I have dual US and UK citizenship, but the US citizenship has only just been realized (wasn't aware I had claim to US citizenship earlier).

Unfortunately I haven't received my US passport yet. Can I still travel to the US only using my UK passport?

I understand that the US does require citizens to travel on a US passport, but would they even know that I am a dual citizen if I've only ever traveled on my UK passport? (Especially considering that my US passport has never been used before in any form - as I haven't received it).

If I was only entering the US for a small trip, would it show on the screen that I also have US citizenship when they scan my UK passport?

  • 1
    Why would you want to NOT travel on your US passport? Since you have one now, I don't see the harm in it Jun 11, 2014 at 1:31
  • Related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/30204/…
    – Karlson
    Jun 11, 2014 at 1:33
  • I do not have my us passport yet. I don't think I will have it in time for my travel plans
    – user16410
    Jun 11, 2014 at 1:50
  • Given the comment below it becomes duplicate of the question above.
    – Karlson
    Jun 11, 2014 at 2:11
  • @Karlson You're right, but concerning the other aspect, can they somehow detect her other passport? Regardless of that, she shouldn't be denied entry right? She will get into problems later though. :/ Jun 11, 2014 at 2:48

2 Answers 2


It would be illegal for you to enter the US on a non-US passport. US Embassy in Sweden:

According to Section 215 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1185), it is illegal for a U.S. citizen to enter or leave the U.S. on anything other than an U.S. passport. This applies to dual citizens as well, meaning that persons holding e.g. both Swedish and American citizenships and passports must enter and leave the U.S. on a U.S. passport. They may NOT enter/leave the U.S. on a Swedish passport. This applies to children as well as adults. There is no guarantee of entry to the United States without a valid U.S. passport.

Now, can you get away with it in practice? Possibly, only CBP knows what will "show on the screen" and they're not telling. But since they clearly already know your UK passport number and that you've applied for citizenship, it's a pretty big risk. You will also have to apply for an ESTA for your UK passport, which gives them another chance to catch you. All in all, I wouldn't risk it.

  • 3
    The "no guarantee of entry ... without a valid us passport" is a bit disingenuous. If you can establish that you're a US citizen without the passport, they have to let you in. The law that forbids entry without a US passport has no penalty (the paragraph that specified the penalty was removed in the 70s) so it seems that if you try to enter without a US passport, you'll have to pay a fee for the state dep't to waive the requirement and let you in. I have no idea what the fee is.
    – phoog
    Aug 19, 2014 at 0:03

To add to jpatokal's answer, the best thing you can do is contact a UK embassy or consulate, explain your situation, and ask for your options.
Maybe it's possible to get a temporary waiver added to your UK passport, or get an expedited or temporary US passport issued by them for the duration of the trip.

Check your options, I'm sure it's hardly the first time the people at the embassies and consulates have had to deal with situations like yours and they're bound to have procedures for it.

  • 1
    I presume you mean US embassy/consulate? But I doubt they're willing or able to do much, emergency/expedited passports have tight conditions and are quite expensive. Jun 11, 2014 at 11:24
  • @jpatokal yes, US embassy or consulate in the UK ;) And yes, emergency documents are expensive, but they're your only option
    – jwenting
    Jun 11, 2014 at 13:11

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