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Which passport?

Hants, UK
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Which passport?

My sister in law is coming to stay with us in the UK for 3 weeks from the USA.

She has a British passport and an American one, I know she has to use the same one in and out, but what difference does it make as to which one she uses?

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1. Re: Which passport?

I have no idea about the rules pertaining to American citizens, dual nationals and multiple passports.

However I do know for a fact that I enter the UK with my British passport with no problems at all (I carry both British and Canadian passports). If there is a passport check when I depart the UK - rare, but it does happen - and I happen to have my Canadian PP with me (because I have used it to check in for my flight) they may question the lack of stamp in my Canadian PP, but that is resolved by showing them my British passport.

Bottom line. The Brits don't really care too much, the Americans might.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Which passport?

I guess if it wasn't obvious to you, then you wouldn't ask right? Hopefully this makes you go "ah yes, of course!"

The border agency at each country needs to know you have a right to be in that country. So if you use a UK Passport to try and enter the USA, without a valid visa in your UK passport, you will obviously be denied access. Likewise if you hold dual UK/US citizenship then you should be entering and leaving the US as a US citizen, on your US passport. This is also obviously the easiest way. You should be entering and leaving the UK on a UK passport.

When checking in however, the airline needs to see proof that you are allowed to enter the country they are taking you to. So if you have dual passports you would show them the passport of the country you are going to. If they board you and you have no right to be in the country they take you to, the airline will be fined.

A simple way to remember it for dual nationals travelling directly between their countries of nationality is at passport control to use the passport of the country whose border you are crossing. At check-in use the passport of the country you are going TO, not checking in at.

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3. Re: Which passport?

Enter the UK on the British passport. There is no law about it (unlike in the USA) but it would be stupid to try to enter the UK on a non-EU passport (and join those looooong queues) when one has a British one.

Show the US passport when checking in for the flight back to the USA (as she would need an ESTA if she was travelling on her UK passport)

The UK has no outbound passport control (neither does the USA), if they are doing one of their occasional spot checks then it would make sense to show the British passport as they would query the lack of an entry stamp if she showed the US one.

Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: Which passport?

"There is no law about it (unlike in the USA) but it would be stupid to try to enter the UK on a non-EU passport (and join those looooong queues) when one has a British one."

I'm dual a dual UK/US citizen and I use my US passport to enter the UK when visiting family. Saves having to switch API profiles, and for the UK I've been stopped a few times by UK Customs and my US has allowed me to be waved through (I carry my DSLR plus lenses). Has never been a problem and only once have the lines at immigration been long (but that's probably because I use T1). In short it makes no difference which passport you use to enter the UK, so your sister in law can use either, her choice**.

When returning to the US, she must use her US for the API and present that one to the airline when checking in, as if she uses her UK it will prompt for an ESTA which she won't have (or need).

** For Schengen countries, if she were to use her US, it would need to be valid for three months after her date of departure from Schengen. But the UK is not part of Schengen so that point is moot in this case.

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5. Re: Which passport?

USBusinessTraveller, no one is going to stop you from entering the UK on your British passport just because your API says you are a US citizen. You'll have to use your US passport to check in for your UK-bound flight (as that's what the airline will expect to see), but once you've arrived you're free to use either passport

6. Re: Which passport?

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