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How to Travel with Two Passports

David Bonellie

David Bonellie

Last updated: March 20, 2023

How to Travel with Two Passports 

The citizenship by investment industry leaves investors wondering how best to use their new citizenship and passport. How do they practically exit and enter countries? What if I have visas in one of my passports instead of the other? Which passport number do I give airlines? My new passport has visa-free access to my home country. Which passport do I use on arrival?

At times there may be confusion for the investors. However, the experts at Global Residence Index can help in any scenario. Traveling with dual citizenship is ultimately a fantastic opportunity for investors to enjoy.   

Understanding Having Two Passports

The Benefits of Traveling with Dual Citizenship?

Traveling with two passports can offer several benefits, such as visa-free travel and easier access to countries with strained political relations. Two passports make it an appealing option for frequent travelers and those looking to expand their travel possibilities.

  • Visa-free travel: 
    • Some countries have different visa requirements for other nationalities, so holding two passports may allow you to enter a country without needing a visa or applying for one in advance.
  • Reduced political interference: 
    • Holding two passports can make traveling to countries with strained political relations with your home country easier. Obtaining visas for second citizenship is something to consider. Rejection of visas from certain nationalities is sometimes purely political and unrelated to the individual. 
  • Avoiding travel restrictions: 
    • If your country of origin imposes travel restrictions on its citizens, a second passport can help you avoid them and travel more freely. 

Investors who have used one of the citizenship by investment programs enjoy these benefits within a few months of starting the process. 

Possible Limitations for Traveling as a Dual Citizen  

Although having two passports can be advantageous, there are also some limitations. Understanding these limitations can help you make an informed decision about how to best travel with two passports. 

  • Cost and administration: 
    • Obtaining and renewing a second passport does have a cost associated with it. One of the services GRI offers is to remove this unnecessary burden from its clients through its after-sales service. The team can handle all document renewals, from passports, and ID cards, to driver’s licenses.
  • Immigration scrutiny: 
    • Traveling with two passports may attract more scrutiny from border officials and customs officers, resulting in longer wait times and more questioning. There are only a handful of examples of this occurring, but remember, your passport is a legitimate document to travel anywhere in the world.

Practical Examples: How to Travel with Two Passports

Next, look at a realistic examples of a dual citizen traveling with two passports. 

Example for a US citizen:

An existing US citizen is using Maltas Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN) to receive a European passport. After becoming a citizen, the investor wants to travel to Europe from the US. Their existing passport has visa-free travel to Europe. How does this person best use their dual citizenship? 

When booking their ticket online, it does not matter which passport you use. The airline only needs to check that you are who you say you are. They need to check that you have legal access to Europe. In this instance, either passport would suffice. When going through immigration on the US side, exit using the US passport. Then, when arriving in Europe, it is best to use the Maltese passport. There are separate EU immigration gates which improve the experience of moving through the airport without hindrance. When leaving Europe, it is best to exit immigration on your passport from Malta and arrive in the US showing your US passport. 

 

Example for a South African citizen:

A South African citizen invests in Antigua and Barbuda’s University of the West Indies (UWI) fund for himself and five family members to receive citizenship. The family then obtains a Golden Visa in Greece in their South African passport by investing in real estate. The dual citizens decide to travel to the UK. The family will return to South Africa for two weeks before traveling to Greece for the summer.

When leaving South Africa, you must show their Antiguan passport to the airline as this passport allows them visa-free access to the UK. As you go through immigration, you need to use their South African passport.  You must legally show your South African passport when going through immigration in South Africa. Even though Antigua is the only Caribbean investment passport with visa-free access to South Africa. The Commonwealth requires that dual citizens arrive in their home country on their home passports. Citizens may be fined if they do not abide by this legal requirement.

Top Routes to Traveling with Two Passports

  • Maltese citizenship:
    • Investors can become Maltese and European citizens after holding a twelve-month residence permit. The end-to-end process is realistically sixteen months.
  • Caribbean citizenship
    • Caribbean citizenship is $100,000 up to $150,000 for a single applicant, depending on the program. Investors can travel to the UK and Europe’s Schengen zone without a visa for all five Caribbean citizenship by investment programs. 
  • Turkish citizenship:
    • The best return on investment for citizenship by investment is arguably purchasing Turkish real estate starting at $400,000. The Turkish passport is among the strongest for business travelers in the Middle East and Asia. 
  • Vanuatu citizenship:
    • The financial benefits are something to add to traveling with two passports for Vanuatu. The tax haven is also the fastest citizenship by investment program, starting at $130,000. Investors are likely to receive their passports after thirty days after their application. 

Closing Thoughts on Traveling with Two Passports

The long and short question is to leave and arrive in your home country and use your home country passport. When arriving in countries where your passport has visa-free access, you must show this passport. If you have visa-free access on one passport but are a citizen or resident of another country, in the case of the EU, use your European passport or passport with your residence permit (Golden Visa). 

Global Residence Indexes’ strategic outlook will help you understand all scenarios for traveling as a dual citizen. By following some of the steps above, investors traveling with two passports can improve their global mobility experience. 

Book a free consultation with us to learn more.

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Navigating through golden visa & citizenship by investment programs can be complex and overwhelming, regardless of the country or program you’re interested in. If you’re struggling to find clear, accurate information, you’re not alone. Our team is here to offer you clarity and reliable advice across a wide range of immigration programs.

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