14th Mar 2019
What is the best way to travel with a dual passport?
Author: Ben Hocking
What is the best way to travel with a dual passport?

Lee is travelling to the USA with a dual passport and wants to know the best approach to minimise his time at the airport.


Q. Lee
I am hoping to visit the USA next year. While I can/should use my Aussie passport to leave Australia, if I want to avoid the longer wait and standing up when I arrive, I’d rather enter with my US passport (especially with the tighter, more suspicious Trump Government). I would then do the opposite returning.

However, that means that I will have an Aussie passport showing that I left Australia, but never landed anywhere when I return to Australia. The opposite would be that I arrive in the US with the US passport, not having left any place to arrive in the USA!

The last time I did the trip, I believe that’s what I did, and showed both passports at all airports. What do you think?

A. Having dual citizenship is a great bonus for a traveller, but there are important protocols that you should know and follow.

Dual citizens should always use the same passport to enter and exit a country. According to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smart Traveller service, all Australians, including dual nationals, should leave and enter Australia on their Australian passport.

If you are entering the USA, you can use your US passport – but you should then also use it when you are leaving that country.

International airlines have a legal obligation to ensure passengers have appropriate documentation for Australia – and for Australian citizens that means a passport. So, ensure that you always carry both passports with you when you travel.

If you are travelling to countries other than the USA, you can choose whichever passport you think is best to use in that country. Do some research to find out what visa fees might apply to each nationality, or if there are any likely difficulties or restrictions that might apply, and choose accordingly.

Be aware that if you encounter any difficulties while travelling outside the countries for which you hold citizenship, the passport you have entered the country on will determine who you should turn to for any consular advice or assistance.

More information: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Have you encountered any passport problems when you have been travelling?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    Cowboy Jim
    16th Mar 2019
    Ben's answer is right on the money. That is the way it works for me in Europe. Have a European passport and an Aussie one. Leave here on Aussie, enter Europe with theirs and avoid all those stamps you would get in your Aussie one and thus the passports have more pages for visas you cannot avoid. Most visas now use a full page and then half a page for entry and departure. Just remember to put in the correct nationality when having to fill in immigration forms.
    16th Mar 2019
    I've had dual UK/Aussie citizenship since the 1980s and always use by British passport to enter the UK but my Aussie one to come home and I've never had a problem. I always put my citizenship, on any forms, as Australian too and have never been questioned. My UK passport used to be useful for Europe as I could travel freely - how much longer, I wonder?
    Cowboy Jim
    16th Mar 2019
    For holiday makers it will make no difference, permanent stayers and work permits will be different altogether. That is what Brexit is all about - nothing to do with holidaying Aussies. People try to keep the cheaper workers out of the UK as locals are struggling getting a job - look at the areas in favor of Brexit.
    16th Mar 2019
    It's handy to have a UK passport in South America. No entry fee when you enter Chile ($100+ for Aussie), and you don't need a visa to pop over the border from Argentina to Brazil at Iguaza Falls. My wife (Aussie) stayed in the car & nobody worried - it seems to be accepted practice but I guess only works if you are in Brazil for just a few hours.

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