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Dual citizen - can you EXIT U.S. using foreign passport

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Old Jun 23, 15, 11:11 pm
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Two passports, any way to exit with US one expired?

This is not for me, but for an acquaintance who is supposed to travel US-EU this Saturday.
She has US and EU passports, but just discovered that the US one is expired.
So, what to do?
Can she exit the US with the expired US, and valid EU, and renew/get an emergency US passport while in EU (for two weeks)?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old Jun 24, 15, 1:45 am
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Well there are no exit controls in the US as you know, so the passport used to exit is basically the passport the airport agent types into the reservation.

Having said that, the rule is a US citizen should exit and (always) enter the US with their US passport...but it's not like anything will happen to her if she doesn't.

The complication will arise if she can't get the passport renewed abroad in time, but expired or not, she is still a US citizen with a right of re-entry - it's just unnecessary complication and stress.

Why not use one of the expedited services to get it renewed this week before departure?
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Old Jun 24, 15, 2:37 am
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Why not use one of the expedited services to get it renewed this week before departure?
I took a quick look at reviews of one such company. Don't know how representative they are, but lots of folk complaining they did not deliver on time/in time
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Old Jun 24, 15, 2:40 am
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Well there are no exit controls in the US as you know...
Aren't there? I am not a US citizen. Whenever I exit the US they always look for some evidence of legal presence when they look at my passport. If my friend were to travel on her EU passport, they would not find any evidence of US entry/legal presence, as of course she used her expired US passport when she last rentered the US.

Last edited by Wexflyer; Jun 24, 15 at 2:49 am
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Old Jun 24, 15, 3:11 am
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There was a similar case discussed here some while ago - similar situation except that the person was already abroad when his US passport expired.

He got an ESTA for his other passport and presented both passports to US Immigration. They let him in!
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Old Jun 24, 15, 9:08 am
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Originally Posted by Wexflyer View Post
Aren't there? I am not a US citizen. Whenever I exit the US they always look for some evidence of legal presence when they look at my passport. If my friend were to travel on her EU passport, they would not find any evidence of US entry/legal presence, as of course she used her expired US passport when she last rentered the US.
The airline is looking for your entry card because they need to collect and submit it - but they are not immigration inspectors and have no authority, so it's not an exit control because they cannot stop you from exiting if you have a valid passport and entry docs for your next destination.
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Old Jun 24, 15, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen
Originally Posted by Wexflyer View Post
Aren't there? I am not a US citizen. Whenever I exit the US they always look for some evidence of legal presence when they look at my passport. If my friend were to travel on her EU passport, they would not find any evidence of US entry/legal presence, as of course she used her expired US passport when she last rentered the US.
The airline is looking for your entry card because they need to collect and submit it - but they are not immigration inspectors and have no authority, so it's not an exit control because they cannot stop you from exiting if you have a valid passport and entry docs for your next destination.
Plus, I-90s are mostly online now.
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Old Jun 24, 15, 5:21 pm
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While there are no exit controls, technically, leaving the US as a US Citizen with an expired US passport is illegal.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1185

Practically, you can still enter the US on an expired US passport, though you'll probably get delayed and questioned at the CBP offices for longer than you want. Also, the airline isn't going to let you to go back to the US based on your expired US passport and you'll have to use your EU passport plus ESTA.

The best and safest bet would be to make it post-haste to a passport center and petition for a same-day passport before your friend leaves on Saturday.
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Old Jun 24, 15, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by RandomNobody View Post
The best and safest bet would be to make it post-haste to a passport center and petition for a same-day passport before your friend leaves on Saturday.
She did this successfully today! I should say that I only posted last night after she checked online with an appointment system, which said there were no open slots until next week. But she went to nearest passport office today anyway, and they indeed had a walk-up facility - which was not at all clear from what was online... Some clearer communication/info would be useful - maybe they hide this to discourage last minute applications?
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Old Jun 25, 15, 6:10 am
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Originally Posted by Wexflyer View Post
Aren't there? I am not a US citizen. Whenever I exit the US they always look for some evidence of legal presence when they look at my passport. If my friend were to travel on her EU passport, they would not find any evidence of US entry/legal presence, as of course she used her expired US passport when she last rentered the US.
There are electronic exit controls of a sort when flying out of the U.S. However, unless she is blacklisted these exit checks are not commonly a problem in and of themselves for persons in such situation. The issue will more likely be, as indicated above, how she gets a US passport to travel back to the U.S. the next time.

Same-day or overnight issuance of US passports are rather easily done at US passport agency offices, and I always get mine done without paying any private contractor/"expediting passport/visa service" as a proverbial middle-man. Walk-ins or same-day/next-day appointments still work for me inside the U.S. At U.S. embassies/consulates, it's more of an issue.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jun 25, 15 at 6:16 am
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Old Jun 25, 15, 6:51 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
There are electronic exit controls of a sort when flying out of the U.S. However, unless she is blacklisted these exit checks are not commonly a problem in and of themselves for persons in such situation. The issue will more likely be, as indicated above, how she gets a US passport to travel back to the U.S. the next time.
Our kids have both American and German citizenship, which means that they have to enter the US on their American passport and at enter and leave the Schengen zone on their German passports.

We once gave the check in agent in the US their German passport, but were asked for their American ones, since the German passports apparently created an an error message when pulled them through her passport reader.

Apparently, one has to leave the US on the same passport one enters it on. Whether or not that passport can be expired if one has a valid passport for the destination country is a question I can't answer. In any case, I would expect some questions.
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Old Jun 25, 15, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by Alex71 View Post
Our kids have both American and German citizenship, which means that they have to enter the US on their American passport and at enter and leave the Schengen zone on their German passports.
That is indeed the case if wanting to keep things as simple as possible. But even CBP provides info about dual-citizens of the U.S. using an ESTA/VWP passport to travel to the U.S.; and it suggests that, on arrival, such passengers present themselves as U.S. citizens -- even if/when without a currently valid US passport. With a minor's expired US passport to present, it becomes much simpler on arrival in the U.S. even if having traveled with an ESTA/VWP passport, as is well possible.

The U.S. citizenship of young minors who are US citizens is not subject to lawful relinquishment/renunciation of US citizenship. It's not even for older minors and adults, merely on the basis of use of a VWP passport to travel to (or even enter) the U.S. This area has been extensively deliberated as part of what was called the GWOT, especially as various kinds of targeting were subject to such considerations of legality tied to citizenship status.

Originally Posted by Alex71
We once gave the check in agent in the US their German passport, but were asked for their American ones, since the German passports apparently created an an error message when pulled them through her passport reader.
My US-EU dual-citizen relatives do a large number of annual trips using both passports on one-way or return trips originating on either side of the Atlantic; and they have never had the kind of issue you mention above as long as the passport info was updated in the booking prior to an airline agent in the U.S. swiping the passports, non-US or US.

When the passport info in the booking doesn't match the passport info from the agent's swipe of the passport, then airline systems often alert. Even if using just the passports of one country and not being a dual-citizen, they can alert due to different passport info.

Originally Posted by Alex71
Apparently, one has to leave the US on the same passport one enters it on.
No, but it may make things more simple. We have a lot of people leaving the U.S. on different passports than they used to arrive into the country and it's generally not a problem for them when checking in and flying out of the country. If they came in on a VWP passport when using an ESTA and don't leave on the same passport, then the odds of a problem arise. But still not generally a show-stopper.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jun 25, 15 at 8:11 am
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Old Jun 25, 15, 8:45 am
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When the airline checks your passport at check-in, it's to make sure you're eligible to enter the destination country. I believe there are fines to the airline if they put you on a plane without a valid passport or visa for entry into the destination. For that reason, dual citizens often check in with the passport of their destination country (when I go to Italy this fall, for instance, I will check in with my Italian passport at BOS. When I return, I will check in using my US passport at FLR, even though I will show my Italian passport to FLR security and CDG exit immigration).

The law is generally that you must present your local passport to local authorities of your countrie(s) of citizenship. The airline checkin agent is not a local authority, and the US doesn't have exit controls - they can implement them if they want to, but they haven't. There might be some data feed from the airline to DHS, but that isn't really your problem to solve for them. When you return to the US, you are required to show your US passport to Immigration in the US. An expired passport might make things a little bit difficult, but an expired passport doesn't equal expired citizenship and you still have a right to return home. You might be hassled about it, though, so I'd get the passport renewed.
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Old Jun 25, 15, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by PWMTrav View Post
I believe there are fines to the airline if they put you on a plane without a valid passport or visa for entry into the destination.
There is a mandated airline feed of PNR data to DHS. The USG has a legal requirement for the airlines to help the government spy upon all passengers flying within/to/from the U.S. This may involve -- and it does in the case of international flights to/from the U.S. -- a requirement upon the airlines to demand passports or specific passport substitutes as a condition to transport passengers and supply the government with the government-required data elements.

There are sometimes sanctions (eg, fines) against airlines for transporting inadmissible people, more so if they refuse to transport the inadmissible passengers back from where they came. There are sometimes sanctions for transporting people without "required" documentation even when the passengers are admissible. One of both of these type of bases for sanctions against airlines may be in play in many a country.
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Old Jun 26, 15, 6:22 am
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Well there are no exit controls in the US as you know, so the passport used to exit is basically the passport the airport agent types into the reservation.

Having said that, the rule is a US citizen should exit and (always) enter the US with their US passport...but it's not like anything will happen to her if she doesn't.

The complication will arise if she can't get the passport renewed abroad in time, but expired or not, she is still a US citizen with a right of re-entry - it's just unnecessary complication and stress.

Why not use one of the expedited services to get it renewed this week before departure?
CBP can and does random departure checks, to include rolling out the computers and swiping documents. It is a small number of flights each day relative to the number that leave the US but it happens.

I have flown eight int'l US orig flights in the last two months (not counting GUM) and three had CP in the jetway, including a recent IAH-NRT flight. Two of the three were just the open the passport money/work questions, one they were actually swiping passports of some at the remote computer kiosk they roll out.

Point is, while somewhat rare, outbound CBP checks happen everyday around the US.

Last edited by FlyingHoustonian; Jun 26, 15 at 10:30 am
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