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Entering UK with foreign passport

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  • KD

    I am British but have duel citizenship. I’m about to renew my UK passport which will obviously mean I can’t use it. Am I able to leave and enter on my other passport without any issues / legal requirements while I wait for the shiny new blue thing?

    RK228

    Just going through this now with our son who has citizenship for three countries, but currently two passports. UK renewal application technically requires you to send in all your passports, even foreign ones apparently.

    There is a question in the renewal application that asks you if you have passports from another country and then the application form instructs you to send all the passports in.

    If you don’t send the second passport, I’ve read that it can delay processing of your new UK passport (as your application is incomplete and they will need to contact you to send in the other passport), but no direct experiences. We didn’t feel like taking our chances and we’re not travelling again until June, so we sent them all in.

    If you’re not planning to go anywhere, I’m not sure how’d they’d know you have a second passport (if you answer “no” to the second passport question), but I would not knowingly misstate anything for an official application like this and, if you’re planning to travel from/to UK on the second passport, it seems like a way for the Home Office to find out about your second passport, which should be with your renewal application (although not sure Border Force systems would be sophisticated enough to catch this).

    John

    Yes, you may enter on your foreign passport. If eligible for e-gates nobody will even notice though of course the computer will record your entry. If there is no subsequent record of leaving the UK (via API) that passport may not necessarily work to enter the UK automatically in future if an “overstay” situation may have occurred.

    If you go to a human officer it may be advisable to tell them you are a British citizen which they can then verify. Although if you are merely visiting the UK there are British citizens who have been stamped in as tourists.

    It is correct that you are required to send all other valid passports to renew a British one because the UK is paranoid that people might have slightly different names in different countries. To avoid lying on an official form you would have to book an in person renewal and pay more to keep hold of your foreign passport.

    NorthernLass

    Don’t you have to prove that you’re either a UK citizen or have right to remain? I recall Rob’s wife had issues with this when trying to return home on a German passport?

    BJ

    Renewal datapoint: applied for renewal online 4 January and sent d passport same day by special delivery. Received new passport 11 January so within 7 days which included two weekend days.

    Rob
    HfP Staff

    I’ve been on both ends of this.

    Be under no illusion – you will get a LOT of grief at immigration if you try to enter on an EU passport when you hold a British one. However, the good news is that showing a photo of your UK one is all they need.

    Applications – I just my got daughter a new British passport. They emailed back asking to be sent her German one – with usual Govt efficiency the email said ‘no photocopies accepted. We accept photocopies with good reason.’. Fearing a 10 week delay and a missed ski holiday, I sent a photocopy of her German one and said I didn’t have the original available (technically true, at the time I wrote the letter – the original was back in the house by then!). This was accepted with no issues and the new UK one arrived a few days later.

    Rob
    HfP Staff

    Renewal datapoint: applied for renewal online 4 January and sent d passport same day by special delivery. Received new passport 11 January so within 7 days which included two weekend days.

    Because different parts of the UK use different offices with different wait times, people should be wary of putting too much faith in statements like this – albeit my daughters was also turned around quickly once they had the required papers.

    TedL

    Renewal datapoint: applied for renewal online 4 January and sent d passport same day by special delivery. Received new passport 11 January so within 7 days which included two weekend days.

    Because different parts of the UK use different offices with different wait times, people should be wary of putting too much faith in statements like this – albeit my daughters was also turned around quickly once they had the required papers.

    Not just different areas of UK using different offices. I renewed passports of Mrs TedL and myself last April, online applications ten minutes apart, Mrs TedL’s went to Hemel Hempstead and mine went to Bootle. The one from Bootle came back in 2 weeks and that from Hemel took 5 weeks.

    SamG

    Personally I’d still be trying to use the in person services – using the one week service the new passport has come within a couple of days each time and it’s worth paying the extra to know it won’t go and get stuck for 10+ weeks!

    NorthernLass

    Thanks for the tip re the photocopy at renewal @Rob, it’s not due till 2028 but I don’t feel too comfortable with the idea of the passport office having both my passports at the same time!

    BJ

    Renewal datapoint: applied for renewal online 4 January and sent d passport same day by special delivery. Received new passport 11 January so within 7 days which included two weekend days.

    Because different parts of the UK use different offices with different wait times, people should be wary of putting too much faith in statements like this – albeit my daughters was also turned around quickly once they had the required papers.

    I think they actively manage allocation of online applications to any office from anywhere in the UK in an effort to optimise efficiency and minimisw processing times. I was expecting mibe to go to Glasgow or Liverpool but was surprised to be asked to send it to Hemel Hempstead.

    BJ

    The last time I posted this I got a lot of stick because it was inconsistent with the experience of some and because it is not easy to find the answer online but I will post it again anyway. While my partner was applying for citizenship the information provided on successful completion stated that should he go on to obtain a British passport then he would be must in future always enter the UK on his British passportregardless of any other he held. I was curioys about that at the time si did some digging and amongst tge various immigration board I did see a letter to someone from tge Hone Office setting out why this is required and the legislation underpinning it. Unfortunately U can no longer find it but I believe it was sound. I believe people’s experience in practice when crossing border varies but I think @Rob is right to urge caution. Were I in the situation I doubt I would risk it but if I did I’d carry both electronic and paper copies of my old passport along with proof that a renewal application was in progress.

    NorthernLass

    What happens if your UK passport has expired? If one has longer to run can you travel on the 2nd one with the expired UK one for coming home?!

    Joe G

    I have Duel Citizenship but I nearly always travel with my Irish passport and have done so for the last 20 years.

    I’ve never had any real issues using it after Brexit, most of the time I can just use the egates coming in. One time I failed at the egate and the officer at immigration asked me about my right to remain in the UK and I just told him I had dual Citizenship which was accepted without further follow up questions or being asked for proof while my Icelandic girlfriend who does have settled status in the UK was given a proper grilling and asked to show documentation.

    There are a couple of other times I’ve had to come in through an official when the gates weren’t working but neither time was my right to be in the UK questioned.

    Sometimes I wonder strategically which is the best passport to go to the EU on as it has worked both ways for me, when entering Italy last year EU passports were shunted to the front of the queue but when I went to the Canary Islands it was the opposite where UK passports were prioritised with a longer wait for EU. I wonder what others general experiences are of this? I’ve heard it’s not advised to travel with 2 passports as it could potentially ring alarm bells with immigration and cause you unnecessary delay though I’m not sure what the truth of this is.

    Rui N.

    What happens if your UK passport has expired? If one has longer to run can you travel on the 2nd one with the expired UK one for coming home?!

    Entering your own country with an expired passport is usually not a problem (the problem is entering other countries). That said, the airline could raise issues (or their systems might not even allow for an expired passport to be added to the API). But since you have 2, show the unexpired one to the airline and show the expired UK to Border Force.
    (Have no idea how e-gates deal with expired UK passports though.)

    NorthernLass

    @Rui, interesting.

    DUAL citizenship, unless it’s actually predicated on fighting with flintlock pistols to secure it 😂 (that’s twice now, and the grammar pedant has awoken!)

    NorthernLass

    @Joe G, I thought Irish nationals had separate rights to enter the UK under the CTA arrangement? I take my Spanish passport as well as my UK one when I go to Spain as I was told they expect you to use it if you have one, or you can end up having it cancelled by the authorities. It’s never caused an issue that it’s not the one linked to my flight bookings.

    Joe G

    Yes, Irish Citizens do have separate rights to stay in the UK but that didn’t stop me from being asked about my residential status in the UK that one time, not sure what that was about!

    RK228

    I’ve heard it’s not advised to travel with 2 passports as it could potentially ring alarm bells with immigration and cause you unnecessary delay though I’m not sure what the truth of this is.

    I have two passports and often, but not always, carry both when travelling and have never had a problem. I don’t always go advertising this though.

    For my countries of citizenship, I always use the relevant passport for entry. For everywhere else, I usually use my British passport for entry, as nowadays I mostly travel with my family and that is the one passport we all have in common (all of us are at least dual nationals), so makes things slightly easier/more streamlined (e.g., forms like API, visas, etc.).

    Rob
    HfP Staff

    When we went to Dubai last October, my daughter used her German passport. She had previously only entered Dubai on her British passport. They refused to let her in and she was sent to the police station in the terminal (she was 14). After an interview a stamp was put in her passport and she was allowed to enter, with a warning that she must now only enter Dubai on her German passport.

    redlilly

    Yes, Irish Citizens do have separate rights to stay in the UK but that didn’t stop me from being asked about my residential status in the UK that one time, not sure what that was about!

    Yep – same has happened to me. The worst experience being in October travelling from France to the UK on the eurotunnel, when they challenged me and my Portuguese partner about our rights to live in the UK (I am a dual national), and whether I really owned my car or not!! I wanted to burst out laughing. Proving my OH has rights to remain is a complete shambles, even though he has settled status… I have no idea how he would prove it.

    Also, I have been challenged by BA agents at the gates (on at least 4 occassions) that I cannot use my Irish passport card to travel to or from the UK. Again, they are wrong and it always ends up in a ridiculous debate.

    John

    I have an acquaintance who is a British citizen born and raised in the UK. He moved to Poland and became a Polish citizen.

    Because he enjoys wasting officials’ time, since Polish citizens lost freedom of movement to the UK, he occasionally attempts to pass through UK immigration using his Polish ID card.

    To use an EU ID card to enter the UK you now need to have pre-/settled status, but of course as a British citizen he can’t get that and doesn’t need it.

    He says he hasn’t received any grief from UKBF officers, they usually just ask him on what basis he is trying to enter the UK, to which he replies he is a British citizen. Most of the time they then go off to run a check on his British citizenship status and he has to wait 5-10 minutes.

    Only rarely do they ask him if he has a British passport – he says yes and then stays quiet. He will only show the British passport if they ask him whether it’s on him right now. Then he follows up by asking them if he was required to have it – so far, he claims the officers have always said the British passport is not required.

    He does similar awkward things in everyday life too, which is why I only call him an acquaintance and not a friend.

    Dudulle

    As other have said if you use the egates it shouldn’t be an issue to enter the UK. However me and a few colleagues (all under EU settlement scheme) had to prove we had right to remain before getting on a flight to the UK last year. It was asked both at check-in and at the gates. Apparently if you don’t have the right to remain you must have a return ticket? so I’d recommend having a copy of your UK passport, or the expired passport if you still have it.

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