I was born and raised in California but I have dual citizenship with Ireland. My Ireland passport has not been stamped, ever. I don't have an American passport due to arrears on alimony. If I leave from California to go to Thailand and only have my Irish passport and California driver's license, will I encounter problems getting back into the United States some two weeks later?

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    It would be easy enough for you to leave, via a one way ticket to Ireland, then separate bookings to wherever. Getting back without finding yourself in jail is pretty much impossible though. However, if you can make satisfactory payment arrangements, you may be able to get your US passport released. Dec 3 '16 at 5:53
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    @MichaelHampton why the one-way ticket to Ireland? Why not a round-trip ticket toThailand?
    – phoog
    Dec 3 '16 at 6:22
  • @phoog That is already explained in Tom's answer. Dec 3 '16 at 9:51
  • @MichaelHampton I don't quite understand, unless it is explained by the incorrect part of Tom's answer. If the traveler has documents such as an Irish passport and any necessary visas allowing him to enter Thailand, he will have no trouble boarding a flight to Thailand.
    – phoog
    Dec 3 '16 at 19:21

You are legally required to enter AND exit the USA on your US passport as a citizen of the USA.

When you check in for your flight to Thailand the airline is required to verify that you have proper documents for travel. Your Irish passport has not been used to enter the USA, so they can not record you as exiting on it. And if they realize you are a US citizen they can not board you without your US passport. So basically it will be nigh impossible to board your flight out of the USA.

Assuming you do manage to talk your way onto the plane, likely your Irish passport will be flagged for having exited the USA without having entered, so CBP may have a "few" extra questions for you upon your return.

And since you are prohibited from having a passport due to alimony issues, chances are that had a don't leave the country order exists, which might land you in court upon your return.

Bottom line, traveling to Thailand at the moment is not a good idea.

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    Hmm, there are some minor errors in the details but the basic conclusion of this answer is correct. I don't agree with the down vote. Would the voter care to comment? (The error is the assertion that the traveler will have difficulty leaving the US showing only the foreign passport to the airline. I've done this dozens of times and never had a problem. But the more significant, more pertinent point is that the traveler will have trouble re-entering the US, which seems very likely indeed.)
    – phoog
    Dec 3 '16 at 6:15
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    My foreign passport also has no stamps. I just have never seen any indication that airlines have any interest in enforcing the requirement that US citizens bear a valid US passport on exit, nor that the US government enforces it.
    – phoog
    Dec 3 '16 at 6:27
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    None of my dual-national friends have ever mentioned being asked to show a USA passport for exit, when their other passport was appropriate for the destination. It might happen, but. Dec 3 '16 at 9:04
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    'Twasn't me that downvoted, but why would the checkin staff deny boarding because the passport wasn't used to enter the US? It's perfectly common for, say, a UK national to show a UK passport when traveling from the US to the UK. The airline simply records the passport information and passes it on to the government; they aren't matching up entries and exits and refusing to let you leave if you can't prove your entry. There's good reason not to take this trip, as you note, but I disagree with the second paragraph. Dec 3 '16 at 9:15
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    @Tom one more thing: there's no violation if a dual national leaves the US showing only the foreign passport as long as he or she also has the US passport with him or her (not the case here, but certainly the case in the vast majority of instances). The law requires US citizens to "bear" the passport only.
    – phoog
    Dec 3 '16 at 19:26

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