Ask LH: Can I Travel Using Multiple Passports?

Ask LH: Can I Travel Using Multiple Passports?

Dear Lifehacker, My husband and I both have Australian and EU passports. Next February we are traveling to Brazil, where Australian passport holders need a visa, but EU passport holders do not. Can we leave and enter Australia using our local passports, and use our EU passports to enter and leave Brazil, thus not needing visas? Cheers, Visa Value

Picture by Sean MacEntee

Dear VV,

We’ve actually addressed a similar question in the recent past. The consensus amongst multiple-passport-holding Lifehacker readers is that yes, you can absolutely do what you’ve described, and it’s a useful way of avoiding all-too-common visa charges (many countries make Australians apply for visas because Australia in turn demands that their citizens get visas). Just remember these two basic rules:

  • Make sure you enter and exit each country using the same passport. If you leave Australia by presenting your Australian passport, use that again when you return. (That’s the sensible thing to do anyway, as there’s a much shorter queue for locals.) The same applies in Brazil — enter and exit using your EU passport.
  • While that applies to dealing with customs officials, you may need to mention to airline check-in staff that you’ll be using a different passport, since they will often check to see you have an appropriate visa and may not let you check in if you don’t.

Enjoy your trip!

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • Remember to check-in for flights using the passport you will show at the other end, not the passport to show 10 minutes later at immigration.

    Check-in for Flight to Brazil using your EU passport, but show immigration the Aust.

    In Brazil, for your flight home to Aust, check-in with the AU passport but exit Brazil immigration again with the EU passport.

  • IIRC there’s a requirement in some countries that if you hold a local passport you MUST use that local passport to enter/exit the country. E.g. If you have an Australian passport you must use it when entering/exiting Australia.

    No reason to not use the EU passport on the other end though.

    • Correct.

      As an American-Australian, I am required to leave / enter Australia with my AU passport, and leave / enter America with my USA passport.

      Any other countries I can pick and choose.

  • Be very careful about what choices you make. As far as I know, whichever passport you use to enter a country is the nationality you are declaring yourself as. So if you use an EU passport in Brazil and get into trouble, don’t go crying to the Australian consulate for help as you won’t be an Australian citizen in their eyes.

  • On a recent trip to America, the Australian ticket counter person *insisted* that I leave Australia with my US passport despite me showing him a printout of the regulations. He was quite arrogant so I did as he said.

    When I got to the security checkpoint they barked at me for not leaving Australia with my Aussie passport. I told them the story and they let me through albeit with doubtful looks.

    Strangely, upon entering Australia on the return flight, they didn’t care a bit that I’d left the country on my US passport..

  • Can your family join you in the ‘local queue’ even if they are not using that country’s passport? i.e. I am US/Aus, but my wife and kids are Aus. Can she and the kids use the US national queue with me?

  • It is a condition of your australian passport that you enter and leave on your australian passport. What you do once you leave is your own business.

    Leaving a country on a different passport to the one you arrived on is a good way to find yourself detained for a few hours.

  • I am very interested in what Karan and Johann said. I have an AUS and a British/Passport through Dual Citizenship. I am planning to live in Italy for at least a year, starting next March. i was concerned that entering Italy on on the EU passport would mean I could not request Australian Consular assistance in Italy, only British.

    I am also concerned about travel insurance. Does anyone know if it’s different if you are travelling on a different country from where you purchased the travel insurance? Specifically I am buying travel insurance in Australia but will be travelling as a British citizen.

  • Karan may be right, its often down to how ‘friendly’ a country is as to how much assistance they are willing to give. Our Govt typically looks after its citizens abroad very well.

  • Hi all! Hope someone can help me…
    I will be travelling to Aus on my Aussie p/p with my husband (Italian p/p) and our 2 dual citizen children… I have just been informed that my daughter (who was born in Aus) must get an Aussie p/p to be able to travel there! WT?? Why?? She is currently written on her Dad’s Italian p/p but the Aussie embassy said she must enter Aus on an Aussie one (which she had but has expired. This has put us in a bind because we live 3hours from Rome and I don’t know when we can find the time for a day trip to organise this p/p… anyone had this problem or can confirm the rules I was told? Also, how do they know that they are Australian citizens? Does it come up on their screen or something? Please help as I don’t know that I may need to get my son one also. He has an Italian p/p of his own but I got him aussie citizenship, for some silly reason, before he got the Italian p/p. I am so confused!

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