Dual Citizenship What You Need To Know If You Have 2 Passports

Dual Citizenship Using 2 Passports

We’re standing in line at the French custom at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

There are two lines. Once has the sign French citizens, the other, Foreigners.

That’s how my husband (now ex) and I ended up in two separate lines.

I got in the French citizen line, and he had to go in the foreigner’s line.

I waited for him on the French territory side a good 15-20 minutes before he appeared.

That experience alone taught me to ALWAYS make sure to travel with my French passport wherever I travel, not only to France, but to any European country.

This is only a fun true story to illustrate how cool it is to have a passport from the country you’re going to,  but there are more serious reasons why it’s handy.

In this post I want to give you some guidance about how and when to use your passports, so you will always be better off, rather than getting yourself in a mess, because you don’t know what you’re doing.

But first let’s clarify a few things for those who don’t know about this yet.

 

Having two Passports (dual citizenship) is Totally Legal

I know it may sound strange to some people, but having more than one passport is totally legal.

I am a French citizen and an American citizen, thus I have 2 passports.

Both my French and American passports were about to expire, so I had to renew them both at about the same time.

I had to fly to Atlanta, GA this past November to renew my French passport, and I renewed my American passport this past month.

Even though my French passport was actually made in France and sent back to the US, it took about the same amount of time for me to get my French passport as it did my American one.

I thought that was really interesting.

So now I’m all set, and I can fly to any of the 28 European countries that are part of the European Union headache free.

What does this mean for anyone who has an American passport and a passport from any of those countries?

Well, in short it means lots of freedom and much fewer hassles.

 

6 Benefits of Dual Citizenship and Carrying 2 Passports

 

1 – Fast Check Points

As my true story illustrated above, with two passports, you’re bound to go through check points much faster.

It’s actually pretty cool to hear the clerk say “welcome home” both when you enter your European country and when you get back to the United States.

It makes it so well worth it to have to pay for two passports instead of one.

However, there are few important things to remember, if you’re carrying two passports in your handbag.

  • Never travel abroad without both your passports.
  • Always show the passport of your home country in that country.
  • Remember that you are not two people. You are one person with a dual citizenship. Governments are able to know anything about you by name, birthday, and birth place. Not by citizenship.

2 – Citizenship Benefits All Over Europe for EU Passport Holders

As a holder of a European Union passport, you are totally free to stay in any of EU (European Union) member country, as long as you want without the need of a visa.

No visa or working permit application to fill out, and no questions asked.

In my case, for example, even though my European passport is issued in France, I can work indefinitely in Italy, Spain, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and any other country of the European Union.

Isn’t that cool?

Not only that, but with that other passport of yours, you’ll be able to open a bank account,  potentially get health insurance benefits and even education, if you chose to do so.

 

3 – Freedom of Choice (as long as you’re smart about it)

Having two passports lets you choose which passport to show at any given time.

But here is the EXCEPTION…

Each time you leave and enter the United States, just remember to show your American passport.

Remember to always show that home passport in that home country.

Show the same passport if you fly from the US to a foreign country you do not have a citizenship in.

For example, if I fly from the US to Mexico, I’ll show my American passport in the US as well as Mexico.

But on the other hand, if I go to Europe, once I’m in Europe I’ll show my French/European passport.

Even though you are ALSO an American citizen, if you show your European passport on the American soil, they won’t know that, and you would require a visa.

Or worse even, like it happened to French friend of mine, you show them your French passport, and you say, Oops, I’ve shown you the wrong passport, and you get that American passport out of that other pocket, and flash it under their nose.

No, you didn’t?

Well, yes, my friend sure did.

So, what happens now?

Well,  they find this strange, so they pull you to side, or even take you to a room where they are going to ask you a bunch of questions, until they realize that THEY are the idiots, and that NO, you’re not a criminal.

Hopefully, by then you did missed you flight.

This type situation does happen at times.

And it certainly did happen to someone I know. So make sure it never happens to you.

I ALWAYS remember that I NEVER have to tell the American clerk that I’m French, and I NEVER have to tell the French clerk that I’m also American.

Never.

Because it’s not even relevant to them.

So be smart, and you’ll be fine.

 

4 – Multiple Embassy Choices

If you were to be in a country that is foreign to both your passports, you’ll still have at least two embassies you could go to if you needed refuge, or if you needed to go there for any reason.

Just use the correct language for the embassy you choose.

As soon as I entered the French Embassy/consulate in Atlanta, it was French speaking all the way.  And when I asked that woman if I had to put the date the French way or the American way, she looked at me like I was an idiot.

Oops my bad. I agree it was a stupid question.

For a fleeting moment I had forgotten that I was on French territory.

Oh well, it can happen when you’re in Atlanta, GA.

5 – Safer

In Some countries, Americans can be a target, while a European may not. If you happened to go to a country where Americans are not always welcome, you can always use your other passport.

This is one reason, I’m so glad I was born in a country that allows you to keep your original citizenship, no matter how many other citizenships you may acquire.

Actually, the French government totally disregards the fact that I’m American.

As I like to say, once French, always French.

However, the American government also totally disregard that I’m still French.

 

6 – Avoid the Reciprocity Fee

Reciprocity fee is an entry fee that some countries around the world (usually non-European countries) are charging Americans citizens to enter their country.

The reason they do this is because the American government makes it very difficult and costly to them (their citizens), to enter the United States, so it’s give back time for them.

If you have another passport than your American one (such as a European passport), it would be in your best interest to use that passport instead to avoid that fee which can be around $150-$200 per person (at the time of this article being written) Check for update fees.

 

Remember – Be Smart when Using your Multiple Passport Privileges

The rule of thumb when you travel with two or more passports is to shut your mouth.

Not because you’re doing something wrong – YOU ARE NOT – it’s 100% legal for anyone two hold passports from countries that recognize dual citizenship status, but you can’t assume that the airport clerks are knowledgeable on the matter.

You’d be surprised, but a lot of times they’re not.

That’s why my friend spent like an hour in that room, being questioned like a criminal, just because he had shown two passports instead of one.

It’s only when they finally got the information that you would assume they were trained and knew about, that they let him go.

There’s only about 1% of the world’s population that is traveling with two passports. It’s not the most common thing, even in airports, so chances are your little airport clerk is not one of them, and hasn’t read this article yet.

Bottom line, they don’t know.

Having dual citizenship is an extreme privilege,  and I am so thankful to be one of the few in this world to have that. But if you’re like me, you need to remember those things.

As long as I know what I’m doing, I know I’ll be OK, enjoying my citizenship(s) to the full.

So, be smart and be prepared.

Bon voyage.

But before you go, leave your comments bellow!

I know how to use my knowledge and put it in beautiful words for your business blog!

 

 

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10 Comments

  • Carol Amato says:

    Ciao, Sylviane,

    Awesome article, my friend! I’m a dual citizen as well. I have an American passport, and also an Italian passport because I’m an Italian citizen.

    I mostly follow everything what you recommend in your article. The only different thing I do is when I’m going to a country, I use that native passport to go there.

    When traveling to Italy, I use my Italian passport. When I fly back to the US, I use my US passport. It works great for me, and I don’t ever show two. Your poor friend being interrogated – that would be a bit scary.

    Yes, it sure is a blessing to have all the benefits of the health care, retirement, etc. Not sure when we’re going, but it won’t be this summer – that I do know.

    When are you leaving for Italy? I enjoyed reading about this – thanks for sharing!!

    Have a great weekend. 🙂
    ˜Carol
    Carol Amato invites you to read..Time Hacks to Make The Most of Your Screen TimeMy Profile

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Carol,

      You’re probably the only blogger friend that would be interested in this article, so I’m so glad you came. But this is the type of post that get searches, though.

      I didn’t know you had an Italian citizenship. How cool!

      So it means that you’re just like me, you’re allowed to work in all of the 28 EU countries 🙂

      Yes, I do the same as you, and as we should. I leave the US with my American passport and present the French on when I get to France. Each passport in its own home country as I said in the article, and we are problem free. This time I’ll present the French passport when I’ll get to Italy.

      We should NEVER present two passport for sure, because any country that allows multiple citizenships, also passively ignore the other(s). The French government ignores my American citizenship and the American government ignores my French citizenship.

      So I guess I won’t see you in Italy after all 🙁 I’m planning on leaving in May or June, it will depend when I’m ready. I have a whole apartment to empty first, and some dental work to finish. LOL!

      Thank you for coming by. Appreciate it very much.

      • Carol Amato says:

        Ciao, Sylviane,

        Yes, it is so exciting! Wow – so happy for you!

        Oh, no! I hate going to the dentist! My least favorite thing to do in all of my life! LOL

        Oops – I must not have said it right….

        I use my ITALIAN passport when leaving the US…That’s what I show in the US (JFK or Miami) when I’m leaving for Italy.

        When I’m in Italy ready to leave – I show my US passport when I am leaving Italy to come here to the US, so it’s a bit different than you – glad I never got in trouble though! 😉

        I guess my “stamps” don’t match up. Haha!

        Have a blessed weekend. 🙂

        ˜Carol
        Carol Amato invites you to read..How to Use Piktochart to Create Your Own Infographics (and Save Money)My Profile

        • Sylviane Nuccio says:

          Hey Carol,

          I’m almost out of here.

          I should be flying out in May 12 or 13, but it won’t be to Italy though, as I’m finding out that the internet is not great there, and I need 100% internet connection.

          So I’ve decided to fly to France. I’m going to do house sitting all over Europe while I work online, including Italy, but for maybe just a couple of weeks.

          I’m getting very excited as I’m getting close now.

  • Alize Camp says:

    So if a person has two passports, and there is a problem came to, who will protect that guy ?

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Alize,

      Protect in what way?

      When you have dual citizenship you benefit from both countries where you have citizenship with.

      Hope this help!

  • Mohd Arif says:

    Great effort for sharing citizenship membership tips, before this article I didn’t how we can have more then one passport is legal..
    thanks for given all tips, i strongly with you on all tips.. amazing article..

    Regards
    Mohd Arif

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Mohd,

      Well, I’m glad that you learned that you could have 2 or even more passports legally, as long as you are a citizen of those countries. Most free countries allow the right of multiple citizenships.

      Thank you for coming.

  • ISeenLab says:

    “So if a person has two passports, and there is a problem came to, who will protect that guy ?”
    I also not understand..

    may be criminal or tracking purpose. please justify. ALIZE CAMP

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi there,

      Well, no one is “protected” by their citizenship. Having two passports means having two citizenships. There is no reason to worry about anything, and no need to be protected. You are just a citizen of two or more countries. That’s all. Nothing to worry if you are a law abiding citizen of your respective countries.

      Hope this help.

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