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I am a dual citizen of Hong Kong and the Philippines, and I am traveling from Hong Kong to Japan. Japan does not require visas for Hong Kong passport holders, so I used my Hong Kong passport to buy a ticket. I am wondering if it could ever be harmful to bring my second passport with me. I plan to bring both passports just in case, as I do not see any harm in doing this.

I have found several articles that suggest bringing both passports, but I have also found one article that suggests only bringing one passport. My mother, who also has dual citizenship, is a flight attendant and has been told by her company that dual citizen flight attendants should leave their second passports when traveling. She accepted this without questioning it, and I asked her to ask the proper authorities about it, but she has no time. She originally insisted that I leave my second passport at home, but has since relented.

I would like to know if there is any reason why bringing my second passport could be harmful.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Jan 4, 2023 at 17:44
  • As which states is essential knowledge in this kind of question and the information was provided, it is unhelpful to have it hidden.
    – Willeke
    Jan 10, 2023 at 5:17

3 Answers 3

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Question 1: Can it ever be harmful to bring my 2nd passport?

Sure.

my mom threatened to cancel our trip because I really insisted on bringing both passports

I see no grounds for her insistence, but also no need to bring this second passport, do I'd let her have her way.

Apart from this, the only reason I can think of is a specific political situation. E.g. don't take an Israeli passport to Iran.

And then you can always come up with what-ifs. If you take the passport you might lose it. If you don't, your house may be burgled and you're passport stolen. If you do, a policeman may think you're Jason Bourne. If you don't, you might find that immigration rules changed last minute and the second passport would have saved the day. None of this is likely.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Jan 4, 2023 at 17:44
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A few cases where it may be a problem:

  1. There are significant differences between the two passports (names, place or date of birth…), so someone may think at least one of the passports is a fake
  2. You travel to/from/through one of the two countries you are a citizen of and that country prohibits dual-citizenship
  3. The relationship between the country you are travelling to/from/through and the country of one of the passports is problematic (think USA/North Kora, USA/Iran, Israel/Syria...).
  4. One of the passports bears a visa or stamp from a country which has a problematic relationship with the country you are travelling to/from/through.

Other than that, border officers and airline agents must see the case all the time and will be completely unfazed. I personally never had any issue with that. And in many cases, it's actually either required or very helpful to carry both.

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  • about the problematic thing for cases 3 and 4: Eg If I had an Israeli passport, then why would I ever travel to Iran? In this case a better question than 'should i bring my 2nd passport?' is perhaps like 'is there any risk in travelling to iran as an israeli citizen?' ?
    – BCLC
    Jan 10, 2023 at 1:57
  • also similar question for case 2: why would i ever travel to country X if in the 1st place i'm breaking the law of country X for being a dual citizen? (wait...of country X and another country Y? or you mean some countries prohibit dual citizens from going to their country whether or not they are citizens of that country? well yeah similar question: why go there?)
    – BCLC
    Jan 10, 2023 at 1:59
  • Re case 1, how might they not know anyway from their databases or whatever? I think it's handy to bring the 2nd passport along with supporting documentation explaining the discrepancies. (in my case I do have discrepancies.)
    – BCLC
    Jan 10, 2023 at 2:00
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    @BCLC You could have an Israeli passport and a passport from some country friendly with Iran (that must be a short list), and then it would make more sense to use the second one. Lots of people have dual-citizenship which includes a country which does not allow it but still want to go back to visit family once one a while. The most frequent case is probably China. See travel.stackexchange.com/a/52101/30703 for example. Just imagine average Joe Cop which finds you carrying two passports with different names and details. Let's go to the station to sort that out. No thanks.
    – jcaron
    Jan 10, 2023 at 2:11
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I was going to Zimbabwe. We'd heard that non-African countries can sometimes be charged more. So I had both my South African and my New Zealand passports ready. Turns out we were fine and got waved through, but as I went through the agent asked 'wait, and who's passport is THAT one?' pointing to the second passport. 'Oh mine' I answered and just kept walking.

So it was potentially useful, and also potentially problematic.

Also some countries (eg South Africa) require you to enter on your South African passport if you have one. So using the wrong one to enter could be problematic then.

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