My passport is with Indian Embassy who are processing a visitors visa but cannot promise to return it prior to a planned visit to UK. I am a British citizen living permanently in USA and in possession of a green card. The question is, can I do a return trip from US to UK using only my green card as my official identification.

  • 4
    Probably not, but one thing you might consider is using your most recently expired passport. The British authorities will accept that as proof of citizenship, if I am not mistaken. You'll need to confirm with the airline beforehand, however, to make sure they'll let you board. As you may know, US Green card holders can enter the US with only their green card, so you should be good on that front.
    – phoog
    Sep 22, 2015 at 23:02
  • do you have something to prove your British citizenship to authorities in the UK? also what airline would you be flying? different airlines will have different policies Sep 22, 2015 at 23:40

1 Answer 1


So you have three problems:

  1. Getting into the UK
  2. Getting back into the US
  3. The airlines

Getting back into the US is certainly doable. Green card holders do NOT need to show a passport to return to the US - just a Green Card will suffice.

This then leaves us with the UK. As a British citizen, according to info from the Passport Office:

A person who is a British citizen is not subject to immigration control and is free to enter or leave the United Kingdom without restriction. A British citizen who travels on a passport issued by another country will need to apply for a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode to be endorsed in his passport to confirm he has unrestricted entry to this country.

So in theory, 'free to enter or leave' - you would arguably be allowed in. Of course you'll want to be able to prove who you are, and that you're British, and be very aware that you'll likely get questioned about doing this.

Finally, the airlines. This might be your biggest problem. Each airline (and indeed, airline employee) is likely to be different in their handling of this. It's extremely likely that they'll have concern over a person travelling without a passport or ETD - they want to know you're legally allowed into the country they're taking you to, or they can be fined and made to pay to remove you. So if there's any doubt over the matter, they may just say no.

So your steps:

  1. Find an airline flying direct to the UK, otherwise you're going to have to deal with MORE airlines and countries who might want a passport.
  2. Contact said airline and get it in writing that it'll be ok under their rules.
  3. Also contact the home office / embassy and get a note from them about it which you can show to officers who query.
  4. Bring as much other valid ID as you can.

Alternatively, look into a second passport, or an ETD (Emergency Travel Document).

  • ETD would be his only option, the RoA is impossible to get as it depends on having a passport of a third country which he doesn't.
    – jwenting
    Sep 24, 2015 at 6:32
  • @jwenting unless he has an expired UK passport as well, but yeah, even that will raise problems with the airlines.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 24, 2015 at 6:34
  • indeed. And an expired passport is not a valid travel document. And I'm not so much worried about him getting into the UK using it (they can use it to look up his status) but getting out of the US. The TSA/DHS aren't likely to take kindly to people trying to travel on expired or otherwise non-standard/suspicious documents.
    – jwenting
    Sep 24, 2015 at 7:37
  • @jwenting how so - there's no immigration when you leave the US.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 24, 2015 at 7:38
  • oh? Last time I was there I had to show my passport and boarding pass at a checkpoint when leaving, before going through the rest of the security circus.
    – jwenting
    Sep 24, 2015 at 7:39

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