Dual Citizen with Different Surnames

Old Nov 26, 22, 3:49 pm
  #1  
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Dual Citizen with Different Surnames

Hi all - I've found myself in a pretty niche situation and I was hoping to get people's thoughts on the matter.

To give you the background, I have a Moroccan passport with NAME SURNAME1 and I've recently acquired a Spanish passport under NAME SURNAME1 SURNAME2. As a matter of law, Spain requires two surnames and Morocco only accepts one surname, so aligning the names between the two is not possible. The forename and first surname are identical across the two, though. My BAEC account and a number of Avios flights booked under it currently are on my "Moroccan" name (i.e. the one-surname name).

I now have a flight coming up to MAD and I will need to use my Spanish passport to enter the country as Moroccan citizens require a visa - before I got the Spanish passport, I was able to travel back to Spain and throughout the EU using my Spanish residence permit, but this got revoked as I was granted citizenship. Does anyone know if BA will be happy to check me in / let me board without any issues with the booking being ticketed under my Moroccan passport if I also show them the Spanish passport in place of a visa (notwithstanding the additional surname)?

I called BA to enquire and I was given some rather vague advice to the effect that they think the discrepancy in the second surname should not be an issue "for the first few occasions" (whatever that means lol). Their proposed approach is that I should check in using the Spanish passport even though the second surname does not appear on the ticket booking, and that I could then check in with either the Moroccan or Spanish on the way back to the UK at my discretion. Ultimately, however, they recommended that I should request an official name change in respect of my BAEC account to my Spanish full name and then amend the name in each of the live bookings that I have. Their rationale is that they would assume I am more likely to use the Spanish passport than the Moroccan one.

This sounds like the straightforward solution but, to complicate matters further, I live in the UK on a visa attached to my Moroccan passport, so I need to continue using that for the time being to enter the UK. I'd therefore rather retain the flexibility to book tickets using the Moroccan passport so that APIs are aligned for the purposes of UK immigration, and show the Spanish passport when I'm going to a destination that requires a visa. For example, in this instance, I would check into my BA flight to Madrid under my Moroccan passport and, when boarding, I would simply show them my Spanish passport instead of a visa/resident permit.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
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Old Nov 26, 22, 5:11 pm
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Originally Posted by globalcit
Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
I dont know if this is helpful or not, but I am a dual US/UK citizen and I didnt realise/forgot that the passport info in my BAEC account was my US passport, so Ive been checking in online using my US passport for advance passenger info on international flights, but arriving at airport with UK passport and using it throughout.

I only realised this discrepancy when returning from Spain to the UK last week and my mobile boarding pass had an advisory that BA needed to check my passport/visa. Desk agent said she was expecting to see a US passport based on info in their system, but then I explained I have two passports and am actually travelling home on UK passport and that was that. No further scrutiny, questioning, or concerns from the agent.

Presumably, this means though that I must have travelled to Spain and a few other places with a different physical passport at the airport than I provided for API and online check in purposes.

My name is the same in both passports though.
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Old Nov 26, 22, 5:15 pm
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This isn't a problem. Spain, and a few other countries, has a final name as the matronymic, and every check-in agent in the world will know that it is the first surname which is the patronymic, the one that works against the ticket. So if your ticket says Mohammed Aziz and the passport says Mohammed Aziz Lopez then that's all OK. Generally matronymics have a formality, but no-one is going to expect Penlope Cruz to go around as Ms Sanchez. Indeed she could travel as Mrs Bardem, even though it's not on her passport, by simply bringing her marriage certificate.
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Old Nov 27, 22, 2:14 am
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Im in exactly the same situation with UK/Spanish documents.
Im still waiting for a reply from BA as I have a flight booked to India where I will be using my Spanish passport to get an e-visa but my flight ticket only has my first name and first surname on it. They originally replied with a very vague standard response that was very unhelpful.

On the other hand (for another booking) Vueling confirmed as long as the first name and first surname match the second surname doesnt have to be on the booking. I hope it is the same situation with BA.

It would be interesting to hear if anyone else has had experience of this situation.

Last edited by callahana; Nov 27, 22 at 2:55 am
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Old Nov 27, 22, 5:28 am
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Originally Posted by globalcit
so that APIs are aligned for the purposes of UK immigration, and show the Spanish passport when I'm going to a destination that requires a visa. For example, in this instance, I would check into my BA flight to Madrid under my Moroccan passport and, when boarding, I would simply show them my Spanish passport instead of a visa/resident permit.
Originally Posted by skysh4rk
Ive been checking in online using my US passport for advance passenger info on international flights, but arriving at airport with UK passport and using it throughout.

Presumably, this means though that I must have travelled to Spain and a few other places with a different physical passport at the airport than I provided for API and online check in purposes.
Firstly the name on the ticket doesn't need to exactly match the name in the API (i.e. the name in at least one passport), it's mostly up to the discretion of the airline, but it is often said a discrepancy of 3 characters is accepted. Middle names can be omitted and as mentioned second surnames can be omitted, a maiden name could be used. Some people's official surnames are not accepted in ticketing systems and need to be adapted in different ways, for example one-letter surnames or those with diacritics. I may have never entered my full name as in my passports when booking flight tickets, but I always have to enter my full name in the API.

For the moment, there isn't any requirement that you use the same passport to enter the UK or the Schengen area that was in the API of your inbound flight. I have used a different passport to the API for most of my Schengen entries in the past 2 years.

The only issue would be that when the Moroccan passport is in the API for a flight to Spain, check in may be refused until a visa is shown, thus "forcing" you to change the API to the Spanish passport - but the mismatch with your ticket name is not going to be a problem.

As US passports don't need a visa to enter the UK, generally airlines don't care that a US passport is in the API (but sometimes they may do) and when you turn up at immigration with a UK passport they aren't going to be bothered by what was in the API.

​​​However when ETIAS starts, and if the UK implements a travel pre-authorisation system, then I suspect the "correct" passport will need to be in the API because otherwise you would need to get an ETIAS, that's how it works with the US ESTA and similar.
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Old Nov 27, 22, 5:52 am
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This is an interesting thread - having recently had my Polish citizenship confirmed I also will have a UK and a Polish passport. So I guess the rule is for travel UK-EU use my Polish passport and returning to the UK use British. I'll just need to have separate API on ba.com for each journey.
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Old Nov 27, 22, 6:12 am
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My missus has three passports Argentine/Spanish/UK. When travelling she carries all three and has never had a problem entering any country we've visited over the years.Even when the name on the ticket doesn't match the name in the passport shown.
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Old Nov 27, 22, 1:02 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave
This isn't a problem. Spain, and a few other countries, has a final name as the matronymic, and every check-in agent in the world will know that it is the first surname which is the patronymic, the one that works against the ticket. So if your ticket says Mohammed Aziz and the passport says Mohammed Aziz Lopez then that's all OK. Generally matronymics have a formality, but no-one is going to expect Penlope Cruz to go around as Ms Sanchez. Indeed she could travel as Mrs Bardem, even though it's not on her passport, by simply bringing her marriage certificate.
Originally Posted by :D!
Firstly the name on the ticket doesn't need to exactly match the name in the API (i.e. the name in at least one passport), it's mostly up to the discretion of the airline, but it is often said a discrepancy of 3 characters is accepted. Middle names can be omitted and as mentioned second surnames can be omitted, a maiden name could be used. Some people's official surnames are not accepted in ticketing systems and need to be adapted in different ways, for example one-letter surnames or those with diacritics. I may have never entered my full name as in my passports when booking flight tickets, but I always have to enter my full name in the API.

For the moment, there isn't any requirement that you use the same passport to enter the UK or the Schengen area that was in the API of your inbound flight. I have used a different passport to the API for most of my Schengen entries in the past 2 years.

The only issue would be that when the Moroccan passport is in the API for a flight to Spain, check in may be refused until a visa is shown, thus "forcing" you to change the API to the Spanish passport - but the mismatch with your ticket name is not going to be a problem.

As US passports don't need a visa to enter the UK, generally airlines don't care that a US passport is in the API (but sometimes they may do) and when you turn up at immigration with a UK passport they aren't going to be bothered by what was in the API.

​​​However when ETIAS starts, and if the UK implements a travel pre-authorisation system, then I suspect the "correct" passport will need to be in the API because otherwise you would need to get an ETIAS, that's how it works with the US ESTA and similar.
Originally Posted by HIDDY
My missus has three passports Argentine/Spanish/UK. When travelling she carries all three and has never had a problem entering any country we've visited over the years.Even when the name on the ticket doesn't match the name in the passport shown.
Thank you, all - that sounds very helpful. From your combined experience, it sounds like BA will be fine with a ticket booked under just one surname and that, if anything, they might insist on switching the APIs to one of the passports depending on the destination due to visa requirements, etc at check in but not deny board or any other similar problems because of the surname discrepancy. That seems to support keeping the BAEC account under just the one surname and dealing with it at check in depending on the destination.

I will test this in upcoming flights and report back.
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Old Nov 27, 22, 1:06 pm
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Originally Posted by our_kid
This is an interesting thread - having recently had my Polish citizenship confirmed I also will have a UK and a Polish passport. So I guess the rule is for travel UK-EU use my Polish passport and returning to the UK use British. I'll just need to have separate API on ba.com for each journey.
Definitely the right approach for you. You should always enter the UK with the British passport to avoid being flagged as an over stayer in case you happen to remain continuously in the UK for more than 180 days.
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Old Nov 27, 22, 1:10 pm
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You do not need to maintain multiple passports to prove citizenship of each country, Unless your birth country does not recognize dual citizenship. Just travel with the passport of the country you reside in, and present the identification card of your other citizenship when asked by airline or immigration officer for entry eligibility to the destination.

Last edited by ovacikar; Nov 27, 22 at 1:18 pm
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Old Nov 27, 22, 4:44 pm
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I have had no issue with my USA passport being on my reservation, and checking in with my UK passport before, (but with the same name). At check in when they wanted to see my passport I just showed both, the check-in agent did not care about it

One quick question about passport control. I have duel citizenship, (USA/UK passport), and if returning to the UK can my USA partner (USA passport only) go through the UK line at passport control with me?
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Old Nov 27, 22, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by jettad
I have had no issue with my USA passport being on my reservation, and checking in with my UK passport before, (but with the same name). At check in when they wanted to see my passport I just showed both, the check-in agent did not care about it

One quick question about passport control. I have duel citizenship, (USA/UK passport), and if returning to the UK can my USA partner (USA passport only) go through the UK line at passport control with me?
Thanks - the issue here is that there is a name discrepancy, otherwise it would be fine.

Re UK immigration, you can use the Family lane together for the manual check, or you can both use the eGates lane (as US citizens are eligible to use eGates).
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Old Nov 28, 22, 12:24 am
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Originally Posted by our_kid
This is an interesting thread - having recently had my Polish citizenship confirmed I also will have a UK and a Polish passport. So I guess the rule is for travel UK-EU use my Polish passport and returning to the UK use British. I'll just need to have separate API on ba.com for each journey.
Using separate APIs might be helpful/possible (I actually don't know), but its not required. I travel on different passports all the time using one to exit, one to enter and I've only ever had one passport stored on my BAEC. Never had a problem. Maybe when I present the "other" passport to a BA staff member it gets automatically switched in the system, I don't know.. but I've never been questioned or had any issue whatsoever
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Old Nov 28, 22, 1:29 am
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Originally Posted by jettad
One quick question about passport control. I have duel citizenship, (USA/UK passport), and if returning to the UK can my USA partner (USA passport only) go through the UK line at passport control with me?
You can both go via the UK line, however the e-gates work for USA citizens so at most UK airports it's now academic. If there are children involved and you consider yourself to be a family unit, you need to all go through one channel or the other, and not split up.
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