Edited the whole question in order make my point be understood.

I know that check-in staff and destination immigration officials check the papers permitting to reach the destination country, generally speaking, but in a country I'm a citizen of, also exit immigration checks this thing for its citizens, and in general exit immigration checks only whether a person has stayed in the country legally, not necessarily the eligibility to enter the destination country.

The main issue doesn't raise up for a person having no papers to enter the destination country, because they'd eventually be blocked at check-in in the first place, furthermore few people are stupid enough to take a flight with no necessary papers because they know that they'll further meet destination authorities.

The issue may concern a person who doesn't want to show the other passport to the immigration officer not because dual citizenship is illegal (it is legal), but because they simply don't want to reveal any additional data of themselves to an istitution who doesn't need them or is not entitled to know them in the first place, because out of their jurisdiction.

Provided I have no pending charge and having another citizenship is not illegal, why should they hold me in case I don't want to show them the other passport or a paper granting me access there, if the latter is not issued by them as well? How can I possibly be suspected of entering the destination country illegally if I have passed check-in and they perfectly know that their destination counterparts at entry will check me themselves?

i can understand an answer of the kind of "it's their country and they can do whatever they want" but either there are reasons behind it or it should be said that their laws, despite being legit for sovreignity principle, are just stupid and meaningless.

Does it happen in most countries this thing?

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    It also seems to be common practice for immigration officials in countries that forbid dual citizenship to investigate their citizens' authorization relative to foreign travel because that can help them identify people who are illicitly maintaining dual citizenship or fraudulently using that country's passport after having lost its citizenship.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 16:15
  • I'm talking about cases in which dual citizenship is legal. If it's illegal then this things are expected to happen
    – abdul
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 16:18
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    @abdul I'm not talking about a revoked passport, but automatic loss of citizenship. For example, if an Indian citizen naturalizes in another country, Indian citizenship is lost. But if the person does not tell India, the passport won't be revoked. Still, it would be fraudulent to use the passport because the person is no longer an Indian citizen. So India could check departing citizens' authorization in destination countries because they want to catch such people, in theory at least (I do not know their actual practices nor the justifications for those practices).
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 17:20
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a rant disguised as a question.
    – fkraiem
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 23:28
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    @fkraiem it is not a rant, I want to understand the reasons behind this issue, so please just leave if you don't like it and don't let me be rude. Thank you. My question is entirely on topic.
    – abdul
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 10:08

3 Answers 3


Most "3rd world" countries check their citizens' documents before leaving for two reasons:

1) To make sure they're not on a (international or national) watch-list. Like you said, a person could be on a watch-list for various reasons such as criminal charges, terrorist watch lists etc.

2) To make sure they have sufficient documentation for their onward journey. This is to make sure the passenger has the correct visa and to check for forgeries and impersonations.

All countries with exit controls will check how you entered when exiting. This is to make sure you did not violate the terms of your visa/permit. A dual-citizen will have to present the "3rd world" country's passport when exiting--there is no way around that.

Some countries--such as Uzbekistan--require exit visas for their own citizens to be allowed to leave.

If your country allows dual citizenship, you should show both your passports to prove you have permission to fly to your destination. If it doesn't, you will might be able to get away(although in some countries this may be a criminal offence):book your flight to a destination where you are allowed to travel visa free (or have a visa) on your "third world" country's passport. Then check-in again from there on your "1st world" country's passport.

Other than that, "normal people" should have no problems leaving their countries unless their documents are not in order.

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    AS for point 2, why there's a need if check-in staff checks the eligibility before and moreover destination country's immigration will check papers at arrival themselves? Why the need of triple check when there's already a double check?
    – abdul
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 18:01
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    @abdul it's because of high incidence of people attempting to travel on forged and insufficient documents. If many people from country A arrive in country B with insufficient/forged documents, it's in the interests of both countries to stop them before they begin their journeys. As for being invasive, the entire global order of restricting movement of people based on who they are is invasive and will eventually be looked down upon as barbaric.
    – uberqe
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 18:08
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    I have never traveled with my European passport in my 3rd world country I'm a citizen of, but I don't want to let the authorites know anyway that I'm a citizen of that country, not because it's illegal (it isn't), but because I don't like personal data irrelevant to a purpose being given to some entity.
    – abdul
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 18:10
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    @abdul I am pretty sure Pakistan checks documents of its citizens leaving. You also forget that most countries want to prevent asylum seekers from reaching their borders where it would be illegal to send them back without legal proceedings. A Pakistani can easily pose as being a legitimate asylum seeker in the US, which would have to admit him until they process his claim. That means many months and thousands of dollars before his claim is determined. Much cheaper not to let them reach in the first place.
    – uberqe
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 18:22
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    I can understand your last comment for a person entering another country and meeting its immigration officials at entry, but not leaving their own country unless they have pending charges. I can understand giving sensible data when entering a certain country, but not leaving one's own one. Provided the person has no pending charges, I don't see a reason why they should be, again, checked eligibility for the destination country by authorities of the departuring country when this task is made by check-in and the destination country's authorities.
    – abdul
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 20:13
  • Airlines check passports and visa because they may be fined if they bring unauthorized travelers. They will try to get the money back from the traveler, but that might fail. They are concerned with the right to enter the destination, not with the right to leave the origin.

  • Airport Security check identity documents to try and catch people who may be a security risk on the flight.

  • Emigration controls may check passports and other documents to keep track of people leaving the country. They are concerned with the right (or duty) to leave the origin country, but not usually with the right to enter the destination country.
    Exit stamps on passports verify that visitors did not overstay their visa, but that mostly matters for the next application. Only a few countries will detain overstayers who want to leave, but most make a permanent record of that.

According to international conventions, no country may deny their citizens the right to leave, provided there are no criminal investigations, military service obligations, etc. They can of course check that there are no open warrants, and people don't have the right to enter another country, so the right to leave theirs can become meaningless.

During the Cold War, the Communist countries tried to stop their citizens from traveling to the West. In theory travel was possible, but in practice an ordinary citizen could not get the necessary permits. And this still happens in places like North Korea.

  • I don't think they are so much concerned about a right to leave (very few countries restrict that) as making sure that a departing visitor is not concluding their overstay. You refer to that with the (or duty) aspect, but minimize it. And nothing in this answer mentions anything about the use of one or the other of the asker's passports. Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 22:48
  • @o.m Again, I understand if they check their citizens' passports in order to see if 1) they are not involved in pending charges 2) if they're not revoked citizenship by using its passport (generally this can result upon entry in the territory, but let's suppose the individual committed offense after entering in and thereby, having citizenship revoked there and having a period of time to leave the country), and in the latter case they can show along the passport the sheet declaring their citizenship revoke happening after entry, in order to demostrate that they entered legally as a citizen[...]
    – abdul
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 17:05
  • [...] in either case I don't see the need to check the papers related to the eligibility to reach their destination (please, distinguish between leaving the country of departure and reaching the destination country, they are NOT the same), because you can't say that they check a VISA or PR in order to see pending charges or watch list. I'm satisfied if you say that they do that because they are strict in monitoring their citizens and give them few rights, but not to check pending charges, the latter has nothing to do with visa or pr or the other passport.
    – abdul
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 17:11
  • What I'm saying is that they can check the passports in order to see pending charges, and either way i can be told that they can do whatever they like because they are the authority, but I can't accept that they check one's other citizenship, their visa or their PR in order to verify pending charges, because it does not make sense as an answer. An other citizenship, PR related to the destination country or a VISA for destination are NOT related to charges in the dep. country , and I don't want to see an answer like that. You can say me that they can do that because they have the power instead.
    – abdul
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 17:19
  • @abdul, if you want to argue the morality of exit controls, go to Politics stack exchange. At Travel, we describe the system as it is now.
    – o.m.
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 18:23

Let's say A1 is the “first-world¹,” B3 is the “third world,” you are citizen of both, it’s legal to have both, and you are not on some kind of watchlist.   I’m not a hundred percent certain, but my suspicion is …

If you are trying to go from B3 to A1, and you show the A1 passport, no one you encounter knows you also have a B3 passport, and therefore no reason to interfere with your trip to “your own” country.

If you are trying to go from A1 to B3, and you show the B3 passport, no one you encounter knows you also have an A1 passport, and therefore no reason to interfere with your trip to “your own” country.

Of course, if you are on a watchlist, who knows?  Or in one of those countries where everyone is effectively on a watchlist.

¹Where is the “second world”?

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    Leaving B3 on the A1 passport that has no stamp showing you were let into B3 could be a problem. This is exit controls, not checking in with the airline or what you do when you get to A1. Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 17:25
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    "The three-world model arose during the Cold War to define countries aligned with NATO (the First World), the Eastern Bloc (the Second World, although this term was less used), or neither (the Third World). Strictly speaking, "Third World" was a political, rather than an economic, grouping." - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_World Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 17:26
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    The split in to first, second and third world started by 'the new world' for the Americas and Australia and New Zealand. Then people realized that there was a lot that did not fit in the 'old world' and the 'new world' and started calling that 'the third world'. Or course, the USA (and several other countries) now claim to be First world countries, easy to forget history if it does not fit your world view.
    – Willeke
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 17:38
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    @Willeke The first world was the US and NATO, the second was USSR and Warsaw Pact, third was everything else: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_World Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 19:48
  • @jpatokal, that was later, what I described came first.
    – Willeke
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 20:04

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