I am a dual EU (Italy) and US citizen, living in the US. I entered the EU through Rome and stayed in Germany for eight months. I registered as a resident in my German city. The problem is that I entered Italy with my American passport. I will fly out through Rome. What should I do? Should I explain to Italian immigration what happened? Should I leave with the US passport? Leave with the Italian one? Present both?

  • 7
    "The problem is that I entered Italy with my American passport": Why do you think that would be a problem?
    – phoog
    Jun 27, 2018 at 12:07
  • 4
    @phoog I don't know about Italy specifically, but many countries have a requirement that you present that country's passport if you have one (and are a multi citizen).
    – JBentley
    Jun 27, 2018 at 18:11
  • 1
    @JBentley Sure. I'm fairly certain that Italy isn't one of those countries, however. Regardless, the point of my question is that the specific answer to the question "what should I do" depends on Jane's specific areas of concern, even if the answer is most likely to be "you don't need to be concerned about that."
    – phoog
    Jun 27, 2018 at 18:41
  • @JBentley: That doesn't mean that there's no allowance for making a mistake. I'd be hardpressed to expect OP to encounter any pushback (other than a bit of administrative confusion - which is not a problem, just a delay) when leaving Italy.
    – Flater
    Jun 28, 2018 at 12:11
  • @Flater I would be surprised if Italian exit checks on their citizens include a lookup in a database of foregners' entry records. It's possible of course; it just seems unlikely. Without such a lookup, I don't see how administrative confusion would arise.
    – phoog
    Jun 28, 2018 at 12:52

2 Answers 2


Only ever present your Italian passport or ID card at border control when entering/exiting an EU/Schengen country, provided you have it.

The same goes for your upcoming exit; only present your Italian document.

Firstly because you have a unconditional right to be there, and secondly entries and exits aren't electronically recorded, so they won't notice anything out of the ordinary if you just present your Italian document.

For flight check-in to the US, however, it's the US passport you need to present.

  • 6
    It might be a good idea to emphasize that the second point is really only significant from a practical point of view. Even if the authorities did somehow notice that the traveler had entered using the US passport, there would be no adverse consequence because of the first point.
    – phoog
    Jun 27, 2018 at 12:01
  • 5
    It might also be worth considering that even if there is a system for matching entry and exit records, the vast majority of Schengen-area citizens flying out of the Schengen area wouldn't have a matching entry record. Their records would be in exit-entry pairs rather than entry-exit pairs. The fact remains, however, that if anyone confronts the traveler because the entry with the US passport remains unmatched, or because it is matched to an exit with an Italian passport, there would be no problem once the traveler proves her Italian citizenship.
    – phoog
    Jun 27, 2018 at 15:02
  • 1
    The only time I have ever seen this being an issue was during transit through AMS where my colleague presented his Irish passport on landing and going through airport security then presented his US passport at the gate to leave, but this was the AMS passenger tracking through the airport rather than immigration I suspect.
    – Blair
    Jun 27, 2018 at 16:51
  • 2
    @Blair passenger tracking isn't necessary for that to be a problem. When a third-country passport is presented on exit, the border officer is supposed to verify that the person has not overstayed. Normally this is done by looking for an entry stamp. The absence of an entry stamp in the US passport on exit from the Schengen area would be enough to cause a problem.
    – phoog
    Jun 27, 2018 at 18:43
  • @phoog true, but the gate check is by the airline and airport, not border security. It's to check whether everyone who checked in has boarded, and only people with valid boarding cards are boarding. Most likely the problem here was the passport shown on checkin not matching that shown on boarding, which is all that'd register there.
    – jwenting
    Jun 28, 2018 at 4:53

The only possible problem is that the "paper trail" on your US passport looks incomplete. Somebody who looks at your US passport might conclude that you did overstay (which would be wrong -- your freedom of movement as an EU citizen is independent of how you entered or left).

  • When you apply for a third country visa, you would presumably mention your Italian citizenship, so overstay in the EU cannot be an issue.
  • When you enter the EU, as Coke said the easiest way is to show your Italian passport.
  • 5
    Schengen border guards are notorious for forgetting to stamp passports on exit, so its pretty common not to have an exit stamp.
    – JonathanReez
    Jun 27, 2018 at 16:04
  • 4
    @JonathanReez And Italians are even worse about stamping anything at all Jun 27, 2018 at 16:35
  • @AzorAhai Not to mention the French and Greeks
    – Crazydre
    Jun 27, 2018 at 21:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.