This question already has an answer here:

My daughter and I are dual citizens (US and German). When we book a flight to Germany from the USA, the airline asks for passport details. I understood to use the passport that lets you legally enter. Thing is, it's a round trip so does it matter which one I reserve ticket with?

  • At the US airport counter - show German passports.
  • Exiting Immigration, if checked - show US Passports.
  • Arriving Immigration Germany - show German Passports.
    • My wife is US citizen only, can she use the EU line with us?
  • At German airline check in - show US Passports.
  • Departing Immigration - show German Passport.
  • Arriving Immigration - Show US Passport

Looking for confirmation of above and thought on the online ticket reservation details from anyone who knows or is familiar.

marked as duplicate by Michael Hampton, blackbird, Karlson, Willeke, SpaceDog Jan 12 '16 at 2:18

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


I think you have the basics right. In your case, both passports could let you enter Germany but the US also has a rule that US citizens must use their US passport to enter the country (I think European countries, including Germany, are much less concerned about that).

Since the US uses airline data to replace exit immigration and checks passenger manifests (APIS) of incoming aircraft, I would guess that using your US passport to book the ticket might be required to avoid problems.

You can always show both passports to the airline staff (although they might not even ask for it as US citizens don't need visas to enter Germany) and use your German passport for the German passport check (although I am not even sure that using the local passport is required there), even if the ticket was booked on the US passport.

Finally, under EU law, relatives (spouse and dependents under the age of 21) who are not EU citizens should only undergo a ‘minimum check’ (i.e. checking the validity of their documents and establishing their identity but not asking questions about purpose, financial means, etc. see article 7 of the Schengen Borders Code) and can use the EU/EEC citizens lane (article 9) if they are travelling with you. But since you are travelling to your country of citizenship (and not to another EU country), you are not formally exercising your rights to free movement within the EU and the rules could theoretically be different.

  • 1
    I've been flying out of the US using my non-US passport for the last couple of years, and nobody has ever said anything. The latest entry/exit overstay report (see dhs.gov/news/2016/01/19/…) suggests that this might change, as they are testing systems to match entries and exits using biometrics. – phoog Apr 12 '16 at 22:49

Here is what I found works best

  1. Book flights with US passports. US is very picky, Germany is not
  2. Check in with US passport (both sides)
  3. Exit and enter the US with US passport (you MUST do this, it's a legal requirement)
  4. In Germany use whatever immigration line is shorter :-)
  • Have you ever had problems caused by using a non-US passport to book a ticket or to check in for a flight departing the US? – phoog Jun 29 '15 at 6:05
  • @phoog No, because I have never done it. US doesn't officially recognized dual citizenship (at least for Germans), they just tolerate it. For all dealings with the US government you must use the US passport. Since any airline flying and and out of the US will interact with the government on your behalf, I would strongly recommend using the US passport for this. – Hilmar Jun 30 '15 at 12:01
  • 1
    lately I've been using my Dutch passport instead, to see what happens. So far, nothing. (8 USC 1185 only requires US citizens to "bear" a US passport when entering and leaving, and it is entirely reasonable that I would show a European passport to the airline when flying to Europe, since it gives the airline a stronger guarantee that I will be granted entry.) – phoog Jun 30 '15 at 12:52

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.