My US passport expired in february and I am flying to the US in 2 weeks.

I have dual citizenship, which means I also have a Danish passport, but my application for ESTA was denied since I technically hold US citizenship - although my residency is currently in Europe.

I will only be in the US for a memorial for 4 days.

What should I do? Can I travel on the expired US passport?

In Denmark it is not easy to get a passport renewal done quickly as the consulate is completely backed up and almost impossible to get in touch with.

  • The airline is unlikely to let you board with an expired US passport, nor will they let you board with Danish passport without an ESTA. I think you'll need to renew your passport through the consulate. Is it possible to use a consulate in a neighbouring country?
    – user79658
    Oct 30, 2018 at 10:07
  • @Katrina Golden Do you have any other photo ID proving your US citizenship that is accepted by the airline you’ll be travelling with? travel.stackexchange.com/questions/100664/…
    – Traveller
    Oct 30, 2018 at 10:22
  • I'll have to check, but I think my old U.S. Driver's license is also expired. I got it 8 or 9 years ago. I'll try to check WOW airlines to see what other documentation would be accepted. Oct 30, 2018 at 11:00
  • 3
    The standard time for a passport is 3 weeks. You could request an emergency passport (valid only once). Book an appointment through the system (there are slots available for Thursday), and ask for an emergency passport.
    – jcaron
    Oct 30, 2018 at 11:22
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    A driver's license says nothing about citizenship. @CannonFodder the question you link to concerns entry by land. The airline won't accept anything but a passport. The answer could be useful if following Hilmar's suggestion of flying to Canada and entering by land.
    – phoog
    Oct 30, 2018 at 13:17

2 Answers 2


As a US citizen you cannot be denied entry into the United States. So as long as you can show up at the border and present reasonable proof that you are a US citizen (expired passport, birth certificate, US license, voter registrations, etc), you will eventually get in.

CBP may give you a hard time and you may have to spent significant extra time in secondary inspection but legally they are required to let you in.

However, you need to get yourself to the border first. Any airline is highly unlikely to let you board a plane without a valid passport or ESTA, since they may get fined by the US for this. Potentially you can try to to get an eTA for Canada and make your way to the land border. Nothing about this would be easy or pleasant so you have to weigh your options here.

  • 1
    I would indeed, if an emergency passport cannot be obtained in time, go through Canada or Mexico, probably depending on where in the U.S. the OP wants to go. That's most likely a perfectly viable option. Jul 18, 2023 at 15:01
  • On the east coast, It is fairly easy to fly to Toronto Pearson, then take the train to Windsor, then take the Windsor tunnel bus across the border. After crossing, it is an easy taxi ride to the Detroit Metro Airport. I think there is a similar Vancouver ->Seattle transfer for west coast travel. Jul 21, 2023 at 0:17

Welcome new user!

  1. It is utterly, totally, completely inconceivable you can fly to the US with an expired passport.

Nothing more need be said on that.

  1. It's weird you were not able to get an ESTA with your ordinary Danish passport but, so be it. Normally you just don't mention any other passports. But what's done is done.

  2. I'm not Danish, and nor do I hold nor would I ever hold a US passport, but as a general rule it is extremely hard to urgently renew a passport when you are not in the country in question. It's very, very, easy to renew a US passport, within hours, if you are in the USA. (Newsflash: governments love you giving them money. :/ ) I fear it will be difficult/impossible to renew your US passport urgently when you are not in the USA.

In true, honest-to-God emergencies (involving nuclear plants, politicians hiding money, etc) there may be a route, but I fear there's no chance this would apply here. Sorry for the downer news.

  • 2
    Why is it "difficult/impossible" to renew her US passport urgently? She's already booked an appointment to do so. US consulates issue emergency passports all the time, which would be enough to travel for a memorial. Oct 30, 2018 at 17:30
  • 2
    @ZachLipton US emergency passports have a 1 year validity period, instead of 10 years. The passport holder is expected to replace it with a normal passport after making their trip with the emergency passport. Oct 30, 2018 at 18:14
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    Flying isn't the only way to get into the US
    – Hilmar
    Oct 30, 2018 at 18:45
  • 4
    I think this answer is intended to be humorous but to me it comes over as flippant with a slight air of sarcasm. Downvoted for that reason.
    – user79658
    Oct 30, 2018 at 18:59
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    @user79658 Upvoted exactly for the same reasons! ;-) Jul 18, 2023 at 14:59

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