I just got my Canadian passport.

I used to travel to USA with my Tunisian passport (green passport with Arabic letters) and would get double checked (secondary inspection) every single time I went through customs with some weird questions from agents.

If I am asked about my other passport (Tunisian), do I have to answer? Does he have the right to ask me that question?

  • He totally has the right to ask any questions but this is not one typically asked. Please report back if they ever ask. That'd be a huge surprise.
    – user4188
    Jun 16, 2019 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


If the guy asks me if I already got a passeport before my canadian one do I have to answer?

If you refuse to answer, you'll probably be refused admission to the US.

Does he have the right to ask me that question?

Yes. An alien applying for admission at the border to pretty much any country has very few rights to privacy.

(Btw in order to avoid any issues I might just asks/do whatever he gonna ask me)

A good plan.

I used to travel to USA with my tunisian passeport (green passeport with arabic letters)

Keep in mind that if they ask you about other passports, it's probably because they know you have another passport and want to see whether you'll tell the truth. Records of visas, entries, and exits are computerized and easy to search instantaneously. Your name and the place and date of your birth will be trivial to match. Even if there are slight differences, it's possible that they have access to Canadian databases that would link the new passport to your other passport.

  • 1
    Matching names and locations can be quite difficult (and heuristics will lead to so many mismatches that they're unusable for non-investigative purposes). For example, I might be Jim JJason in one and Jim Jason Jason in the other. Also, I might be born in Bruxelles in one and just Belgium in the other. Not arguing with your answer by the way, if they ask, there's probably a reason. ;)
    – JJJ
    Jun 16, 2019 at 20:30
  • @JJJ of course it is not guaranteed that they'll be able to match the new passport and nationality with the prior visa and visits. But it is certainly at least likely that they can do it, and quite possible that they will, and it is best to assume that they will. Any attempt to prevent them from making the match is exceedingly likely to lead to trouble as mentioned elsewhere, especially with the history of trouble mentioned in the question and the current political climate.
    – phoog
    Jun 16, 2019 at 23:04
  • "Any attempt"? Why try to get yourself into trouble when it's not necessary? Surely it suffices to reply when asked. There's no need to mention it yourself unless asked (which I thought is in line with your answer as well). If anything, I thought the new US political climate would support that, with bringing back don't ask don't tell, for instance.
    – JJJ
    Jun 16, 2019 at 23:09
  • 2
    @JJJ I didn't mean to imply that the traveler should volunteer the information, or that failing to do so would be taken as an attempt to conceal anything. Trying to avoid mentioning it in the face of a direct question about it, however, could indeed risk running afoul of the lifetime ban mentioned elsewhere.
    – phoog
    Jun 17, 2019 at 1:22

Whatever you are asked, answer truthfully. Never lie to immigration. If you get caught, you will enter a world of pain.

"Do you have, or did you have in the past, any other citizenship?" - the answer is yes. Be prepared to give details, but never lie. If you don't have anything else to raise their suspicions, you'll probably be fine.

  • Can you elaborate on 'a world of pain''? It seems a bit exaggerated. ;)
    – JJJ
    Jun 16, 2019 at 17:56
  • 2
    @JJJ Not unwarranted, IMO. Immigration authorities take omissions very very badly, and — from SET's steady stream of laments about refusals and bans arising from misrepresentations and failures to disclose — know a lot more about travelers' comings and goings than many travelers expect. Jun 16, 2019 at 19:30
  • 2
    @JJJ: Fraud or material misrepresentation to a visa or immigration officer leads to a lifetime ban under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i).
    – user102008
    Jun 16, 2019 at 19:34
  • @user102008 yes that's right. Probably better to avoid the awkward questions altogether. That's obviously harder (though not impossible) if you're trying to enter somewhere (e.g. a country) but in other encounters with officers it may be advisable to keep the conversation to a minimum. Only show what's required and don't put yourself in a situation where you may tend to incriminate yourself (which can happen without wrongdoing on one's own part).
    – JJJ
    Jun 16, 2019 at 20:01

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