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I am a dual South African / US citizen, living in the US.

I want to travel to Brazil but avoid having to get a visa as I would have to do as a US citizen. As a South African, a visa is not required.

Can I leave the US on my US passport (which is required by law) and then enter Brazil on my South African passport?

I imagine the steps would be as follows:

  • Check in to the flight using my SA passport (possibly having to show the airline my US passport as well to prove they won't have to fly me back).
  • Go through passport control with my US passport
  • Enter Brazil on my South African passport
  • Leave Brazil on my South African passport (while showing the airline the US passport to prove they won't have to fly me back)
  • Enter the US on my US passport.

Should I expect to encounter any problems if I do this?

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    Not for this specific combination but yes: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/3085/…, travel.stackexchange.com/questions/22457/… – Karlson Sep 25 '14 at 16:56
  • Not sure where your journey would start but if it's from the US there should not be any exit passport check. Also, to avoid having to fly you back or facing a fine, airlines are most interested in seeing a passport that allow you to enter your destination. On the way to Brazil this would be your SA passport and not your US passport. – Relaxed Sep 25 '14 at 18:27
  • @Relaxed: There will be a passport check at the US airport when leaving the country, to make sure you have permission to enter the target country. But for this purpose, one should show the passport with which they will be entering the new country, so in this case, not the US passport. – Flimzy Sep 25 '14 at 18:36
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    @Flimzy, Relaxed, you're both right. There is a check, but it is performed by the airline, not by any government authority. You do not have to get "stamped out" of the country, but you do need to demonstrate to the airline that you will be allowed off the plane when it lands. – choster Sep 25 '14 at 20:17
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    @Flimzy OK, but that's not a separate step, it's part of check-in. – Relaxed Sep 25 '14 at 21:02
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Yes, I have done this twice for the same reason (but with an Israeli passport).

  1. Check into the flight with your SA passport
  2. There is no passport control on the way out of the US
  3. Enter Brazil on your SA passport
  4. Check into the return flight showing your US passport
  5. Exit Brazil on your SA passport
  6. Enter the US on your US passport

Sometimes the airline will ask to see your second passport. This is not a problem; they deal with dual-nationals all the time.

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