As a dual citizen, my US passport will expire one day after traveling to the US (May 4th). I will be staying for one week, flying back to Europe afterwards (where I am a resident). Can I enter with my US passport, and leave with my valid EU passport? I'm flying with Icelandair.

Also, in this case I shouldn't try to get an ESTA for my EU passport, right?

PS. When trying to use an emergency procedure to renew my US passport, I am not getting any replies from the US consulate.

  • 15
    If you are a US citizen you must enter under your US passport and can stay indefinitely. There is no need for ESTA. You can get an expedited renewal for your passports once in the US if time permits. Apr 20, 2019 at 12:50
  • 3
    Related question says you only have to ‘bear’ your US passport, you don’t have to use it to enter the US travel.stackexchange.com/questions/135346/…
    – Traveller
    Apr 20, 2019 at 12:50
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    @Robin: There is no border control when leaving the US. According to the letter of the law, as a citizen you're required to "bear" a valid US passport when you leave the question, but there's no effective enforcement (and no punishment is defined if you fail to follow that rule anyway). Apr 20, 2019 at 13:01
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    May 4 is two weeks away; an expedited passport renewal from abroad is faster than that. It's disconcerting that the US consulate isn't replying to you. What emergency procedure are you following?
    – krubo
    Apr 20, 2019 at 19:37
  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Dual Citizen. Exited the US on Italian passport recently
    – user4188
    Apr 21, 2019 at 0:03

3 Answers 3


As a US Citizen - which is what gives you the right to a US Passport, you can stay indefinitely in the US. You are not even required to have a US passport, although that makes it easier to enter the United States. Your passport is valid the day you arrive, so there should not be any problem. You could be coming back to renew your passport as I suggest you do, to make it easier to get back in. Should you not have enough time to do so, you can always have it renewed at a US embassy abroad.

Given that you are a US citizen, you are also not eligible for an ESTA. Leaving on any passport is not an issue in the US because the US does not do exit immigration. Airlines do share data telling who is leaving the US but that is not the same as exit immigration.

Given your schedule seems a little tight, just procede normally. Enter the US on your still-valid US passport then fly out and enter the EU with your EU passport. From there you will have more time to renew your US passport which you can do without the emergency procedure. Just make sure you have all the documentation with you when you leave the US. The US government has all the relevant information on their website here.

  • 7
    There are several reports on this site of US dual citizens being granted ESTA authorization after disclosing on their applications that they are US citizens. But ESTA authorization isn't needed here because the traveler arrives while the US passport is still valid.
    – phoog
    Apr 20, 2019 at 17:05
  1. As a US citizen you cannot be denied entry into the US, regardless whether you have a passport or not or whether it's valid
  2. Entering without a valid passport can be pain. The immigration officer will need to let you in eventually but they can make it painful process.
  3. Since your passport is valid, you are fine either way. They may grunt at you for a while, but you can just ignore that and say "yes officer" repeatedly.
  4. The US has no exit controls, you don't need a US passport to leave the country.
  5. Don't use ESTA when dealing with US immigration, use your US passport, expired or not.
  • 1
    Because of the law requiring US citizens to "bear" a valid US passport on departure, a CBP officer could prevent OP from boarding if the lack of a valid US passport were discovered in a spot check. Spot checks are pretty uncommon on most routes, however. I also believe US airlines pay more attention to the immigration status of departing passengers than do European airlines.
    – phoog
    Apr 20, 2019 at 16:59
  • @phoog, good luck trying to board a Eurpean plane without valid passport. You will not even reach the gates. Apr 20, 2019 at 18:51
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    @akostadinov we're talking about a US citizen who is also a citizen of another country and shows their valid non-US passport when checking in for a flight departing the US.
    – phoog
    Apr 20, 2019 at 20:18
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    @akostadinov No passport needed at all (as a European citizen). ID card is sufficient. You may need a passport to leave the US but that's unrelated to any “European plane”. Apr 20, 2019 at 22:59
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    @akostadinov You can in the UK. Driving licences are valid for domestic flights. Apr 22, 2019 at 2:08

No US citizen should ever get ESTA. That is for people who do not have any US citizenship.

Citizens should enter their own country with their own country's passport. Therefore you should enter the US with a US passport and enter the EU with an EU country's passport.

Airlines are concerned with the possibility of you arriving at a country and then being refused entry. They pay fines and penalties if that happens, because airlines are expected to pre-check your paperwork. When they see you are a citizen of the destination country, that puts them at ease because you cannot be refused entry if you are a citizen.

America doesn't have exit controls so they don't care how you leave. When boarding a flight to the EU, show your EU passport.

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