I have dual nationality (although China doesn't recognise that) and will be leaving China to Sri Lanka on my Chinese passport which is in my Chinese name and which I have done on previous ocassions. I will have an e-visa for immigration purposes exiting China and travel on a return ticket. On arrival to Sri Lanka I want to show and have the entry stamp in my UK passport so when I travel onward to London a few days later there is no exit formality confusion. However, and here is the worry, my Chinese passport and UK passport are in quite different names. So when I show my UK passport to SL immigration on arrival, I want to know if they check in a computer to see if that name matches the flight records (or more basically actually look at the boarding pass) to check? Is there any risk with the above approach, and if I need to eventually show my Chinese passport would they understand the different names (obviously place of birth, date of birth, photo, birth certificate all match)? In future I will have the UK passport office add my Chinese name as an observation to the passport but this cannot be done without sending my passport off and I don't have the time.

  • Relevant: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/52100/… Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 3:03
  • People lose boarding passes all the time, and they are not a form of identification. A boarding pass is just to ensure you are sitting in your assigned seat at the right aircraft. Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 5:14
  • @BurhanKhalid You are overlooking at least one other function for a boarding pass, which is to serve as authorization to enter the secure area of the departure airport. (Since boarding passes are not, as you say, identification, travelers usually have to show ID along with the boarding pass at the security checkpoint.)
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 15:35
  • You are right, but as the question is asking for arrival, which is already a secure area - questions about usefulness of boarding passes at departure would be slightly OT. Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 10:14

5 Answers 5


Sri Lanka does not know or care that you have multiple nationalities, so using your UK passport will be fine.

Immigration can ask pretty much anything they want to, but I can't recall ever having to show my boarding pass on arrival. If they did, and they noticed the name is different, there is nothing wrong with showing your Chinese passport as well.

That said, because China does not tolerate dual nationality, per the "Case 4" recommendation in this answer I would advise you to cover your tracks: use your Chinese passport to enter and leave Sri Lanka, and only switch to the UK passport when arriving in London. Chinese nationals are eligible for the same e-visa as UK nationals.

  • Thanks jpatokal, useful info to know. But I can't use the Chinese pasport when leaving SL (to London) as I won't have a current UK visa in it. So I need to use my UK passport when booking that ticket and show that passport when I leave SL. And therefore I want to have my entry stamp in my UK passport on arrival, so there is no confusion when coming to board my flight to UK. Does that make sense?
    – yesmaybe
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 3:43
  • To future readers - this advice is valid for Sri Lanka only. For instance, I have been asked to show my boarding pass at the immigration checkpoint at Doha so do not take this as general advice. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 4:15
  • @chromozonex What part of the advice are you objecting to here? My point was that, even if you are asked for a boarding pass, it's not "illegal" or anything to have it in a different name matching a different passport. (Unless you happen to be a "secret" dual citizen of that country, of course.) Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 4:19
  • I wasn't objecting to any of it! In fact, I gave you an up vote. I suppose I could reword my comment to make it not seem like that. EDIT: Nope can't edit it. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 4:22
  • and even if SL authorisites accept the concept of dual nationality (not knowing or caring as you say), there is the extra issue that the names are not the same. Could there be a question of whether I am actually travelling on someone else's passport. That is the issue I am worried about. Is it a 'known' proven situation to have dual nationality and different names in each passport? and still show both at the third country if necessary.
    – yesmaybe
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 6:04

The boarding pass would only be an issue if it were a requirement for the type of visa you would need to enter Sri Lanka (personally I have never faced such a requirement).

However, even if you wanted a transit visa - the officer would be asking for your flight itinerary/reservation rather than boarding passes.

On arrival to Sri Lanka I want to show and have the entry stamp in my UK passport so when I travel onward to London a few days later there is no exit formality confusion.

On arrival in Sri Lanka you only need to show that you have the proper visa (or are exempt from such requirements) to enter Sri Lanka. That's it.

So when I show my UK passport to SL immigration on arrival, I want to know if they check in a computer to see if that name matches the flight records (or more basically actually look at the boarding pass) to check?

Generally speaking immigration officials can ask for anything (I was once asked what color are my eyes - I still don't know why); but they will definitely not check that your name matches the boarding pass.

They will check:

  1. Photo matches the person standing in front of them.
  2. Passport passes the machine reader.
  3. You are not blacklisted or otherwise forbidden to enter Sri Lanka
  4. Your passport is valid.

Then they will ask (these are the standard questions, but as I mentioned they can ask anything):

  1. Where are you coming from.
  2. Purpose of your visit.
  3. Where are you staying.
  4. Itinerary (especially if you are asking for a transit/short stay visa)
  5. Proof of funds (optional, but sometimes asked on certain visa types).

However, on exiting the country if there are exit immigration requirements I know some Asian countries will stamp both the boarding pass and the passport with the exit stamp.

The officer will normally scan the boarding pass at this stage or manually inspect its details.

So, during your exit from Sri Lanka - you will need to show (at the airline counter) that you have valid travel documents for the UK (you can show your UK passport), and then further at immigration control a passport to mark your exit.

They may ask when you arrived in the country (especially if when they scan your UK passport they do not see a recent arrival record). At that time, you can show your Chinese passport as that is on which the arrival was recorded.

To avoid all this hassle - you should just use your Chinese passport throughout the journey; and then once you land in UK just show your UK passport at the immigration counter to speed your entry.

  • I don't have a valid UK visa in my Chinese passport and so I will not be able to use this during my exit from SL. Hence why I want to use my UK passport as soon as I have successfully left China. Coming back to China at a later date is not something I am concerned about (at this stage).
    – yesmaybe
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 6:57
  • 1
    You just need to show your UK passport at the airline counter; you can stamp the exit on your Chinese passport. Once you land in UK, just show your UK passport to enter the country - I hope that's clear. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 7:01
  • thanks Khalid. So, I buy a ticket from PEK-COL in my Chinese name and use this until departure from SL. I also have a ticket COL-LHR in my Chinese name. So it's at the airline counter in SL where I show them the UK passport. Then I use the China pp to exit SL and on arrival in UK I am home and dry. So Sri Lankan airlines aren't going to say we can't let you fly because there is a risk UK immigration won't let this Chinese person (as on the flight ticket) into the UK... couldn't I have the COL-LHR ticket in my UK name to avoid this potential 'issue'?
    – yesmaybe
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 7:28
  • 1
    When you arrive at the checkin desk for your UK flight, and the agent asks for your UK visa - simply show them your UK passport. Get your boarding pass (which will be in the name which you used on the reservation); head over to immigration. Show your Chinese passport and your boarding pass. If they ask for your UK visa, just show them your UK passport - that's all there is to it. Enjoy your flight. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 7:37

I have only ever been asked to show my boarding pass on arrival once. It was on a flight from Ireland to the UK.

The reason was that Ireland is the only country you can enter the UK from without going through passport control (due to the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), and this was a simple way to verify that passengers had come from Ireland.*

(Despite thisn exemption, I suspect any passenger acting suspiciously would be taken to one side for questioning.)

The above obviously would not apply in the OP's case. I would be surprised if it was asked for, as many people lose them as soon as they have found their seat. But you never know.

*Schengen area airports generally physically separate passengers arriving from the Schengen area and those arriving from other countries who do have to go through passport control. As the UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen area but instead have their own separate agreement, the volume of international passengers not required to go through passport control is so small that they do sometimes use this ad hoc method of checking boarding passes.


Use your Chinese passport throughout the journey. Sri Lanka can report to China on your dual status for using an invalid Chinese passport to enter Sri Lanka because according to article 9 of the nationality law you have already cease to become a Chinese citizen with PRC upon naturalising as a UK citizen. You are effectively illegally entering Sri Lanka and China on an invalid passport.

  • 1
    Any source to back that up?
    – user58558
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 15:27

Generally only if it's relevant for obtaining a visa on arrival, such as in the case of US citizens flying into Baku on the direct AZAL flight from New York.

Another case is if flying into Ireland from the UK, in which case a boarding pass proving you flew from the UK will exempt you from having to present a passport (if you're believably British or Irish).

On departure, however, many countries systematically require it, and some, such as Moldova and Georgia, stamp it.

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