I am a US-(another country) dual citizen currently living in the States. The only forms of ID I have right now are the US and non-US passports.

Naturally, the latter has no US visa in it. I need to renew my US passport right now (urgently), so I will not have my US passport for the next month. I also need to fly domestically during that time. Would I be able to use my non-US passport as ID in the airport, or would they be concerned with the lack of a visa in it?

I do not have a US driver's license or state ID to use as an alternative.

  • 2
    Won’t they give you a receipt that your passport renewal is in process? That alongwith your other passport should be enough. Apr 18, 2018 at 13:38
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    @HankyPanky It's been a long time since I renewed my US passport, but I do not recall that the receipt from the post office said anything about whose passport was being renewed, or even that the piece of mail being sent was a passport application.
    – phoog
    Apr 18, 2018 at 14:29
  • 6
    Can you go to the DMV and get a non-drivers-license state ID? It usually costs a few tens of dollars, requires some documentation, and will probably take the better part of an afternoon waiting in line, but it would be helpful to have, especially in the country's current political climate. Apr 18, 2018 at 16:49
  • 1
    @HankyPanky How do you get a receipt for a US passport renewal? I've never heard of such a thing. Apr 18, 2018 at 17:37
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    How soon do you need to travel? Renewing a passport is a lot easier than getting the first one. I recently renewed my US passport, paid for the expedited service, and the new one came in the mail exactly seven days later. A friend renewed hers without paying the extra and the new one came in 9 days.
    – Flynn
    Apr 18, 2018 at 20:45

4 Answers 4


I can report from personal experience: I do this all the time with my non-US passport, which has no US visas or even entry stamps because I am, like you, a dual citizen. Nobody has ever paid the slightest attention to my immigration status.

If someone does ask you about your immigration status (for example, if you encounter US Border Patrol in McAllen or Brownsville, Texas) you should of course tell them that you are (also) a US citizen. They may detain you for further investigation, but you can't get in trouble with them for having only your foreign passport.

Peter Green's suggestion of carrying a copy of your passport is a good one, especially if you are going somewhere with significant Border Patrol activity. A photocopy of a passport is not a secure document, of course, but it could well tip the balance for a Border Patrol officer who is deciding between believing your claim of US citizenship and taking you to down the station to investigate more thoroughly.


Note: this is based on what I have read online, I don't have personal experiance.


A foreign passport is on the official list of acceptable ID for the TSA.

TSA is not immigration. They would not normally have a reason to be interested in immigration status and because of the way US visa's work not having a current visa does not imply a forigner doesn't have a valid immigration status.

However ICE can do random checks of people near international borders (including airports) even if they were not crossing the border.

So I would suggest that you make a copy of the ID page of your US passport before sending it in for renewal and carry it with you.


I have often gone through TSA showing only my UK passport. It does not have a visa, because I am a US permanent resident. Moreover, TSA does not look for visas. I hand them the passport open at the page that has my name, photo etc., and that is all they look at.

  • 3
    Most UK passports in the US would lack US visas, since most British citizens in the US will have entered with the VWP.
    – phoog
    Apr 18, 2018 at 14:40
  • Well except if you live there. But your point is true. All passports on the VWP for tourists wouldn't carry a visa therefore the OP looks like one such person. Apr 19, 2018 at 13:02
  • @DavidBrossard Passports for VWP travelers have admission stamps with the notation WT or WB for "class." US citizen stamps typically leave class blank, although I've seen a couple that say "USC." A permanent resident's admission stamp (which one might find in Patricia Shanahan's passport) would say something else, but it seems to vary depending on the circumstances. In any event, a US dual citizen would normally have no US stamps in his or her foreign passport, so the OP's foreign passport would look more like that of an illegal immigrant than like that of a VWP visitor.
    – phoog
    Apr 19, 2018 at 19:57
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    @phoog I think the important point is that TSA does not look beyond the photo and name page when the passport is being used as TSA Id. Apr 19, 2018 at 23:02
  • That is of course the most important point, but people flying from Brownsville or McAllen ought to take the very real possibility of a Border Patrol inspection into account as well. These could theoretically occur in any airport within 100 miles of the border, but anecdotal evidence suggests that those two are the airports where it is most likely to happen.
    – phoog
    Apr 20, 2018 at 0:41

You should only need to have a government-issue photo ID to get through TSA for domestic travel (ie. driver's license, passport (any country), etc). But only for domestic travel. If you attempt to use a non-US passport (either for exit or entry to the US), then you run the risk that you are entering or exiting the USA under a false pretense. This could result in inability to travel on that trip that you are doing it, or on future travel.

It's best to have your US passport available and up to date at all times. Most processing centers have expedited service (for a fee) that should help. There are a lot of third-party agents offering to do this, but from personal experience, I would avoid them. I've had situations where an expired passport was only discovered the day of travel with my family and I had to send them ahead and drive to a processing center (Tucson) and get it done. But I did manage to get it same day, pleading my case, and although it cost me dearly with airline re-ticketing, I was able to board my international flight about a week later and meet my family at the international destination.

From personal experience, an expired US passport should be avoided where possible. It's not that big a deal to renew and you should do this at least 6 months before any international departure. Note that some airlines or airport exit points will not let you board a flight either to the US or from the US if you have less than 6 months expiration on your passport, so do this within 12 months of its expiration to avoid any issues.

  • Since the US has no exit immigration procedure there is no coherent concept of 'exiting' with a non-US passport.
    – Alan Munn
    Apr 19, 2018 at 16:44
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    The US has a law making it unlawful for a US citizen to (enter or) depart from the US "unless he bears a valid US passport." You can show a non-US passport to whomever you want when you're leaving without violating the law as long as you have your valid US passport with you as well. Only if you actively disclaim your US citizenship would you run the risk of getting in trouble because of false pretenses.
    – phoog
    Apr 19, 2018 at 20:01
  • @AlanMunn the law actually requires you to "bear" the passport, not show it to anyone, so a dual citizen who leaves the US without a US passport is violating the law. Fortunately, there's no penalty for doing so.
    – phoog
    Apr 19, 2018 at 20:05

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