The USA famously has both passport books and passport cards. The cards are only supposed to be used at ground and sea entry points. This is because the (from the link above), the "passport book is the only document approved for international air travel."

But some people have multiple passports that can be used internationally. What would happen if a traveler boarded a flight using their 'other' passport (with an ESTA) and when they arrived in the USA, they showed their USA passport card?

Theoretically, they can't be denied entry because it is proof of American citizenship, right? Is this one of those - take you into a back room and whip you with a wet noodle until you agree it's a bad idea, and then let you in? Or is this actually permissible?

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    To perform that trick, you would have to apply for an ESTA with your other passport. Even though anecdotal reports state that some people have managed to get an ESTA even after declaring on their application that they have US citizenship, you are not supposed to. But I guess the answer is about the same as the many "I'm a dual citizen, my US passport has expired / was lost, can I apply for an ESTA with another passport and then prove I'm a US citizen when I get to CBP" questions. – jcaron Jan 15 at 17:40
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    @jcaron ESTA has been approved, should have put that in the original scenario. – RoboKaren Jan 15 at 17:40
  • @jcaron: I also remember several other questions along those lines, but can't find them in a quick search. Do you happen to remember where to find them? I agree that in this scenario, it is unlikely to be relevant whether you use a passport card or any other kind of documentation to prove your citizenship. – Nate Eldredge Jan 15 at 17:52
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    I think the recommended option is to get an actual passport from the nearest US embassy or consulate. But other than whipping you with a wet noodle as you say, I don't think they can't do much except delay you. There's probably a reason they now accept ESTAs for US citizens. – jcaron Jan 15 at 17:53

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