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I hold dual nationality - British and South African. I am due to travel to Russia from UK. I intend to use my South African passport to exit UK because South African passport holders are entitled to enter Russia without a visa. Will Border Control at UK port of exit permit me to leave UK for Russia using my South African passport?

  • Thanks so much for the detailed reply. Will the same scenario apply if I decided to fly to Russia from a German airport ? I'm contemplating a flight to Frankfurt en-route to Russia, but I still need to enter Russia on my South African passport. – Peter Jan 15 at 12:21
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I intend to use my South African passport to exit UK because South African passport holders are entitled to enter Russia without a visa

What passport you'll use for entry to the destination does not affect what passport to use for exiting the departure country.

Will Border Control at UK port of exit permit me to leave UK for Russia using my South African passport?

If the UK did border control on exit at airports, no, you'd have to use your British passport, as with the South African one they'd look for an entry stamp and visa or BRP, and suspect you of being an illegal immigrant if not shown your British passport.

However, since the UK doesn't do border control on exit at airports, the issue is moot.

At bag drop, though, you should present both passports, explaining the British one is to be used for UK API purposes (advance passenger data - the staff will understand), and the SA one for the passenger data for Russia.

For this reason, I recommend you not to use self-service bag drop (if available) even if checking in online, as API forms online normally only allow one document to be used. Since Russia also does API, your UK passport has to be used for UK API and the SA one for Russian API. As such, bag drop staff may have to correct the data.

  • I think you might want to elaborate on “API”. What if OP checks in online? – MJeffryes Jan 14 at 13:36
  • @MJeffryes Unless only bringing hand luggage, they still have to go to bag drop, where these matters are handled – Crazydre Jan 14 at 14:13
  • Depends on the airline in my experience. More and more airlines are using kiosks, with minimal staff interaction. The concern for me would be that they enter the Russian passport in API when checking in online, and as a result could be recorded as an overstayer. – MJeffryes Jan 14 at 14:15
  • @MJeffryes You mean self-service bag drop? Also I've heard Russia also does API, in wich case the SA passport details would need to be entered during OLCI, but for UK API the UK passport details – Crazydre Jan 14 at 14:17
  • @Crazydre do you know how common it is for airlines' systems to be able to send different documents to the API systems of the departure country and the arrival country? I'm anticipating with some trepidation the introduction of ETIAS, especially in light of US efforts to tighten API-effected exit controls. – phoog Jan 14 at 14:40

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