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Dual US/German Citizen Traveling to China, Which Passport(s) to Use?

Dual US/German Citizen Traveling to China, Which Passport(s) to Use?

Old Dec 1, 17, 1:02 am
  #1  
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Dual US/German Citizen Traveling to China, Which Passport(s) to Use?

Just changed this week from DE-citizen/US-LPR to DE/US-citizen and trying to read up dual passport travel... *confused*.

Recommendations on various web-pages say to provide passport of destination country during check-in because airline wants to make sure you are allowed to enter the destination country. I guess because airline otherwise has to pay for carrying the denied passenger back ;-) And to just use local/right passport of the country you're entering/exiting for entry/exit-immigration checks.

But how does this work with third party country: I only have CN visa in DE passport (not enough time to get a new one on US passport). So i need to enter china with DE passport (and hope they can enter during check-in DE passport without it getting into tourist VW exit tracking problems). But what to use on the way back ? I definitely want to use DE passport to leave CN so they have correct exit-tracking (do not want to make it look as if i had overstayed). But also need to use US passport for them to know i can enter US.

Web pages make it look as if immigrations has nothing to do with check-in, but that sounds strange in the time of electronically networked systems. And i am not talking about fragmented bureaucracies like DE/US, but countries like CN: If i check in with US passport in CN, but then use DE passport on CN exit-immigration, would that not cause confusion/problems with linked tracking systems ?

I guess it would be easier to understand if i would understand what data exactly can be entered by agent during check-in. I know in DE/US how they can deal with DE passport + LPR(GC) status, but no idea if/how they an enter two passports.

Oh well, i will just show both passports and ask and hope for the best. I do have Global Entry and will get it updated to add the US passport before the trip, hope hat helps to eliminate issues on the US side... Or not ;-) ;-(
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Old Dec 1, 17, 2:08 am
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Just use your DE passport. The gate agent will not care. DE citizens are visa-waived in the US anyway and they don't really check status. If there's any doubt, you can always show them your US passport, but there likely won't be any need.

Returning, show the gate agent the DE passport, and if/when asked about ESTA, say you're a US citizen too, and if asked about the passport, show it. Again, shouldn't be a problem. Chinese immigration likely only need your DE passport. Again, if asked...

It's a game of showing only what is absolutely necessary at first, and only volunteering more if asked. You're legally a dual-citizen, so there's no need to be afraid. Just don't show your DE passport to CBP unless they ask for it... they're a bunch of whiners.
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Old Dec 1, 17, 2:34 am
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Thanks. I think i'll run with that recommendation. Still would like to know what happens under the covers ;-)
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Old Dec 1, 17, 3:45 am
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Originally Posted by cafeconleche View Post
Returning, show the gate agent the DE passport, and if/when asked about ESTA, say you're a US citizen too, and if asked about the passport, show it. Again, shouldn't be a problem. Chinese immigration likely only need your DE passport. Again, if asked...
One note on the ESTA: this i checked at checkin, i.e. also at online check-in. If the airline does not have the information about the US passport, you won't be able to do online check-in and you will have to do it at the airport.
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Old Dec 1, 17, 10:46 am
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Right. Lets see what happens when i try to check in online with the unitd app. First hurdle is that UA has not seen the visa yet, but on other flyertalks threads it seems as if you can actually successfully add visas by scanning through the mobile app. But will it take the second (US) passport as acceptable option for the exit tracking of the DE passport.

And if i may digress: USCIS made me collect 5 years of international trips data (50..110kM/year) for naturalization and the interview officer actually checked all the stamps on my DE passport but was happy to stop seeing more since i became GE three years ago (no stamps). Aka: I would be scared (bureaucracy incompetence) if USCIS could not access CBP entry/exit data, but i am a lot more annoyed assuming that they can access the data but still had me run through hoops writing down this data myself (sure i did plan for this and had "heap of boarding passes" ;-). As in: we just wanted to give you one more option for failing naturalization by letting you write down details no human should need to remember. Pure harrassment.
Can you sue a bureaucracy for harrassment ? Wait: wrong question. Can you succeed sueing a bureaucracy for harrassment ?. No chance in DE, but maybe US is better ? ;-) (yes, ok. i will wake up now and be docile again).

But its kinda on subject: If CBP exit data on DE passport comes from check-in data and is passed to CBP, how actually does the trusted traveller number (in my UA profile) influences what info is needed during check-in ? UA must be able to get feedback from CBP "valid trusted traveler, print TSApre on BP". Would UA also get a bit back from CBP - "US citizen", DE passport sufficient for check-in ?

So i definitely want to go to CBP/GE and have them add my US passport to my profile before trying the UA online app to check-in online. Lets see.

This is what i meant with "what happens under the cover".
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Old Dec 1, 17, 11:09 am
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Exclamation Moderator's Note: Topic Drift

Folks,

Please stay on topic (FT Rule 5), which is entering China on a German passport and returning to the US with a US passport.

If you wish to discuss USCIS bureaucracy, etc., as long as it is travel security related, please start a new thread in the Checkpoints and Borders Policy Debate forum. Otherwise it belongs in OMNI, where the OP does not have access due not having yet posted 180 messages.

If you wish to discuss the logistics of Global Entry, please do so in the Trusted Travelers forum,

Thank you for understanding,

TWA884
Travel Safety/Security co-moderator

Last edited by TWA884; Dec 1, 17 at 11:15 am
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Old Dec 1, 17, 11:12 am
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Thanks, roger wilco.
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Old Dec 1, 17, 11:15 am
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P.S. @te36, you may wish to take a look at the following threads:
Dual citizen - can you EXIT U.S. using foreign passport
Possible USA exit controls coming?
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Old Dec 1, 17, 8:01 pm
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If you are departing US for China, show check-in agent in US both passports. You've done your part in complying with US requirement to depart on US passport. In the unlikely event CBP raise a stink you didn't use your US passport to depart, the fault is with the airline as you presented both passports.
Show DE passport to Chinese immigration
Returning to US from China, show check-in agent in China US passport (and DE if asked).
Show DE passport to Chinese immigration
Show US passport to CBP
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Old Dec 2, 17, 3:17 pm
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
If you are departing US for China, show check-in agent in US both passports. You've done your part in complying with US requirement to depart on US passport. In the unlikely event CBP raise a stink you didn't use your US passport to depart, the fault is with the airline as you presented both passports.
Show DE passport to Chinese immigration
Returning to US from China, show check-in agent in China US passport (and DE if asked).
Show DE passport to Chinese immigration
Show US passport to CBP
Yup.

Showing multiple passports is fine so long as it is legal to possess them (if you were a China/US and showed both your Chinese one would be immediately cancelled as China doesn't permit dual citizenship), although you'll get a few clueless checkin people. (Hey, before you say I don't have a visa, why don't you notice the second passport rubber-banded to the one you're looking at?? You think I did that as a joke?)
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Old Dec 2, 17, 9:16 pm
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
If you are departing US for China, show check-in agent in US both passports. You've done your part in complying with US requirement to depart on US passport. In the unlikely event CBP raise a stink you didn't use your US passport to depart, the fault is with the airline as you presented both passports.
Show DE passport to Chinese immigration
Returning to US from China, show check-in agent in China US passport (and DE if asked).
Show DE passport to Chinese immigration
Show US passport to CBP
That sounds about right. What worries me mostly is when you have to show one passport to the check-in agent and another one to immigration. That always smells like trouble given how one would expect that data from check-in is passed on to immigrations, so if someone is checked in that doesn't show up in immigrations.

Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Yup.

Showing multiple passports is fine so long as it is legal to possess them (if you were a China/US and showed both your Chinese one would be immediately cancelled as China doesn't permit dual citizenship), although you'll get a few clueless checkin people. (Hey, before you say I don't have a visa, why don't you notice the second passport rubber-banded to the one you're looking at?? You think I did that as a joke?)
In germany, you can legally have another country passport after you got a written permission from DE authority first, so i always fear that DE authorities will also want to see that permission or else some random german officer will keep the passport. Thats what happened once to a friend in the DE consulate that actually provided the permission - "oh yeah, our consular officers have no ideas what permissions someone else in the consulate handed out earlier".

Last edited by TWA884; Dec 2, 17 at 10:50 pm Reason: Merge consecutive posts by the same member; please use the multi-quote function
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Old Dec 2, 17, 9:39 pm
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
If you are departing US for China, show check-in agent in US both passports. You've done your part in complying with US requirement to depart on US passport. In the unlikely event CBP raise a stink you didn't use your US passport to depart, the fault is with the airline as you presented both passports.
Yup. That. For *check in* I just give them all the passports and let them screw it up. I even make a point of mentioning which one has the right visa for destination (if needed) and have it open there for them. At *immigration* I will hand over whichever passport if nominally required. Leaving the US: they get the US passport. Entering China: they get the passport with the visa. I've only ever had it question once (they could obviously see what passport I'd left the US on) and I just pulled out the others and told them the US requires I leave on the US one. No problem.

Does Germany allow dual nationality now?
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Old Dec 3, 17, 1:04 am
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Originally Posted by JamesBigglesworth View Post

Does Germany allow dual nationality now?
With certain EU countries and those countries which don't allow their nationals to be released from citizenship / those which have a burdensome financial requirement to relinquish it (ie the US)
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Old Dec 3, 17, 6:45 am
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Yup.

Showing multiple passports is fine so long as it is legal to possess them (if you were a China/US and showed both your Chinese one would be immediately cancelled as China doesn't permit dual citizenship), although you'll get a few clueless checkin people. (Hey, before you say I don't have a visa, why don't you notice the second passport rubber-banded to the one you're looking at?? You think I did that as a joke?)
Sounds like such an individual should be looking at why they are breaking their countries’ laws to begin with and decide how they should resolve.

Originally Posted by te36 View Post
That sounds about right. What worries me mostly is when you have to show one passport to the check-in agent and another one to immigration. That always smells like trouble given how one would expect that data from check-in is passed on to immigrations, so if someone is checked in that doesn't show up in immigrations.
Dual nationality is very common. Immigration doesn’t care unless you are breaking laws with having dual nationality relevant to that country.

The only law concerning which passport to use relevant to your itinerary is the US regulation requiring US citizens to fly out/into US using US passport. Even then, that regulation is toothless at best.
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Old Dec 3, 17, 7:00 am
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To be technical. The concept of "Dual" citizenship is outdated. The term "Multiple" Citizenship is more accurate as many people hold more than 2 passports.
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