My daughter, who resides in the US, is about to fly to the UK for a brief trip. She holds both US and UK passports and citizenships, and has a NEXUS card.

Now, just before departure, we have realized that her US passport is inaccessible (it is with a distant relative).

Can she instead travel on her UK passport, then on her return successfully enter the US by presenting the UK passport, her US birth certificate and her NEXUS card? (I'm guessing they would be pretty unhappy, but not prevent her entering since it's clear she's a citizen.)

Assuming they will let her in, will she have any trouble leaving the country in the first place - given that the airline has her US passport number attached to her ticket?

  • 4
    Your daughter won't have trouble leaving the US. Returning could be more of an issue. Could your distant relative courier the passport to your daughter in the UK?
    – user90371
    Aug 8, 2019 at 3:53
  • 1
    Getting hold of the passport is the easiest way to solve the problem. Don't leave the US without it, unless you want to spend several hours detained at a CBP port of entry. Aug 8, 2019 at 5:19
  • 2
    @MichaelHampton there is a very good chance of success by leaving the US without it and having it sent while abroad so as to be able to return with it. But there is a small chance of being checked by CBP on departure, and a possibility that they would prevent the passenger from departing because of the lack of a valid US passport. There are a couple of questions here of which this is probably a duplicate, but I don't have time to search right now.
    – phoog
    Aug 8, 2019 at 8:07
  • Thanks everyone for the help. The issue with ESTA was one of those I hadn't considered. We are working right now to get the US passport shipped in time to leave, or reschedule. Aug 8, 2019 at 19:05

1 Answer 1


No, the airline will not allow your daughter to board the flight to the US based on presenting a birth certificate and a NEXUS card. It would likely be enough for US immigration (after they detain and interrogate her) but she won't get that far.

  • But the airline might let her board with the UK passport and ESTA. This question should probably be closed as a duplicate, but I don't have time to find the best question for that just now.
    – phoog
    Aug 8, 2019 at 8:07
  • To board the US-bound flight with her UK passport your daughter would need an ESTA, which she cannot get due to her US citizenship. From FAQs esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/application.html?execution=e5s1 “U.S. Citizens are not required to have an ESTA and are required to use their U.S. passport to travel to the U.S.”
    – Traveller
    Aug 8, 2019 at 8:10
  • @phoog She can't get an ESTA, she's a US citizen.
    – Sneftel
    Aug 8, 2019 at 8:10
  • @Traveller, Sneftel but nowhere does the US say that US citizens cannot get ESTA, and in fact there are several reports here of US citizens getting ESTA after disclosing their US citizenship on the application. The "requirement" to use a US passport to travel to the US is not very strictly enforced.
    – phoog
    Aug 8, 2019 at 8:12
  • @phoog: you can try but you need to lie on the ESTA application, since it specifically asks if you are a US citizen and you won't be approved if you answer "yes".
    – Hilmar
    Aug 8, 2019 at 12:56

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