would it be fine to do this even if the airline would have details of the other passport on their record?

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EileenGC · 09/08/2021 14:17

Same as above, you can mix and match but I’d use the specific country’s passport if travelling there.

I personally renew them as soon as they expire, but I travel a lot for work so having one document out of date complicates things a lot when I need to leave passport X at an embassy, passport Y at another, and use my ID card for Europe travel. So I’d just keep them valid because you never know when you might need them.

When travelling to a third country eg Japan, use the same passport to enter and exit, especially if it’s been stamped. Even if it hasn’t been, you don’t want your US immigration records to show that you never exited the country and ‘overstayed’ your visa for example.

I have two EU passports and my biggest mistake so far has been entering the UK on the passport that isn’t linked to my settled status, by mistake. Cue a thorough interrogation as to what the purpose and length of my visit are, and do I have a job back home? Grin

I have a go-to ‘default’ passport (Spanish) so I mostly use that one. Later this summer I’m actually planning on entering the other country I have a passport for, with the Spanish one. They will not care, but all countries involved are EU.

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EileenGC · 09/08/2021 14:20

would it be fine to do this even if the airline would have details of the other passport on their record?

If you’ve booked the flight/checked in with your British passport, use that one at the airport. It’s technically possible to do what you want, but it’s just easier to be consistent. Places like US might do a pre-landing security clearance so I’d use the same passport for the airline and the border. It saves some extra questions and explanations.

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MauveMagnolia · 09/08/2021 14:35

The stamp g made me laugh last week in Spain
They were stamping and saying brexit each time

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ClaudiaWankleman · 09/08/2021 14:42

I think airlines do usually check your visa, as they have to repatriate passengers who don't have the right to enter the country they have flown them to at their own cost.

Thank you. If I were to go to a country I do not have a passport for, say Japan, does it mean I could enter Japan on either passport but I would have to leave Japan using the passport I had used to enter it?

It would be wise to use one passport for the entry and exit as if there is no record of when you entered, it may raise questions as to whether you have overstayed. Japan, for example, is known to be quite strict regarding overstaying and you'd want to avoid any hassle.
Some countries will have a requirement that you only use one passport. Which passport you use is up to you though.

Additionally some visas are specific to the travel document they are issued to, rather than an individual person.

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MaggieFS · 09/08/2021 14:42

@MauveMagnolia

The stamp g made me laugh last week in Spain
They were stamping and saying brexit each time

We had this last month. Those poor passport control guys are going to be bored witless by the end of the summer!
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MaggieFS · 09/08/2021 14:50

Airlines do check your passport to ensure you will be allowed in (whether that's having a visa, your nationality, length of validity on a passport etc.) otherwise they are liable for flying you back if you are refused entry.

You enter and exit on the same passport to ensure compliance with any regulations.

You should ideally use the passport of the destination country on your pre flight info.

In terms of a third party country, if EU, in your case OP certainly use your Italian one! For other countries, whichever doesn't need a visa, ESTA or whatever.

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