Traveling with Two Passports

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People who have more than one citizenship may also hold multiple passports. This raises a number of questions about taking a trip abroad. How does traveling with two passports work?

Should dual citizens bring both passports? Which one should be shown at border control? Can you enter a country with one passport, but use the other for the return trip?

In many cases, the answer depends on the destination and the nationalities in question. There can be advantages and disadvantages to having multiple passports.

See below how to make the most of traveling with two passports, dual citizenship, and which one to use in which situations.

Can You Have Two Passports from Different Countries?

Yes, many countries allow their citizens to hold more than one nationality. This means travelers can potentially hold a passport for each country they are a citizen of.

Some people are automatically considered dual citizens from birth. This may be because their parents are of different nationalities and/or because they were born in a different country from their parents.

Dual citizenship can be obtained via the following ways:

  • Ancestry (parents or grandparents of a different nationality)
  • Naturalization
  • Marriage

The rules vary depending on the country in question. Some countries do not recognize dual citizenship, while others will only allow it through certain means.

Which Passport Should Dual Citizens Use?

Travelers with dual citizenship should travel with the passport that makes their journey easiest.

Different countries each have their own immigration and visa policies. These policies often affect some nationalities differently from others.

Travelers of certain nationalities might need to go to an embassy to get a visa. The application can take weeks or even months to process. On the other hand, others might be eligible to take the faster and more convenient route of applying for an online visa or travel authorization. Some nationalities may not need a visa at all to enter certain destinations.

The advantage of having 2 passports is that one passport might grant the holder access to online visas or visa-free entry to destinations that the other does not.

For example, a dual citizen of both the US and Cuba will find it easier to visit Brazil with their US passport. If they travel with their Cuban passport, they will need to get a visa from an embassy. On the other hand, with their US passport, they can stay in Brazil for up to 90 days visa-free.

It is always a good idea to check the visa requirements for the countries that issued your passports before booking a trip or applying for a visa. Then, it is possible to choose the best option to travel with.

It is also important to remember that if a traveler applies for a visa, they will have to register their passport details. The same passport must then be used to enter the destination country.

Should Dual Citizens Travel With Both Passports?

Each journey is different and it is advisable to check the passport requirements of all the countries the traveler will leave, arrive in, or transit through.

In many cases, it is a good idea for those with dual citizenship to travel with both passports. That way, they will be able to take advantage of the perks of each document.

For example, one passport might allow them to get an eVisa rather than an embassy visa and speed up the process of getting entry permission. The other passport may make the journey home easier if there is a separate queue at border control for returning citizens, for example.

It is also worth noting that certain sovereign states, such as the USA, insist that returning nationals show a passport issued by that country upon arrival.

This applies to those with multiple nationalities. Americans traveling with dual passports may be able to use their non-US passport to enter other countries but must bring their US passport to return home.

Can I Enter a Country With One Passport and Exit With Another?

In most cases, travelers should show the same passport that they used to enter the country when they depart.

The rules and procedures vary depending on the country. Some states, such as the UK and US, do not stamp passports when an individual leaves. However, most countries require the passport to be shown at border control when departing and will either stamp or scan the document.

This is how authorities know that a foreign visitor has left the country and not overstayed their visa.

In some cases, it might be possible to leave with a different passport. However, it is not advisable, as immigration might believe the individual has overstayed and may impose penalties the next time they try to enter the country.

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