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I am currently visiting my family in Canada. Normally I bring both my Italian and Canadian passports with me when I travel outside the EU, but this time I wasn't thinking straight and brought only my Canadian passport with me. So when I re-enter the UK, I will only have my Canadian passport; when it comes time to explain to border control that I am re-entering the UK to continue my full-time job, I will not have my Italian passport with me to prove that I have the right to live and work in the UK.

What should I do? Should I explain to border control that I am an Italian citizen at the border, even though I don't have the passport to prove it, or will this cause issues? I could see if I have any other documentation that indicates I am an Italian citizen. Also, I have a picture of my Italian passport photo page that I could show.

  • Can you get someone to FedEx you your Italian passport before you leave Canada? – The Photon Jan 7 at 21:30
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    Presumably you don’t have your Italian ID card? Sometimes people don’t know you can enter the UK with only that. – MJeffryes Jan 7 at 22:14
  • @MJeffryes I don't have any other Italian ID, as I am lucky enough to have citizenship through my parents. But good to know this can be used. – Rae Jan 9 at 16:50
  • @ThePhoton Because I'll be returning tomorrow, it's too late now. Perhaps that would have been the smart thing to do! – Rae Jan 9 at 16:53
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    @Rae You ought to be able to get an Italian national ID card regardless of the reason for your Italian citizenship. The Netherlands used to refuse to issue national ID cards to people living outside countries where it is useful (mostly EU and Schengen countries, more or less), but they recently changed that. I'm not aware of other countries that have a similar restriction. But if you live in the UK as the tags suggest, you should certainly be able to get an Italian ID card: conslondra.esteri.it/consolato_londra/en/i_servizi/… – phoog Jan 9 at 18:21
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You don't necessarily need to explain that you are an Italian citizen unless they try to refuse entry. If they stamp your passport with the usual tourist stamp that says you cannot work, that stamp has no legal effect as long as you remain an Italian citizen. This is explicit in the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016 in Schedule 3:

Leave under the 1971 Act

  1. Where a person has leave to enter or remain under the 1971 Act which is subject to conditions and that person also has a right to reside under these Regulations, those conditions do not have effect for as long as the person has that right to reside.

Also, by 11(4), you are entitled to show by means other than a passport or ID card that you are an EU citizen (the following is edited to remove references to circumstances that do not apply to you):

(4) Before an immigration officer refuses admission to the United Kingdom to a person under this regulation because the person does not produce on arrival a [passport or ID card issued by an EEA member state], the immigration officer must provide every reasonable opportunity for the document to be obtained by, or brought to, the person or allow the person to prove by other means that the person is—

(a) an EEA national;

...

You can of course also have someone send your Italian passport to you, as noted in a comment, but there is a (probably very small) risk of the passport being lost.

I'm not sure whether the bit about leave conditions not having effect will continue to be true after the UK leaves the EU. In principle, it should be, but it's possible that those who have been drafting the new laws have overlooked this part of the old law.

  • Thanks for the information — I'll let you know how it goes! – Rae Jan 9 at 16:54
  • Briefly, I met 11(4) using a pic of my Italian passport photo page on my phone. I told border control that I live in the UK and explained I had left my Italian passport at home, showing the pic. After checking with a colleague, the border guard did a "manual doc check" by looking up my Italian passport details in the system and then let me in without stamping my Canadian passport. (He was concerned that the stamp would cause me problems because it'd say I couldn't work in the UK—since it all seemed to be working out, I didn't quote Schedule 3 ;-)). They were helpful, understanding and nice. – Rae Jan 11 at 18:41

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