Dual Citizens: How to Travel with Two Passports

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Being a dual citizen (i.e. a citizen of two countries and having two passports) is a privilege and a luxury that few enjoy, as it’s estimated that only 1% of the world’s population can actually call themselves a dual citizen.

Although I don’t personally carry two passports, I have friends who do (most of which carry a British and American/Australian passport), and for them, traveling to countries that can be difficult to get into (such as the USA) is made a lot easier.

If you are a dual citizen, however, it’s important that you take care of how and when you use each passport, as using them incorrectly (or at the wrong times) can cause certain problems when trying to cross an international border.

The Golden Rule: Always Use the Same Passport to Enter and Exit a Country

This probably seems pretty obvious to most people, but if you’re traveling around the world, hopping in and out of countries (each of which will have different entry requirements based upon your nationality), you might sometimes be tempted to use one passport when entering the country and a different passport when exiting.

Of course, you might also just forget which passport you used, which is why it’s good to make a note of it.

Why is this important? Countries like to keep track of who is coming in and out of their borders. By using a second passport you’re confusing the issue and you’re also changing how you’re viewed from a legal standpoint.

In short, to save yourself a lot of hassle make sure you use the same passport when entering and exiting a nation.


Why the Golden Rule Isn’t Always the Golden Rule

The advice I gave above applies specifically for when you’re going through passport/border control. There may be other times (e.g. when you’re checking in at an airline desk) where this does not apply.

The airline staff will want to know whether you’re eligible for entry to the country you’re flying to. In these cases, it’s best to show them the passport that entitles you to visa-free entry.

Of course, this can still cause some confusion, and you may be occasionally taken aside and asked for your travel documents. In these situations, be sure to let them know about your dual citizenship.

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