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I read I have two passports/nationalities. How do I use them when I travel? and this but the answers mention air travel. I'm interested in using 2 passports at a land border. At a land border crossing, can I use passport A to exit one country and use passport B to enter the neighboring country?

Example scenario

  1. I live in country A and I have nationality A.
  2. I fly to country-1, which gives citizens of A a visa on arrival.
    • Country-1 does not give citizens of B a visa on arrival.
    • B citizens must get an expensive visa before departure for country-1.
  3. Now I want to travel overland from country-1 to country-2.
    • At the land border country-2 charges citizens of country A an expensive visa on arrival fee.
    • At the land border country-2 gives B citizens a free visa on arrival.
  4. (Another concern: eventually this overland journey arrives in country B, of which I have a passport. I'm worried what country B will do if the stamp of the neighboring country is not in my passport.)

A picture to illustrate the land crossing:

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Can I swap passports at the land border? Or will the immigration officials of country 2 not allow this?

  • 1
    Can you specify to which countries? Some countries will not worry, others may not let you leave the country if the next country is likely not to let you in (as far as they know you do not have the right passport to get a visa.) – Willeke Jul 7 '18 at 19:58
  • Immigration officers all over the world are used to people with two (or more) passports. There are a few cases of countries not allowing their own citizens to hold another passport, but if the two passports you have are from countries other than the one being visited, they probably don’t care much. But of course, being more specific about which countries you are thinking of will let others chime in on the eventual peculiarities... – jcaron Jul 7 '18 at 23:28
  • @jcaron I've seen some stories here where some border guards at a land border won't stamp a passport unless it has an exit stamp from their counterparts across the border. This can be a problem for someone hoping to avoid paying for an expensive visa by switching passports. On the other hand, I have routinely swapped passports at land borders in southern Europe without trouble. – phoog Jul 8 '18 at 1:58
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This will depend very much on the details, i.e. which countries, which citizenship(s) and which border crossing.

But yes, at many land border crossings, you can swap passports. Often a land border crossing consists of two separate control points: exit from country A which is staffed by country A and governed by country A jurisdiction (laws and regulations) and an entry point into country B which is fully governed by B. In between is often a short walk or drive of "no mans land".

In many cases you can use one passport to exit A and a different passport to enter B.

Example: On Thursday night I crossed from China into Hong Kong at the Shenzhen land border. I left China using my US passport (which has a China visa and is the one I used to enter China). Entering Hong Kong I had the choice to use either on my US or German passport. Either one would have worked and the choice is independent on how I left China. These are different control points staffed by different people with different rules and different forms to fill out.

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