My husband has dual citizenship. He has a Chilean passport and a USA passport. His USA passport has expired and they wont issue him one unless he pays his back child support all in full.

My question: Can he travel to China with me for a visit and use his Chilean passport and come back to the US with that passport without issues?

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    To be clear, what you're actually asking is if your husband can leave the US, enter China, leave China, and enter the US, using only his Chilean passport for the whole trip? (in order to avoid child support) – CGCampbell Oct 16 '20 at 17:48
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    Pay the child support – Midavalo Oct 16 '20 at 20:34
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    Why is he not paying his child support? – Robert Columbia Oct 16 '20 at 20:44
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    Come on peeps, we dont know why the child support situation is as it is, its only tangential to the question asked. – Moo Oct 17 '20 at 1:57
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    @mlc my comment was because there was a question over on law recently about child support being taken but never credited to the fathers record by the relevant US agency for years, and after searching the web it doesnt seem that this is exactly unheard of - people being chased for child support for years when they infact paid. So that changed my opinion of these sorts of things. – Moo Oct 17 '20 at 4:33

As long as China will issue a visa on his Chilean passport (and they might have questions about his status in the US and why he's not using his US passport if he is applying at a Chinese consulate in the US), he should have no problem traveling leaving the US and entering China, as well as exiting China, on his Chilean passport (once China's COVID-19 entry restrictions for foreigners are lifted).

As for entering the US (or more importantly, getting the airline to let him board a flight to the US), he will likely need a US passport. Although as a US citizen with proof of US citizenship, he cannot be denied entry to the US if he makes it to a port of entry, airlines are not supposed to let him board without one of the allowed documents. As a US citizen, he is not eligible for a US visa, and may have trouble getting an ESTA on his Chilean passport (although some US dual nationals have reported success).

Although he cannot be issued a regular US passport due to back child support, he can still be issued a limited US passport that is valid for direct return to the US. See archived 7 FAM 1387.2(e):

Issuance of Limited Passport for Direct Return to United States: Passport services for individuals with P/H Lookouts who are overseas are restricted to issuance of a passport limited to the time required for travel to the United States, generally just a few days and no longer than two weeks. The applicant is charged a fee for this passport, unless one of the exemptions provided in 7 FAM 1350 Appendix G applies. Endorsement code 105 must be used for all child support arrearage cases. (See 7 FAM 1300 Appendix B, Endorsement Codes.)

(SBU) Endorsement 105


and archived 7 FAM 1365 for more information on emergency passports.

So it seems he could go to a US consulate in China right before his intended return to get a very short duration limited US passport for return to the US.

If he can't get a US passport, and he can make it to Canada or Mexico (which Chilean citizens can normally visit without a visa, though COVID-19 might make this more difficult), another option is for him to go to Canada or Mexico first and then cross the land border into the US with proof of his US citizenship, and not worry about airlines not letting him board.

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    Note that most countries (China here) check not only that the traveller has a flight out, but that they'll be permitted entry into the next country (USA). If China does these checks then applying for an emergency US passport in China is unlikely to work - China is unlikely to let the OP in as they can't guarantee the OP will get entry into the US. Therefore the airline flying the OP to China is unlikely to permit boarding. – CSM Oct 17 '20 at 17:28
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    @CSM: Hmm, I haven't thought of that, but if that is the case, I guess they can just get an additional refundable ticket to Chile (or to another country that Chile has visa-free access to, getting any pre-approval necessary) and then canceling it. Then I guess they would have to buy one-way tickets to/from China instead of round trip tickets to make this believable. – user102008 Oct 18 '20 at 0:03

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