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I have lost my British passport. I have dual citizenship and have a Canadian passport. I am due to go on a short trip to Europe shortly. Can I travel out off and back into the UK using my Canadian passport.

  • Yes you can. It’s not the right thing to do though. – user 56513 Feb 28 at 21:26
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It's generally true that a citizen of a particular country has an absolute right to (re-)enter that country if they make it to the border, regardless of what documentation they do or don't have. Specifically this is true for the UK.

However, entry may not be a straightforward process. The traveler and border officials will have to find alternative evidence of the person's identity and nationality, which may be inconvenient and time consuming. These days the UK Border Force has access to databases with names, birthdates and photos which can make it easier than it was in the past. Some countries may levy a fine on their citizens for arriving without a valid passport from that country (the US used to do this, but no more - the UK does not).

Also, if not using a road border crossing, the airline or other transport provider may not allow the traveler to board without appropriate documentation - they'll usually check against "TIMATIC". That part is where your valid Canadian passport would come in handy in this situation. It would also help prove your identity at the border, even if it doesn't prove your British nationality.

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    the UK does not require its citizens to enter on a UK passport. I'm a UK citizen, Canadian resident for over 50 years, and have entered the UK on my Canadian passport while telling the officer I am a British subject, more times than I can count. Not an issue. (However I am always just visiting and I leave. The OP's situation is different.) Since you raised that a country may require their citizens to use the country's passport, I wanted to make it clear that the UK doesn't. – Kate Gregory Feb 28 at 23:05
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    The US does not fine its citizens for failing to comply with the law requiring a valid US passport. The penalty was removed in the 1970s when the law was expanded to apply in times of peace. – phoog Mar 1 at 1:41
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    @KateGregory +1 your comment is an excellent answer, as you're referencing both UK law and a volume of personal experiences. – Giorgio Mar 1 at 14:39
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    To add more weight, my partner entered the UK as a UK citizen on her US passport just after she got citizenship, providing her US passport and (expired at the point of citizenship) biometric residency permit. The immigration officer at Heathrow managed to link her US passport to her UK citizenship with little problem. – qechua Mar 1 at 17:02
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Theoretically you can enter the UK on a Canadian passport. But a Canadian passport only allows you to enter for a short visit. It doesn't allow you to live or work in the UK.

The problem will come when you return to the UK, and the immigration officer says "Why are you visiting Britain?". If you say "I live here", then they will deny you entry as Canadians need permission to live in the UK. If you claim to be a British citizen they will require you to demonstrate it. There can be alternative ways of proving your citizenship, although I am unclear how certain they are, and how much delay you might experience. Having the number of your lost passport, carrying an expired British passport and/or a birth certificate might be a good idea, as would being prepared for additional delay

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    @DJClayworth Could the OP carry anything else to prove his UK citizenship? Birth certificate? Also, would it help to have a print of the lost passport report (assuming you get one, I’ve never had to do it)? gov.uk/renew-adult-passport/replace – Traveller Feb 28 at 21:17
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    @DJClayworth I beg to differ. He can never be denied once he land at an airport in UK even if he’s not holding a British passport. They can and will verify his citizenship by alternative means regardless of how mean an immigration officer he meets. The decision to bounce an arriving person is not taken by one person, it requires the approval of the chief immigration officer. Additionally I doubt if he lies to UK immigration that he’s visiting it will have any meaningful consequences. – user 56513 Feb 28 at 21:22
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    The Border Force officers can look up by full names, date and place of birth to establish that he holds a British passport.Copy passport photo also available to BF officers. It happens sometimes with British citizens who manage to lose their passports while awaiting outbound flights. They cannot leave the UK but are re-admitted based on passport verification process I described. – canonacer Feb 28 at 21:26
  • I'm very happy for someone else to write another answer here. – DJClayworth Feb 28 at 21:39

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