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I recently had an immigration nightmare. I am a seasoned traveler and think I made an amateur mistake. However, I'd like some guidance if you have some advice.

I am a dual Colombian-US citizen. I recently reclaimed my Colombian citizenship. I booked a trip to the Dominican Republic. I was granted entry no problem. However, I was refused exit because I did not have a visa for entry to the US. They did not care that I was a dual citizen. I prefer to travel on my Colombian passport but unless I get a visa, I cannot.

Does anyone know how to get a visa to be able to travel on the Colombian passport for entry back to the US?

  • Were you carrying both passports at the time and if so, did you show your US passport? – brhans Jan 23 '18 at 22:50
  • You were refused exit? By the DR? – Acccumulation Jan 23 '18 at 22:50
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    US law says you have to enter the US using your US passport, and US citizens can't be given a visa. I don't think you have any alternative to getting a US passport and using it. The US embassy can help you get one. – Nate Eldredge Jan 23 '18 at 22:58
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    Why would you prefer to enter the USA on a Colombian passport? In any case, it is not surprising the airline didn't take your word for being a dual citizen. – Andrew Lazarus Jan 24 '18 at 0:06
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You'll need a US passport. If you tried to apply for a visa on your Colombian passport, you'd be asked what other citizenships you hold. Once you tell them you're a US citizen, they'll stop looking at your visa application, because visas are only for foreigners. So while you may prefer to travel on your Colombian passport, that's not an option in this case.

If you don't have a US passport with you (or don't have one at home someone can send to you), you'll need to contact the nearest US Embassy for assistance. They can handle passport applications, but it may be quicker to get an emergency travel document to get back to the US, assuming you are in a hurry to get home. Here's their page on lost/stolen travel documents (not exactly your situation, but similar), and on requesting an emergency appointment. You can also email "passport and citizenship inquiries" to sdoamericans@state.gov if you have questions about their local procedures.

You may also want to review our general question: I have two passports/nationalities. How do I use them when I travel?

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They did not care that I was a dual citizen. I prefer to travel on my Colombian passport but unless I get a visa, I cannot..

Exactly. To enter the US you need a US passport, period. Colombians require a visa, and as you're also American, you cannot get a visa.

Whether you tell people in the DR you're a dual citizen is irrelevant - without a US passport check-in staff will not let you board a flight to the US. Although you'll be let into the US, the airline could be heavily fined if letting you board.

So you'll need to get a US passport or transportation letter at a US embassy.

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You ask

Does anyone know how to get a visa to be able to travel on the Colombian passport for entry back to the US?

Unfortunately, you cannot. Visas are by law to be issued only to "aliens," which you are not. From the US Foreign Affairs Manual, in particular part 9, the handbook for consular staff:

You may not issue a nonimmigrant visa to an individual who has been determined to be a U.S. citizen.

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