I hold dual Chinese and Canadian citizenships. Last year, I was returning to China from Canada, but the only available flight option was a transfer flight with a layover in London. Upon passing through UK immigration, I accidentally used my Canadian passport instead of the Chinese one.

However, since China does not recognise dual citizenships, I was forced to use my Chinese passport when exiting the UK. Hence, I entered and left the country using different passports.

I was wondering if this would cause any potential problems if I wish to return to the UK. Does UK immigration keep track of exit records? Could they deny me entry next time? Would I be considered as an undocumented immigrant?

  • So both passport have (exactly) the same names, birth date, etc.?
    – jcaron
    Mar 2 at 9:28
  • 1
    For travellers leaving the UK by air, Advance Passenger Information (API) data is used for exit checks. Which passport did you submit as API? travel.stackexchange.com/questions/181437/…
    – Traveller
    Mar 2 at 10:00
  • Yes, both passports have the exact same information.
    – BrianTr
    Mar 2 at 11:23
  • 5
    Not writing this as an answer because I don’t have sources to back this up, but my guess is they will have been able to match you despite the different passport. Just in case, keep documentation showing you left on the date you did: boarding pass, any receipts for payments in China on that day or shortly after that, etc.
    – jcaron
    Mar 2 at 12:27
  • FWIW I've done this any number of times, and never had an issue. Also, they don't explicitly look at you as you leave, as DJC points out.
    – Fattie
    Mar 2 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


No, this will cause you no problems whatsoever.

Firstly, the UK does not check passports when you exit. Presumably when you say you "used my Chinese passport when exiting the UK" you mean you used it to get on the flight from London to China.

UK immigration does not care about that. Assuming that the passports have the same name, date of birth etc. then they will correctly identify you as having left the UK on that date. Even if they don't for some reason it's unlikely to be a problem. They won't think you have overstayed in the UK just because they don't have a record of you leaving.

  • 4
    "Assuming that the passports have the same name, date of birth etc. then they will correctly identify you as having left the UK on that date" I'm not sure this is correct. To get a match in Semaphore, the full name AND the passport number must be the exact same. That being said, Canadians are such low-risk nationals that, unless seeking to enter under Tier 5 or PPE, they can use e-gates and as such don't even have to see an officer. So OP likely won't speak to anyone on entry (depending on the airport) and even if they do they can just show the outbound boarding pass.
    – Crazydre
    Mar 3 at 13:23

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