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January 28, 2009


Can I Travel to the U.S. on My British Passport Instead?

Q: I have dual nationality but my U.S. passport has expired and I need to go the U.S. very soon. Can I go there just using my British passport?

A: It is federal law* that all U.S. citizens, even dual nationals, must enter and depart the United States using a valid U.S. passport. It will therefore be necessary to replace your passport prior to your travel to the United States.

Airplane Photo

Photo: caribb on Flickr

We are currently processing U.S. passport applications in approximately 10 working days. Please let us know when you submit your application that you need to travel urgently, and we will process the application as soon as possible for you.

For more information on passport renewal, please visit and select the service that you require from the left column.

*Sec 215(b) Immigration & Nationality Act [8 United States Code 1185]

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  1. James Havice
    Jan 30 2009

    There are problems with being a dual citizen when traveling back to the UK on your US passport. Most airlines, including United will not allow you to check in and board their aircraft to the UK without a return ticket to the US. If dual citizens (US/UK) are required to leave the US on a US passport and are trying to get home (UK), what are they supposed to do?

    • AmericanCitizenServices
      Jan 30 2009

      Hi James,

      The country of which you are a citizen generaly require that you enter on the passport of that country. If you are a U.S. citizen, you must enter and depart the U.S. on a valid U.S. passport. If you are a UK citizen, you must enter and exit the UK on a UK passport . This means that dual nationals should carry both passports.

  2. Neil
    May 12 2009

    Good point to bring up. Holding dual citizenship with the US and UK, I am being assigned to work in the UK from August this year to February of 2010. Is the process the same as the comments listed above? I’m obviously going to need to enter the UK on my UK Passport since I am going to be residing and working there for an extended period of time. Let me know what I can do. Thanks

    • American Citizen Services
      May 13 2009

      The U.S. Embassy can only definitively answer questions regarding U.S. entry requirements. As your questions pertains to UK entry requirements, you will need to contact the UK Border Agency or your nearest UK Embassy/Consulate for more information.

  3. Lizzy
    Aug 16 2009

    My son who is 19 months holds a US passport, I am British and plan on taking my son home to the UK shortly, do I need to get him a British passport before we go or can I get him one when we get there? My Husband who is American will be travelling with us too.

    • American Citizen Services
      Aug 17 2009

      As your question relates to UK entry requirements, you will need to contact the UK Border Agency or your nearest UK Embassy/Consulate for more information on whether it is permissible for your son to enter the UK on an American passport.

  4. Mr. PUNA
    Sep 4 2009

    I have dual nationality, US and UK.
    Is it OK if I travell to UK with my UK passport and enter UK and leave UK for US
    BUT on my return to US-Airport, can I show/use my US valid passport to enter in US ?

    Please, ADVISE/Confirm that this is right use of using both the passports.

    Note: I will be buying ONE-WAY ticket to travel from US to UK.
    I was told by friend that UK-Immigration needs RETURN ticket to enter UK
    when you travel and present US-Passport at UK-Airport. Is it true ?

    • American Citizen Services
      Sep 8 2009

      The U.S. Embassy can only definitely state that all U.S. citizens must enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. For questions regarding UK entry/exit procedures, you will need to contact the UK Border Agency.

  5. Viral
    Oct 9 2009

    Hi – my son (5 years old) has dual nationality (Uk and US). We are travevelling to the US next week, but his US passport has expired (UK passport recently renewed). Is there a way to get his US passport renewed quicker or get some sort of letter to travel ?

  6. Paul Anderson
    Jan 28 2010

    My wife and I and my 8 year old son are returning to the UK in June to live.

    My wife is American, my son too but he holds both UK/US passports. If my wife has a settlement visa and I have a returning resident visa, why would we be expected to have return tickets? Surely Immigration at both airports would check the visas and allow us through right?

    • American Citizen Services
      Jan 28 2010

      As your questions pertains to UK entry requirements, you will need to contact your nearest UK Embassy/Consulate or the UK Border Agency for more information.

  7. Nicky Smith
    Feb 24 2010

    My 10 year old son was born in the US and has dual US/UK citizenship. His US passport has expired and I wanted to check if we have to go to London to renew it or can we go to Edinburgh? as we will be staying with my family in Scotland for a couple of weeks and this would be a far easier option for us.

    • American Citizen Services
      Mar 1 2010

      Nicky – information about renewing a U.S. passport at the Consulate in Edinburgh is available from the Embassy website,

  8. heather
    Mar 10 2010

    I am travelling to the States and I have been living in Canada, I obtain a permanent residency card, my passport is British. Do I need a waiver or will I be ok? I am planning to go and take a trades course for 5 days.

    • American Citizen Services
      Mar 10 2010

      Heather – This blog is for American Citizen services. If you need information on entry and visa requirements for the United States, please visit the Embassy’s website

  9. Sarah
    May 14 2010

    I have dual UK-US nationality and therefore have 2 passports. I will be travelling to the US in 2 weeks’ time and would like to know the following:

    Can I leave the UK on my British passport and then present my US passport on arrival in the US? And do the same on the return journey i.e. present my US passport when I leave the US and present my UK one when I return? I would obviously like to avoid the immigration queues wherever possible.

    Thank you

    • American Citizen Services
      May 19 2010

      Sarah – you should carry both passports with you when traveling to the United States. It is mandatory under U.S. visa law that all U.S. Citizens enter and leave the United States on their U.S. passports. If you require more information about re-entering the UK, you may wish to contact the UK Border Agency directly.

  10. Kim Platt
    May 17 2010

    My daughters passport is about to expire and she was planning to go to the US from the UK in about 3 weeks. How long is it currently taking to process new passports? The website shows that there are no appointments available until June 18. Can she do it all by post?

    • American Citizen Services
      May 17 2010

      Kim – information about renewing a passport is available from the Embassy website. Please note that, even if your daughter is a dual national, she must enter and leave the United States using her U.S. passport.

  11. Tom Anfinson
    Jul 11 2010

    Hi i am a British and American citizen, i want to enter the UK with my US passport, will this cause any problems?

    • American Citizen Services
      Jul 15 2010

      Tom – If you will enter the United Kingdom from the United States, you may wish to check with the UK Border Agency before traveling.

  12. Henry
    Jul 21 2010

    I’ve managed to missplace my American passport as I haven’t used it in a couple of years. If I am unable to find it before I fly can I still enter the US on my british passport?

    • American Citizen Services
      Jul 23 2010

      Henry – under U.S. law, a U.S. passport holder MUST enter the United States on their American passport. You cannot enter the U.S. using your UK passport.

  13. Lou
    Jul 21 2010

    Hello, I am a US/UK dual citizen. I anticipate traveling from the US to the UK later this year. I’m aware that I have to get a US Passport to exit the country, but would it be sufficient to get a US Passport Card instead, if I already have a British Passport? I’d like to save the additional 80 dollars and not get a book passport if I don’t have to.

    • American Citizen Services
      Jul 28 2010

      Lou – passport cards can only be used to enter the United States by sea or by land. If you will enter the United States by air, you will require a passport book. More information is available from the Embassy website.

  14. Melinda Rishkofski
    Jul 26 2010

    My children have dual citizenship and hold both UK and US passports. They are planning to travel to England on August 2nd from the United States and plan to return to to the US on August 12th and then travel to Russia on August 18th. Their US passports are now with the Russian Embassy in Washington so that they can obtain a Russian visa in time for their relocation to Russia on August 18th. Is there anyway they can travel to England from the US and back to the US without having their US passports with them? Could we apply for a visa waiver for them. They will be traveling with their father who has a UK passport and US green card. Thank you in advance for your prompt reply.

    • American Citizen Services
      Jul 29 2010

      Melinda – when entering the United States, your children MUST do so on their U.S. passports. There are no exceptions to this rule.

  15. Jesse
    Oct 19 2010


    I am a Dual National. (U.S./Canadian) and I am planning on travelling to the United States.
    I know that it is preferable to enter and leave the U.S with a U.S Passport. My question is, since I will be returning to Canada, Should I bring both my Canadian and American passport and present my Canadian passport to The Canadian officials upon entering Canada? Or enter Canada with my U.S Passport since I just basically crossed the boarder?

    • AmericanCitizenServices
      Oct 19 2010

      Jesse – the Department of State recommends that dual nationals travel with both their passports. Please note that U.S. law requires that you enter and exit the United States on your U.S. document.

  16. Ashley
    Nov 4 2010

    My wife is a US citizen who moved the UK to live with me when we got married. She has indefinate leave to stay in the UK now but I am sending her on a 12 day trip with our daughter (born in UK and has UK passport) I have read about the new ESTA thing and want to know if my wife needs to have one aswell as my daughter.

    • AmericanCitizenServices
      Nov 5 2010

      Ashley – your wife, as an american citizen, is not required to obtain authorization under ESTA. Please note that your daughter may have a claim to U.S citizenship, in which case we recommend that you apply for a consular report of birth abroad and a U.S passport for her. Information about claiming U.S. Citizenship is available from the Embassy website, here.

  17. Connor McGeorge
    Nov 11 2010

    Hi, i was a greencard holder for the United States but i decided it was not for me and returned home to Scotland. it has been 18 months since i last visited america and my greencard will be expired since i have been out of the country for more than 6 months. i want to go back to America next summer to visit family but will i be allowed into the country even though my greencard will be expired? i just want to visit for three weeks.

    Hope this makes sense.

    Thank you

    Connor McGeorge

    • AmericanCitizenServices
      Nov 17 2010

      Connor – before you attempt to travel, you should file form I-407 to formally abandon your status as a permanent resident. You should visit the Embassy website, here, for more information.

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