4

I have an Australian passport and a Slovak passport (Slovakia is part of the EU and Schengen zone). I flew to Europe (Vienna) from Australia on my Australian passport. My previous Slovak passport had expired. I've been travelling in the Schengen zone (including Slovakia) and UK on my Australian passport for 2 months. Whilst in Slovakia, I took the opportunity to get my Slovak passport renewed. I'll be flying out of Slovakia soon, to the UK. I will present my Slovak passport to UK immigration.

I am confused as to what to do exiting Slovakia. Do I present the Slovak passport to exit immigration as I am a Slovak national and therefore need to present myself as a Slovak citizen to its authorities? Or do I present the Australian passport to exit immigration, given I entered the Schengen zone (in Austria) on the Australian passport? Will it be a problem in future if I don't have a departure stamp from the Schengen zone in my Australian passport (and therefore no proof that I left)?

To complicate matters further, the passports are in two different surnames. This is because I have two surnames in Australia, but Slovakia only allows one surname. Will this present additional problems?

  • Does a departure stamp from the Schengen zone exist? – Neusser Dec 14 '16 at 16:10
  • @Neusser Yes and third-country citizens are supposed to get one in most cases. – Relaxed Dec 14 '16 at 16:23
  • @Relaxed This is very strange fo me, because I leave (and enter) Schengen area at least twice a year and have never got such a stamp. – Neusser Dec 14 '16 at 16:26
  • 3
    Do you know for a fact that presenting your Slovak passport is mandatory in Slovakia? I don't know about Slovakia in particular so it could be but it's not necessarily the case. In many European countries, it is not. – Relaxed Dec 14 '16 at 16:26
  • 1
    @Relaxed thank you for your comments - I'm not sure if its mandatory, I tried to look it up without success, all I found is general comments that you are generally supposed to enter/exit countries you are a citizen of with their passport. Even if not mandatory in Slovakia, I'm worried about presenting my Australian passport which has a different surname to my Slovak passport (and the name on my plane ticket, which matches my Slovak passport.) – Sasa Dec 14 '16 at 16:29
5

As far as Schengen rules are concerned, it doesn't really matter: you can always prove your right to be in the Schengen area by showing your Slovak passport, or indeed by using any other means to prove that you are a citizen of Slovakia, regardless of what document you used to enter. What's more, there is no Schengen-wide database of Schengen entries and exits wherein you will have a "dangling" entry record on your AUS passport.

Because of the absence of a Schengen-wide system, any country's own system can only be relatively useless, since it's possible to enter and exit the area through different countries. It's therefore unlikely, but possible, that whatever country you entered through has a record of your entry as an Australian, but they won't be able to come after you for that. The most likely consequence of that is having trouble entering Schengen in the future using an Australian passport. Any such problems can be resolved by showing yourself to be a Slovak citizen, and avoided entirely by not presenting yourself as an Australian citizen.

The only thing I don't know about is whether you can get in trouble under Slovak law for having used your Australian passport. I know that there are a handful of European countries that wouldn't care much about this, and I don't know any that do care about it, with the possible exception of the Netherlands, but I certainly don't know how it is in Slovakia.

The fact that you have different names in your passports could cause some trouble in some contexts (such as with airline tickets), but it's not likely to do so in this context. The passports both identify you with a photograph and biographical information, and probably also with biometric information. You have a legitimate reason why the names are different. Officials in some countries might take exception to the different names, but it's not likely to happen in the EU.

Immigration restrictions and rights, such as the EU right of free movement, are generally applied to each person, not to the document on which they entered. Some countries may allow or deny access to certain rights and privileges based on the document you used to enter the country, but this is neither the case in the EU, nor in Australia.

If you haven't been able to find official information that you must present yourself as a Slovak citizen to Slovak authorities, it of course doesn't mean that such a requirement doesn't exist. But it does imply strongly that no such requirement is being actively enforced.

Finally, you may want to consider showing both your passports when you leave. This will resolve any questions about names not matching with airline tickets, and it will allow Slovak officers to do whatever they think necessary with any records they might have of your Australian passport, while also proving your right to enter, reside in, and exit Slovakia and the Schengen area, and the European Union.

  • There's no comprehensive DB but what would happen some later year using the Australian passport if an official looks through it and finds the Australian entry without a corresponding exit? – WGroleau Dec 14 '16 at 21:01
  • @WGroleau that eventuality is meant to fall under "The most likely consequence of that is having trouble entering Schengen in the future using an Australian passport. Any such problems can be resolved by showing yourself to be a Slovak citizen, and avoided entirely by not presenting yourself as an Australian citizen." – phoog Dec 15 '16 at 0:24
  • @phoog thank you very much for your comprehensive answer! I have been worried about showing both passports due to some commentary on travel forums that basically says never show both passports unless specifically asked... I'm also worried about it because of the names being different and that leading to extensive questioning and delays etc - would those things concern you at all? – Sasa Dec 15 '16 at 16:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.