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If I want to use my staff ticket I have to book the ticket under my Korean name (which is completely different from my English name) and Korean passport number. The only thing is I know that for the US you have to enter and leave using your US passport if you’re a citizen. Would it be possible for me to just buy my ticket using my Korean name and passport but when I enter the US just explain my situation and show my US passport to show that I’m a US citizen?

marked as duplicate by David Richerby, Giorgio, Michael Hampton, choster, jpatokal Jan 15 at 19:53

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    Don't produce your US passport until you arrive in the US. If you get asked about an ESTA at check-in then explain. – Richard Jan 15 at 15:52
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    As a US monocitizen, I don't understand the things at factor here. What stops you from boarding the flight with your Korean passport and presenting your American one at immigration? – Azor Ahai Jan 15 at 19:53
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    @AzorAhai lack of a visa or ESTA stops you from boarding with a Korean passport – Hanky Panky Jan 16 at 4:21

Would it be possible for me to just buy my ticket using my Korean name and passport but when I enter the US just explain my situation and show my US passport to show that I’m a US citizen?

Yes. If you have any documents that connect your Korean name to your US name, it might be a good idea to bring them along, but I doubt you'll actually need them.

Your major problem, I suspect, will be getting the airline to board you without ESTA authorization on your passport. If you can convince them that the two passports both belong to you, however, you should not have a problem.

You may also want to try applying for ESTA with your Korean passport. We have had a few reports on this site of ESTA approval for dual citizens even when they disclosed their US citizenship on the application. If you have ESTA authorization for your Korean passport, you won't even need to show the US passport to the airline.

When you arrive at the US immigration checkpoint, show your US passport. If any questions arise about the flight's manifest, you can explain that you booked the ticket in the Korean name, and even show your Korean passport if need be.

  • Is it legal in the USA to have two different sets of names? – user 56513 Jan 15 at 17:13
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    @HonoraryWorldCitizen I am not aware of any law making it illegal. Many states, at least, follow common law on names, which has few requirements as long as you're not trying to defraud anyone or similar. I suppose that in US law the Korean name would be considered an alias, but I can't imagine that a US state would forbid someone from adopting a name different from their legal name in another country, especially if it's not possible to change the name in the other country (as is sometimes the case). – phoog Jan 15 at 17:29
  • OP can also fly to Vancouver with ETA and then fly from Vancouver to the US. – JonathanReez Jan 15 at 18:22
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    @phoog thank you so much for your help! I was just worried because when I read up on entering/leaving the US it says you HAVE to use a US passport. So as long as I follow the above steps it shouldn’t be a problem that I booked the ticket and fly with my korean passport from Korea but just show my US passport when entering the US right? Thanks again for your help! – peachypeachy Jan 15 at 18:57
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    @peachypeachy you're welcome. The US law actually does not say that you must use a US passport, but that you must "bear" one. Of course, this means that you must be able to show it on entry, so it is effectively a requirement to use it on entry. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you must use it for the flight to the US, only that you must show it at passport control. The US has no exit immigration controls, it is perfectly fine to use your Korean passport to check in for the departing flight as long as you have your US passport with you. – phoog Jan 15 at 19:28

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