I'm having a tough problem:

A Korean lady living in New Zealand has just gotten naturalised and has a New Zealand passport. She used her South Korean passport (with her resident visa) the last time she entered New Zealand, because at that time she wasn't a New Zealander.

My question is: the next time she exits New Zealand to go back to Korea, what passport should she use?

Should she use her Korean passport, because one should enter and exit a country using the same passport?

Or should she use her New Zealand passport, because she is a New Zealander? And if she's not using the New Zealand passport to exit the country, upon coming back to NZ she will have hard time with border patrol because her New Zealand passport will not have the depart stamp on it?

To complicate things further, the lady has two different names on her two passports. The Korean one is for Ko Un-Ha but her New Zealand passport is for Michelle Stevenson (these are fictitious names to show how different they are). What names should be on the flight tickets?

Just to clear up the situation: The lady got naturalised by marriage. Under Korean law she is allowed to keep her Korean nationality, so both of her passports are valid.

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    It's worth noting that: some countries assert that, if you get a second passport, you must give up "their" passport. It is realistic to recognise that, very very very very many people just keep the two or more passports and simply "don't mention" to the first country, the new passport.
    – Fattie
    Aug 17, 2014 at 14:12

5 Answers 5


The "enter and exit a country with the same passport" rule is not absolute. It's mostly for if you're visiting a country for a short visit, for entry/departure tracking purposes.

In this case, where she naturalized, it's not only possible but expected of her to enter and leave New Zealand with a New Zealand passport, because she is now a New Zealand national. New Zealand will no longer be concerned about matching her entry/departure records because she is no longer a foreigner.

Also, according to Article 15 of the South Korean Nationality Law, a Korean national who voluntarily acquires another country's nationality automatically loses Korean nationality. So strictly speaking her Korean passport is not valid and she cannot use it anymore.

You said she has a different name when she naturalized in New Zealand? That must mean that that is her current legal name, which means she changed her name somehow. With whatever documents proving her change of name, she probably could have gotten some annotation on her Korean passport showing the new name. But that is moot now.

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    It's sometimes possible to change name as part of the naturalization procedure.
    – Relaxed
    Aug 17, 2014 at 8:20
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    Thanks, I should have made it clear that this lady got naturalised (and her new lastname) by marriage. Under Korean law she is allowed to have dual citizenship. The name is changed legally in New Zealand, but not in Korea. She's still using the old Korean passport that was issued before the change of her name. Her New Zealand passport does mention her birth name as an annotation, though. Is that helpful in anyway?
    – user19339
    Aug 17, 2014 at 21:08
  • @FukuzawaYukio I don't know Korean laws, but commonly if the name is legally changed (e.g. marriage), then also the old password becomes invalid at that point, and if she's allowed dual citizenship she'd still need to obtain a new Korean passport (presumably through the embassy).
    – Peteris
    Aug 18, 2014 at 9:29

My suggestion is to use only the New Zealand passport for the trip and book the flight tickets with the name written on the New Zealand passport.

New Zealanders don't require a visa to visit South Korea (90 days).

The only problem is her dual citizenship situation, New Zealand allows dual citizenship without issues, South Korea has some limitations on this topic, depending on her situation, when and how she acquired the New Zealand citizenship, she can still be a Korean citizen or not.

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    If she is still a Korean citizen, she also has to check whether it's then legal to enter Korea on a New Zealand passport. For example the US forbids dual citizens to do that. If she's not a Korean citizen still then the issue doesn't arise. Aug 17, 2014 at 16:05
  • Thanks, I should have made it clear that this lady got naturalised (and her new lastname) by marriage. Under Korean law she is allowed to have dual citizenship. The lady wants to visit South Korea for more than 90 days.
    – user19339
    Aug 17, 2014 at 21:03

Most countries let their nationals leave and enter with very little requirements beyond holding some form of ID. There was and is such a thing as an exit visa in some parts of the world or countries that do not readily issue passports to limit emigration (historically, it was in fact a passport's main purpose) but I would be very surprised if that was the case of New Zealand.

Since your friend is now a New Zealand citizen, she cannot possibly be an illegal immigrant in New Zealand and can stay as long as she wants in the country. Leaving with the same passport for the sake of ensuring that records are correct is therefore not very important anymore. In fact, if she uses her New Zealand passport, she will not get a stamp unless she asks for it. Passports are not stamped on departure in New Zealand in any case.

On the other hand, when flying back to New Zealand, she will need to convince the airline that she has the right to enter the country. That's most easily done by showing her New Zealand passport but she would need to make sure the ticket was booked under her new name to be able to match it to the passport.

  • But how could she exit Korea if the ticket from Korea->New Zealand has her New Zealand name on it? She has to give the Korean passport and the flight ticket to border patrol when exiting Korea, which have two different names...
    – user19339
    Aug 17, 2014 at 23:16
  • @FukuzawaYukio I must admit I have never been to Korea and I have no idea, I was answering the “will she get trouble when coming back” question. In other countries, I am not sure the police checks the boarding pass on exit but I could not guarantee it either.
    – Relaxed
    Aug 18, 2014 at 9:12

My question is: the next time she exits New Zealand to go back to Korea, what passport should she use?

The easiest way to do this is the following:

  • Book the tickets using her Korean name. Because she will use both passports (and therefore both names) at different times during travel, her Korean name is the only one that appears in both passports (as you said, in her NZ passport as an annotation). If there is any question during airline checkin, she will have both passports with her.
  • Carry both passports during travel.
  • When checking in for the NZ->S.Korea flight, show the airline agent the South Korean passport.
  • New Zealand has exit passport control after airline checkin, so show the New Zealand passport here.
  • When entering South Korea, show the South Korean passport.
  • When checking in for the S.Korea->NZ flight, show the airline agent the NZ passport.
  • When re-entering New Zealand, show the New Zealand passport.

This will allow her to stay in South Korea for as long as she wants, because she entered as a South Korean citizen. Similarly, upon return to New Zealand, there will be no question about how long she intends to stay because she has a New Zealand passport.

Showing the airline agent that she holds the passport of the destination will ensure that they will let her on the plane without questions about return tickets etc.

  • Thanks, how about which name to put on which tickets? If she exits NZ as a NZer, she has to put down her NZ name on the ticket. But this will conflict with the name on the Korean passport she uses to enter Korea. Same to the return ticket.
    – user19339
    Aug 17, 2014 at 23:15
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    She could use her Korean name on the ticket, which as you said is annotated in her NZ passport. I also added a couple more items regarding airline checkin, which should help clarify things. Aug 17, 2014 at 23:17
  • An annotation can be used legally to match the flight ticket? You're certain about that?
    – user19339
    Aug 17, 2014 at 23:28
  • No, I'm afraid am not certain. Both of my own passports have the same name, so I don't need to be concerned about that for my own travel. However, she can show both passports to airline checkin and there should be no problem establishing her identity. It's just that when you book an international ticket, you need to provide just one passport number. Aug 17, 2014 at 23:29

What she needs to do is to report her marriage and name change to the Korean Embassy and have a new Korean passport issued with her new name. Irregardless of the dual nationality issue, her name changed at marriage and needs to be updated on her Korean documents (passport, DL, etc).

As long as her two passports have different names, travel between the two countries will be problematic. Once the names are the same she can use whichever passport suits her travel needs best.

  • What I've been told is that Korean nationals are required to have Korean names. I also think that a proud Korean would rather maintain their birth name on their Korean passport. Anyway, that's what I would suggest to her if there is no other solution.
    – user19339
    Aug 18, 2014 at 7:37
  • She should check with Korean Embassy on all aspects, as this is a legal matter. They would be the only reliable source of rules and responsibilities.
    – user13044
    Aug 18, 2014 at 16:43

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