I am a dual national with UK and US citizenship living in the UK. My US passport needed renewing and I sent it off. I apparently didn't enclose a picture, although I think it just fell out and missed the deadline to re-send the information. Mainly due to a medical condition, the approved courier company not arriving to collect the passport until 10.30pm (scheduled 7am-7pm) and I can't really justify the expense of paying again.

However, my aunt is unwell in the US and I'm wondering if I can apply for and travel on an ESTA using my UK passport?

It's not a confirmed trip, just more a question about the feasibility of visiting.

  • Do you still have the US passport? If you can prove your identity and US citizenship they will let you in. Nov 26, 2016 at 16:38
  • 1
    @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas But possibly also fine you for not having a valid passport, right? Nov 26, 2016 at 16:40
  • Not sure about the fine. But this is basically a duplicate of our "US citizen returning to the US without a valid passport" question, but with the added bonus of the second nationality. As it is, they can't not let you in as a citizen. Nov 26, 2016 at 16:48
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    @DavidRicherby there's no fine. It was repealed in the 1970s.
    – phoog
    Nov 26, 2016 at 17:30
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    Just finish renewing your US passport. If things get truly urgent, the embassy can provide same-day service. Nov 26, 2016 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


You can apply for an ESTA on your British passport, but whatever you do, do not declare your US citizenship on the form when asked about dual nationality, or the ESTA will be refused.

Then, at check-in, present your British passport only, as with an expired US passport, the airline will not let you board. This is because according to the database they use, Timatic, US passports must be valid on arrival in the US.

However, once in front of US immigration, present your US passport. Expect to be taken to secondary and possibly be sternly lectured for not having a valid US passport (which is illegal), and the CBP may want to see your British passport to establish how you got on the plane.

The legal way to go about this would be to get a transportation letter or emergency/temporary passport from the US embassy/consulate.

All in all, to clarify, in practice this trip is doable for you with your UK and expired US passport


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