I am a U.S. Citizen who holds a dual citizenship. The U.S. will not renew my passport.

Can I drive to Mexico, with a visa from Mexico stamped on my non-US passport to show I legally entered Mexico, and take an International flight back to the country I hold dual citizenship to?

  • 3
    US will not renew a US passport for US citizen? What kind of court order did that take?
    – Karlson
    Sep 30, 2014 at 13:07
  • 2
    @Karlson: The thing that comes to mind is the U.S. won't issue passports to people with back child support.
    – user102008
    Sep 30, 2014 at 19:18
  • 1
    @user102008 Thought of that too.
    – Karlson
    Sep 30, 2014 at 20:34

3 Answers 3


The US does not have passport checks upon leaving the country. The only way the government can attempt to prevent you from leaving the country is to refuse to renew your passport.

So, you don't even have to drive to Mexico. You can simply take a flight from wherever you are now to wherever you want to go. This is assuming that you do have a valid passport, of course.

  • The airline may check for the I-94 these days if the person is not traveling on a U.S. or Canadian passport. Sep 30, 2014 at 12:18
  • @SpehroPefhany: Perhaps. But the OP wouldn't have one anyway, due to being a US citizen. Sep 30, 2014 at 15:19
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    Sure, but he's if he's presenting a foreign passport to the airline as his travel document, questions could arise. Sep 30, 2014 at 16:30
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    @SpehroPefhany: 1) I-94 is automated nowadays, there are no paper ones 99% of the time. 2) Even when there was paper I-94, there was generally no problem for illegal immigrants to leave the U.S., so not having an I-94 was not a problem.
    – user102008
    Sep 30, 2014 at 19:20

You're going to have a big problem doing this: While there is no outgoing border post in the US there is a Mexican border post when you enter Mexico. Getting past that without a passport is going to pose a problem.

Furthermore, getting on an international flight without a passport is pretty much not going to happen--the airline doesn't want to transport someone who isn't eligible to be admitted to the destination.

  • Has this changed in the past few years? The last time I crossed the border from the US into Mexico there was no border post at all - you just drove straight through on the highway without stopping. Sep 30, 2014 at 3:51
  • @NateEldredge Strange, in that I've heard of people having trouble with the Mexican authorities at border crossings. Maybe there are some unmanned ones. Sep 30, 2014 at 3:52
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    There won't be a problem because the person has a valid visa to Mexico - the only issue here is that its not stamped on the US passport. Sep 30, 2014 at 4:30
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    You can walk into Mexico with minimal or nonexistent formalities (across the U.S. Border), however to travel far from the border or take flights etc. you should have a visa stamp. As the person has a non-U.S. passport that should not present a problem (except sometimes the appropriate officials are hard to find). Sep 30, 2014 at 12:00
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    The last time I crossed the border by land was in 2000 from San Antonio by long distance bus. There was no checking of papers on the Mexican side at the border post but a passenger warned me that I had to go myself to some office or the whole bus would be held up a bit further into Mexico. I don't remember the details but I took his suggestion and it turned out to be the right thing later on. Oct 1, 2014 at 4:26

First, US law requires US citizens to enter and leave the country on a US passport. Your plan is therefore illegal, but as a practical matter it might be possible to do it.

You do not identify your other country of citizenship. If nationals of that country need visas to enter the US, you will need to get a visa without the US consular officer detecting the fact that you are American. For example, if you were born in the US, your foreign passport will show that, and they will probably ask why you are not using a US passport. They may also check visa applicants against some database in which you might be listed as a US citizen (US passports issued in the past?). Then again, they might not.

If you arrive in the US showing a non-US passport, the border guard might not notice that you are a US citizen. In that case, you will be treated as a national of your other country, and you might well be admitted.

On the other hand, if the guard does suspect that you are a US citizen, because of your place of birth or otherwise, you will probably be asked why you're not using a US passport. If they establish that you are in fact a US citizen, you will possibly get in trouble for trying to pretend not to be one. At the very least, you will probably have to pay a fee to enter the country without a passport. I don't know what the fee is, but I suspect it is higher than the fee for expedited passport renewal.


IF "back to the country I hold dual citizenship to" refers not to the US but to the other country, then you are much more likely to succeed, as long as you don't try to re-enter the US. But why not fly directly from the US to that country? There's no passport control for people leaving the US, neither in the airport nor at the land border crossings. I have dual nationality and I never show my US passport to anyone when I leave the country -- I check in with my non-US passport.

  • 3
    I think the motivation of the OP is to fly from Mexico to the non-US citizenship country (for the sake of argument, say Elbonia). There wouldn't be any problem with the US if an Elbonian citizen is trying to enter Elbonia with an Elbonian passport. Sep 30, 2014 at 2:03
  • @GregHewgill I suppose you are correct. I read "the country I hold dual citizenship to" as referring to the US (probably because that phrase is repeated by "back to"), which on reflection seems wrong. I'll edit my answer.
    – phoog
    Sep 30, 2014 at 2:05
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    @GregHewgill Heh, virtual +1 for Elbonia
    – CGCampbell
    Sep 30, 2014 at 12:43
  • "If they establish that you are in fact a US citizen, you will possibly get in trouble for trying to pretend not to be one." You don't have to "pretend not to be one". You should just go up to the immigration officer and declare upfront that you are a U.S. citizen.
    – user102008
    Sep 30, 2014 at 19:16
  • "At the very least, you will probably have to pay a fee to enter the country without a passport." There is no "fee" or any kind of consequence as far as I know.
    – user102008
    Sep 30, 2014 at 19:17

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