I am a dual citizen of Germany and USA and I will enter the USA soon with my US passport which is set to expire in 2 weeks. I plan on staying there for about 1 month before returning to my country of residence, the UK.

Will the expiry of my US passport cause any problems? Can I use the German one to leave the USA and enter the UK?

  • Plans can change. Passport services at domestic passport facilities and US embassies are subject to change due to the pandemic. You may wish to explore paying extra for fast service and getting the passport renewed while you are in the US. Jan 7 at 11:47

It is unlawful to depart the US without a valid US passport, but this is almost never enforced, and there is no penalty. I have never tried leaving without my US passport, but I usually don't show it to anyone when I leave, and I've never been prevented from leaving the US or asked to show my US passport or to prove my immigration status. However, I suspect that some US airlines might do so; I usually fly on European carriers.

There is a small chance that you might be spot-checked by CBP before leaving, and they might stop you from leaving. The risk is small, but if you want to eliminate it altogether, you can make an expedited passport application. It takes just a few days.

  • It might be worth adding, if the OP is unaware, that the US does not have departing passport controls as most countries do. Jan 7 at 13:18
  • @MichaelSeifert isn't that implicit in "I usually don't show it to anyone when I leave" and "I've never been ... asked to show my US passport or to prove my immigration status"?
    – phoog
    Jan 8 at 0:47
  • If I read it correctly, your first sentence is hopefully wrong as that would prevent most tourists from leaving the US, as they typically doesn't ave a US passport. (I wrote "hopefully" because I haven't actually checked US law, but I hope they are not that stupid.) Jan 8 at 9:38
  • @Henriksupportsthecommunity I think the first sentence is merely missing the clarification ‘as a US citizen’.
    – Jan
    Jan 8 at 10:26
  • @Jan That was also my though. Jan 8 at 10:27

Also (as an addition to phoog's answer), as a German citizen, when returning to Germany, you are required to use your German document for entry.

The United Kingdom will probably prefer you that you use the passport with which you have some form of leave to enter.

An Airline will probably require the passport that allows entry in the country of destination.

Wichtiger Hinweis für Doppelstaater
Bei Doppelstaatern (Erwachsene und Kinder) ist zu beachten, dass nach internationaler Übung

  • die Einreise nach und die Ausreise aus Deutschland nur mit deutschem Reisepass oder Passersatz, z.B. Personalausweis
  • die Einreise in und die Ausreise aus dem anderen Staat (dessen Staatsangehörigkeit die Betreffenden ebenfalls besitzen) nur mit den nationalen Dokumenten des anderen Staates erfolgen sollte.

Important note for dual nationals
In the case of dual states (adults and children) it should be noted that according to international practice

  • Entry to and exit from Germany only with a German passport or passport substitute, e.g. Identity card
  • Entry into and exit from the other state (whose citizenship they also have) should only take place with the national documents of the other state.


  • 1
    This is wrong. There is no requirement for German citizens to use their German travel documents when entering or leaving Germany. The text you are quoting just state that according to international practice, German citizens should use their German travel documents, but there is no legal requirement to do so. Your English translation of the quoted text is incorrect. The 'should' in the last sentence applies to both bullet points. Jan 7 at 11:28
  • 1
    If that's an actual law, no one seems to know about it and there is no enforcement. I've certainly used my US passport to enter/leave Germany talking German to the officer. Sometimes I show them both and ask "which one do you want?" and no one has ever pointed out to me that I should use the German one.
    – Hilmar
    Jan 7 at 13:39
  • 2
    No, the passport act does not state anything different. You do again and again quote and link to laws and regulations, which you don't read and understand. The section you are quoting from requires that German citizens when entering and leaving Germany carry a passport. I have not disputed that, but it is nowhere required that it has to be a German passport. And that is even without ignoring all the exceptions from the passport act, which are in effect when e.g. crossing intra-schengen borders. Jan 7 at 15:19
  • 1
    @MarkJohnson "about a year ago I looked it up": where is it then? Can you cite the act and the article containing this provision? The law you quote in a comment above says "you must have a valid passport, and a BRD passport fulfills this requirement." That doesn't mean that a foreign passport cannot also fulfill the requirement. Germany is not, as you note, required to recognize its citizens other citizenship if they have it, which means that it could pass a law requiring them to use BRD passports to enter Germany, but it hasn't actually passed such a law.
    – phoog
    Jan 8 at 0:51
  • 1
    Neither the German law texts you cite nor the website you cite state a requirement for German citizens to use their German passport when entering Germany. (I am using the German originals, not the English translations.) The Foreign Office page uses sollte, a subjunctive form, meaning it is a weak recommendation. The law (§ 1 PassG) requires a passport when crossing the border and states that a German passport fulfills this requirement. It does not state (and does not allow the deduction) that one must present a German passport, only a passport.
    – Jan
    Jan 8 at 10:39

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