I've been doing a lot of research on how to travel with dual citizenship and feel like I always get conflicting answers. I'm going to be flying from the US to the Netherlands next month, and then traveling to Edinburgh for a study abroad program. I want to use my EU passport the whole time I am in Europe to avoid needing a visa, but want to make sure I am traveling correctly.

At this point my plan is to check in at the airport in the US with my Dutch passport, and continue using that passport when I land in the Netherlands and throughout my stay in Europe. I then plan on checking in to my return flight back to the US with my US passport and of course showing my US passport when I arrive back in the states.

My main confusion is that I've read that you should always exit and enter a country with the same passport (which I am obviously not doing), but I have also read that you should always enter and exit a flight with the same passport (which I am doing).

If anyone with experience traveling with two passports could let me know if my plan will work and is correct it would be much appreciated! I am not an experienced traveler to begin with so I am very nervous about being questioned by customs or anything like that.

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    When you check in for your flight from the USA, you show them both of your passports, the EU passport to prove eligibility to enter and the US passport to show you are in the US legally. They will enter the necessary data to satisfy your exit from the USA with the CBP, since there is no physical exit formality. Likewise for the return flight, show them the US passport to prove admission eligibility and the EU passport for exit formalities. – user13044 Aug 22 '15 at 3:35
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    The "big deal" about using the same passport is really for those countries you visit where you will need an exit stamp of some kind. There is no exit interview upon leaving the US (for US citizens) so which passport you use to leave the US is irrelevant. Use the one that gets you aboard the plane with the least amount of trouble (i.e. your EU one). – CGCampbell Aug 22 '15 at 19:06

My main confusion is that I've read that you should always exit and enter a country with the same passport (which I am obviously not doing)

You are doing it.

The thing you are forgetting is that exiting country A and entering country B are two separate things (and the airline check-in is a third separate thing). When you exit country A, you should use the passport that you entered country A with (that's the "always enter and exit a country with the same passport"). But that does not have to be the same passport that you use to enter country B (which would be whatever passport allows you to enter country B). And for airline check-in, you should use the passport you will use for entering the destination country (which you have correctly described).

Note that the US does not have exit checks, so the "exiting" step for the US to Netherlands flight is trivially satisfied. However, for the Netherlands to US flight, you will exit the Netherlands with your Dutch passport and enter the US with your US passport.


As @user102008 explained, what you plan on doing is perfectly fine. But note that you can use whichever passport you feel like when checking in (or even show the airline several passports if needed). This has no consequences and you can always show your EU passport later, at the official passport check at your destination airport.

The US is a little more specific than European countries about all this. If you are a US citizen, you legally have to enter the country with your US passport. Because airlines share the passenger manifest with US authorities and nearly everybody else needs an authorisation, it's also important to make sure the airline does register the details of your US passport when flying to the US.

In the EU, it doesn't really matter. It's easier to use your EU passport when entering the UK or the Netherlands so that you don't get a stamp or questions but that's about it. US citizens don't need prior authorisation to board a plane to the Netherlands and even if you do enter using your US passport, this should not have any serious consequences.

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