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I have USA & Colombia citizenship and passports. I usually use my US passport when traveling to Europe, but my US passport is expiring March 1st 2024. My Colombian passport expires in 2025, so it's fine.

I have a short trip (2 weeks) to Europe coming up in late October. I'm worried that I'm just now reading that one needs to have at least 3 months of a valid passport PAST the date one departs from EU/Schengen? I might be coming very close to that threshold in my trip.

Hypothetically, if the airline or border agent gives me trouble about the US passport expiring soon, can I just take out my other passport and use that? (Colombian citizens can also enter Schengen visa-free for tourism.)

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    Yes, I would do it easy way. I would use Columbian passport right away (assuming it allows visa free entry)
    – DavChana
    Oct 18, 2023 at 19:24
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    ‘Very close’ is not the same as ‘expires less than 3 months beyond the date on which you intend to leave the Schengen territory’. In the first case there’s no problem. In the second, there is definitely a problem.
    – Traveller
    Oct 18, 2023 at 19:39
  • Late October plus two weeks is no later than mid November. Mid November to March first is more than three months. There really ought not to be a problem. Fortunately, if you use your Colombian passport there certainly will be no problem.
    – phoog
    Oct 21, 2023 at 8:49

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If I were you, I would simply use my Colombian passport with the Schengen border agent. You are just as visa-free for the Schengen zone with your Colombian passport as you are with your US passport, they're equivalent in this case, and it'll put your mind at ease about the expiry date.

If you are flying from the US and are worried about "hot-swapping" passports on your trip, don't worry – it's fine – I do it all the time: show your US passport at the US airport, then show your Colombian passport at the Schengen airport.

The only times that swapping passports ever gets any more complicated is if the country you're flying to requires a visa for US citizens but not Colombian citizens, in which case you would need to tell the airline ticket agent that you are exiting the US on your US passport and entering the foreign country on your Colombian passport which, again, is totally fine. Of course, the Schengen Zone is visa-free for US passports so no one is going to care or bother to ask. All good, no worries.

However, this might apply on your way back, assuming you are flying back to the US. But again, no worries. Just show the airline ticket agent at the Schengen airport both passports, and then show the Schengen border agent only your Colombian passport. Once you land in the US, just show your US passport to the US border agent.

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  • In fact it may be better to check in for the flight to Europe with the Colombian passport. If the airline asks about immigration status in the US, the traveler can show the US passport at that point. This is how I handle it (and no airline has ever asked about my immigration status in the US) but my non-US passport is from an EU country, so the motivation to show it for flights to the EU is somewhat greater. The broader point is, though, that it isn't necessary to show the same passport to the airline in both directions.
    – phoog
    Oct 21, 2023 at 7:38
  • On showing a foreign passport to the airline on leaving the US: I saw somewhere that the US has implemented a system to match exits on foreign passports to entries on US passports, though I haven't seen a formal regulation concerning this. Anyway I've been doing it for 20 years and it's never been a problem. On the way back, certainly the airline does not correlate the departing traveler's passport with the document used to enter the Schengen area since there is exit passport control. OP can just show the US passport when checking in and the Colombian passport to the passport inspector.
    – phoog
    Oct 21, 2023 at 7:40
  • @phoog I find the "matching" thing a tad hard to believe (got a link?)... once you're released from US territory you're released from US purview AFAIK, at least legally. I can imagine they might be watching you if you're a person of interest (which I doubt any of us are), but legally you're in the clear.
    – Lasf
    Oct 22, 2023 at 8:15
  • I should add that sometimes "hot-swapping" passports does get messy, but this really only happens at land borders in somewhat esoteric countries. (I once had a Georgian border agent insist that I use the same passport I had used to exit Armenia to then enter Georgia... wouldn't let me swap... but it just depends on the border and, most of all, the agent.)
    – Lasf
    Oct 22, 2023 at 8:19
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    A quick search turned up this pdf: dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/… "Including U.S. citizen data in ADIS will allow CBP to better identify dual nationals who travel on a foreign passport and, without evidence of U.S. citizenship, may have otherwise appeared to be overstays, which may have resulted in the inaccurate creation of overstay notices." I've also heard (years ago, on this site) of people having trouble trying to swap at a land border in South America, but I don't remember which countries were involved.
    – phoog
    Oct 22, 2023 at 12:36

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