Travel SOS: which passport should a dual citizen use?

Mary wants to know the protocols for using her two passports.

Travel SOS: which passport should a dual citizen use?

Lee Mylne has managed to combine her two passions – travelling and writing – into a long and successful career as a travel journalist. Her work is published in newspapers, magazines, websites and travel apps in Australia and around the world.

Mary has two passports, and so she wants to know the protocols to follow when entering and exiting certain countries. In today’s Travel SOS, Lee Mylne explains.

Q. Mary
I hold UK and Australian passports and have always used my UK passport to enter Britain and European countries. However, on my last trip, when I exited Europe via Berlin, there seemed to be an issue as I had shown my Australian passport, but had entered the country on my UK one. What is the correct protocol? Does it matter which passport I use?

A. Yes, Mary, it does matter which passport you use. 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.

uk border protection

If you are entering the UK or European countries, you can use your British 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 UK and Europe or Australia, 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:

Do you have a travel question for Lee? If so, email your Travel SOS to 



    To make a comment, please register or login
    4th Mar 2017
    My wife and I travel with both a UK and Oz passport kept separately in case we should lose one or have it stolen.
    A couple of years ago we were entering Chile and had filled in our immigration cards on the plane using the passports we had boarded with, the Australian ones.
    We had our cards tucked inside our passports and as we waited in the queue I noticed that as an Aussie I had to pay $160 entry fee. I also saw that UK passengers entered free.
    Not having a spare immigration card nor time to fill one in I quickly found our UK passports and slipped the cards into them with the wrong details on and kept my fingers crossed.
    The immigration official didn't notice the mismatch although she appeared to be checking and we saved $360.
    I always check before I travel now which passport to use and yes I always enter and leave a country on the same one even if it means swapping passports mid international flights.
    4th Mar 2017
    Remember too that if you are not travelling on an Australian passport and you need Consular assistance then you may find yourself in limbo where neither the Australian Govt (because you travelled on a British passport) or the British Govt (because you are not resident there) will assist you.
    took this from the website
    What is dual nationality

    Many Australians hold two nationalities. In addition to Australian citizenship, they are also considered citizens, or nationals, of another country.

    The terms national and citizen mean the same thing, and can be used interchangeably.

    If you are a dual national, there may be implications if you travel to the country of your other nationality.
    •you might be liable for military service
    •you might be liable for prosecution for offences under the laws of that country, even if they were committed outside it
    •the Australian Government may be limited in its ability to provide you with consular assistance should you seek it.
    4th Mar 2017
    Several years ago I entered UK with my UK passport. When I was leaving at London airport I showed my UK passport, stating I was travelling to Australia. I was told that I needed a visa to enter Australia as a British citizen. I found this hard to believe, but was told to depart showing my Aus passport, then there was no problem!
    4th Mar 2017
    Why are Uk and Europe mentioned separately by so many people and sources?
    Simply put, Uk is part of Europe; definitely not a separate entity!
    Obviously it includes Scotland and Ireland as well.
    4th Mar 2017
    Is that important ??? who cares ... why you do not tell us your history with your travels ...that will be interesting ....he he he he
    4th Mar 2017
    Bloody obvious methinks.
    Margaret Thompson
    6th Mar 2017
    I am in the process of re-applying for my US passport and noted advice that it is illegal to enter the USA on another nation's passport if you are a citizen of the USA.

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