November 16, 2017
I just read a comment on Quora, which actually stated that it was “dangerous” to travel with two passports.
I don’t think I’d be wrong if I said that I’m sure that this person doesn’t have two passports to start with.
Usually, when you read erroneous statements like that, it comes from ignorance.
If you are not someone who actually deals with such situation, or unless you’re a lawyer or something like that, you probably don’t know anything about it.
So, is it safe to travel with two passports?
Yes, it most definitely is.
So sit back and relax, while I tell you everything you need to know if you have dual citizenship and traveling with two passports or more.
Yes, it’s Legal to have Multiple Passports
Not only it’s safe, but it’s one hundred percent legal to carry more than one passport.
Think about it…
If you happen to be a citizen of more than one country, chances are that you are going to have legal papers from both those countries. A passport happens to be one of them, but not the only one.
As a dual citizen of both the US and France, I have two passports and two drivers licenses. I also have both a US social security card and a French Carte d’identitée (A French citizen ID card).
Yes, that’s right!
All legal documents.
Understanding a Very Important Point about Multiple Citizenships
What does it mean when we say that a country allows dual citizenship?
While there are countries that flatly deny dual citizenship, meaning that if you were to take another citizenship, you would need to renounce your own citizenship of birth, some countries tolerate the fact that you may have multiple citizenships.
On the other hand, when people think that countries like the US or France, for example, accept dual citizenship, it’s not so much that they accept it, but more like they agree to ignore one another.
That’s their way of being tolerant of another citizenship.
To take my example again, I am French by birth and I became an American citizen 12 years ago. The reason why I have both citizenships it’s because France totally ignores the fact that I became an American citizen, while America ignores the fact that I’m still French.
As far as France is concerned I’m a French citizen. Period.
As far as the US is concerned I’m an American citizen. Period.
Thus, whether I’d want it or not, I will always be a French citizen, no matter how many citizenships I may acquire. France will keep on ignoring it.
The Advantage of Traveling with two Passports
At times, dual citizenship may even be looked down upon, but the truth is that for the few millions of us who do have multiple citizenships, it means more freedom.
Since I have both an American and French/European Union Passport it means that I can live and work in both the US and in any of the European Union countries.
Thanks to my European passport I’m allowed to stay in Europe as long as I want, legally.
If I were to ignore my French passport, I would have to apply for a visa to stay in Europe, regardless of the fact that I was born in France. This would mean that my stay would be limited along with all the restrictions that a visa versus citizenship means.
So, as long as your country allows you to have dual citizenship, it would be crazy on your part to renounce your original citizenship. Regardless of where you are from, unless you are in real danger in your own country.
How to Travel with two Passports the Right Way
Sometimes you may hear the statement “don’t travel with two passports,” but here again, people making such statements, probably don’t have two passports.
Those who do, travel with both their passports all the time. Believe me!
Let’s say you are a national of both the US and Italy. However, you failed to take your Italian passport with you. This means that you would be considered a foreigner in your own country, having to apply for a visa if you wanted to stay there for an extended period of time.
Now, don’t be confused though, you are not two people, but one person with a dual citizenship.
To make you understand this better, let’s say, you have a driver’s license, but you forgot it at home and a cop pulled you over.
While you have a license (at home), at the time you are pulled over, you are a person without a driver’s license, until you can prove otherwise.
It’s the same thing with a passport.
You are one person with multiple citizenships (thus multiple passports), so you need to know which passport to show and when. But it doesn’t make you are two people, just the right person at the right place.
So again, let’s say you have both an American and Italian passport, because you were born in Italy, but became an American citizen later on.
Now you are leaving the US and you are traveling to France...
When you leave the US, you need to show your American passport to the immigration authorities. No trick here. You are an American citizen leaving the country with the passport of such country.
However, when you check your bags with the airline, you need to show your passport of destination. In this instance, your Italian passport, even though you’re going to France.
Because with your Italian passport, you are also a European citizen and the fact that your passport is Italian, German, French or British… doesn't make any differences in this case.
The reason why airlines ask for your passport it's because they need to make sure that you are allowed to go in the country you're going to.
If an airline let you fly to a country you're not allowed to go to they can be fined heavily. So if you are a US citizen going to any European country and you happen to have a Europen passport that's the passport the airline needs to see.
However, when it comes to immigration authorities, it's the opposite.
They do not care if you have the right to go where you're going. What they care about is if you have the right to BE WHERE YOU ARE right now. So, you show US immigration your US passport.
When you return, you show the airline your American passport, because that's the country you're going to and allowed to go to.
As for immigration authorities, you show them the passport you entered with (your Italian passport). Remember, immigration only cares about if you have the right to be where your feets are. Right now you're in a Europen country, so you show them your Europen passport.
And thus, you'll get your return stamps and your circle will be complete.
When you land on US soil, however, you show immigration your US passport.
If you have dual citizenship with both the US and Any European country, you won’t need your US passport as long as you are on the European soil except when checking in with the airline when returning to the US.
If you did use your US passport, you would be sent to the long foreigners’ line, while you’re not a foreigner.
If you have dual citizenship, make sure you don’t listen to erroneous advice. A passport is like any other piece of identity, it’s only useful where it’s from, and it should be used only where it’s from.
I’m going to drive in France, but am I going to drive with my NC driver’s license? Of course not. I’m going to drive with my French driver’s license.
When it comes to ID's, we are not that piece of paper, but that piece of paper tells authorities what we are allowed to do and where.
That’s all there is to it, and that’s all there is to a dual citizenship and the fact that you may have two or more passports.
I hope this article will help clarify some of the misleading information out there.
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