When To Use Your US Passport If You Are A Dual Citizen: So, you have two passports — how do you use them? I’ll cover the process I follow when I travel abroad with my U.S. and Czech passports.
This process could be different depending on your two nationalities, so make sure to do your research before you travel. Each section below is labeled by whatever step in the journey I’m in followed by the passport I use when traveling from the U.S. to Europe.
RELATED: Benefits Of Dual Citizenship During A Pandemic
Checking in for a flight: U.S. passport
Let’s start at the airport. When a U.S. citizen leaves the U.S., you must add your U.S. passport information when you check-in for your flight. This is per U.S. law, which states that Americans must leave and enter the U.S. with their U.S. passport information regardless of the other citizenship he or she holds.
Boarding the plane: Czech passport
You’ll be asked to show a passport when physically boarding the airplane. I show my Czech passport when going to Europe, as it’s the passport I’ll enter the next country with. This is important when traveling during the pandemic so that you don’t get pulled aside for questioning on why and how you plan to enter the EU.
Arriving in Europe: Czech passport
Upon arrival in Europe, I always enter with my Czech passport. For one, if I’m entering Europe it just makes sense to use my European passport. Further, this is often a faster process: European citizens can use automated border control at most major airports in the EU.
Again, this is more important than ever during the coronavirus pandemic. Americans can’t enter Europe for non-essential travel right now, so you’ll need to show a passport that does give you access.
Checking in for my return flight: U.S. passport
When it’s time to check-in for my return flight, I again enter my U.S. passport information. This is a requirement: Americans are not allowed to enter the U.S. with a foreign passport.
Exiting Europe: Czech passport
European countries — unlike the U.S. — have border control when exiting the EU. When going through this checkpoint, I always show my Czech passport as this is the passport I used to enter. Showing my American passport would raise an issue as there would be no entry stamp in that passport.
Pre-flight passport check: U.S. passport
When you travel to the U.S., you may experience a secondary passport check before you board your flight. Always show your U.S. passport when you experience this — otherwise, you may be asked to prove you have a U.S. visa or ESTA that corresponds to your foreign passport.
Entering America: U.S. passport
After I land back on American soil, I always use my U.S. passport or Global Entry card to enter the country. As discussed, this is a requirement put in place by the U.S. government.
And that’s all there is to it! Your experience may be different depending on the country you’re traveling to and the passport you’re traveling on. Your experience leaving and entering the U.S. will be the same if you’re a dual-citizen with an American passport.
Dual citizenship is a powerful tool to have in your travel toolbox. In normal travel times, a second nationality opens up more visa-free countries and lets you live in a second country if you so choose. During the coronavirus pandemic, however, it may be the deciding factor on whether or not you can travel to another country.