I have dual citizenship. South African and Dutch.

I am traveling from Amsterdam via Heathrow to Nairobi Kenya.

I have exited Netherlands on my Dutch passport, but was warned not to show my South African passport at Heathrow.

I do not need a visa if I enter Kenya on my South African passport.

Should I be worried about this warning? And what should I do when asked for my visa at Heathrow(I don't have one)?

  • Are the two legs of your trip using two separate tickets? – phoog Sep 30 '16 at 3:55
  • Yes I got two tickets on checking. – Jonker Sep 30 '16 at 3:56
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    On what grounds were you warned not to show your pasport at Heathrow? – phoog Sep 30 '16 at 3:56
  • I was warned by the checkin officer. Not Sure why I was warned. I told her I am going to enter Kenya on my South African passport, and she just commented: 'don't show your South African passport in Heathrow or there could be trouble.' Just scared I'm screwing up? – Jonker Sep 30 '16 at 3:57
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    I don't think this is a duplicate of the dual passports question. The specific point here is that the Dutch passport gives right of entry to the UK, whereas the South African passport would need a visa. That aspect doesn't seem to be covered by the main answer to that question, which seems to assume somebody who has passports for the two countries they are flying between but, here, the asker is visiting a third country. – David Richerby Sep 30 '16 at 7:18

Nobody will ask for your visa at Heathrow unless you have booked your flights on separate tickets and therefore need to check in at Heathrow.

If you do have to check in at Heathrow, you should show your South African passport to the airline when you check in, because your South African passport entitles you to travel to Kenya without a visa.

When you arrive at Heathrow, before you can check in for your second flight, you will have to clear UK immigration. Here, you will show your Dutch passport, because you don't have a visa in your South African passport. This is probably why you were warned not to show your South African passport. (Other reasons to show the Dutch passport include the much easier and shorter immigration process for EU citizens.)

If you are in doubt at any point in the process, there is no harm in showing both of your passports to the same person.

  • Thank you so much. That's really helpful and reassuring. – Jonker Sep 30 '16 at 4:02

As a rule of thumb, show your Dutch passport in Europe (at the gate in Heathrow, you can choose which one to show, since Dutch can get a Kenyan visa on Arrival and would thus be able to board).

In Kenya, show your South African passport except if asked for a UK visa on the way back when boarding the plane, in which case you should show your Dutch passport.

Because of this, you may find yourself showing both, which is completely fine.

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