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How do you travel as a dual citizen?

My wife is coming up on her US citizenship and I was wondering how most dual citizens traveled as far as passports.  She will be retaining her Vietnamese citizenship and passport which is now, if not 100% legal, at least tolerated by the US. Part of her reason is to be able to buy property in Vietnam which is something I am not keen on, but that's another story.

If she travels to Vietnam she will carry her US passport but presumably will not have to obtain a VN visa as she can show her Vietnamese passport on entry.  The reverse should be true on return when she can show a US passport.  Either way there would be no visas but there will be entry and exit stamps. 

Am I correct in my assumptions?  Can any dual citizens fill me in if there is more we need to know?

My wife has the same status THIGV. Still has a valid US PP and last year reclaimed her VN citizenship. Has a VN ID card and VN PP. Although we haven't left VN in over 10 years she did inquire with  Hau Giang Immigration when she was issued the documents the procedures if we were to travel outside VN. It's the same as you stated. Matter of fact Doc friend of ours here in Can tho has the same status as my wife went to the USA last month for a medical conference and went through the same procedure as Immigration told us and as you said. Piece of cake guy no sweat.
Rick

So just show both passports and let the immigration people sort it out?

Keep the USA PP in her pocket and just show her VN ID card and VN PP at TSN Immigration, show the US PP if they ask, but only if they ask and really there is no reason for them to ask. 

Rick

Even though I don't have two passports, I've known many people who do (spouse is one of them).  Based on my observations and what they shared with me, this is what I think your wife should do:

When checking in at any US airport to leave for VN, she should show the ticket agent her Vietnamese passport.  That way, they will not ask to see her visa to enter VN.  When she has to show her ID and boarding pass at the security point just before TSA, however, she should show her US passport, that way, everyone will be assured that she has legal rights to be on US soil. 

When she arrives in Tan Son Nhat or Noi Ban, she should show only her Vietnamese passport and Vietnamese ID.  Immigration doesn't need to know about the US one.  They might ask questions, but I seriously doubt that.  If she doesn't act like an Overseas Vietnamese, they wouldn't look at her twice. 

When she leaves Vietnam to return to the States, she should do the reverse: showing US passport to the airline and Vietnamese passport to immigration.  Same reason as above.

Upon reentering the States, she will again be an American citizen, so she should show her US passport to US immigration. 

If (a very gigantic IF) US immigration asked where she has been, she should truthfully tell them she's returning from a trip to VN.  They will not ask to see any proof because visa to VN doesn't have to be affixed to US passport, but if they do, she should simply "dual citizenship".  There will not be any entry or exit stamp from the US end.  I've left the States and returned to it close to 100 times, and never once I received a stamp (this is my 5th US passport.)

If it sounds complicated, all she has to remember to do is:

1/ always entering and exiting on the same passport

2/ always show airline personnel whichever passport that would help to eliminate the visa question.

Never, ever, show immigration in any country both passports (unless being asked) because it'll only create unnecessary confusion.

Ciambella :

Even though I don't have two passports, I've known many people who do (spouse is one of them).  Based on my observations and what they shared with me, this is what I think your wife should do:

When checking in at any US airport to leave for VN, she should show the ticket agent her Vietnamese passport.  That way, they will not ask to see her visa to enter VN.  When she has to show her ID and boarding pass at the security point just before TSA, however, she should show her US passport, that way, everyone will be assured that she has legal rights to be on US soil. 

When she arrives in Tan Son Nhat or Noi Ban, she should show only her Vietnamese passport and Vietnamese ID.  Immigration doesn't need to know about the US one.  They might ask questions, but I seriously doubt that.  If she doesn't act like an Overseas Vietnamese, they wouldn't look at her twice. 

When she leaves Vietnam to return to the States, she should do the reverse: showing US passport to the airline and Vietnamese passport to immigration.  Same reason as above.

Upon reentering the States, she will again be an American citizen, so she should show her US passport to US immigration. 

If (a very gigantic IF) US immigration asked where she has been, she should truthfully tell them she's returning from a trip to VN.  They will not ask to see any proof because visa to VN doesn't have to be affixed to US passport.  There will not be any entry or exit stamp from the US end.  I've left the States and returned to it close to 100 times, and never once I received a stamp (this is my 5th US passport.)

If it sounds complicated, all she has to remember to do is:

1/ always entering and exiting on the same passport

2/ always show airline personnel whichever passport that would help to eliminate the visa question.

Never, ever, show immigration in any country both passports (unless being asked) because it'll only create unnecessary confusion.

Think I said the same thing in less than two line.

Yes, you did very succinctly, Budman.  But since THIGV's wife is a brand new American citizen with a brand new passport, I thought a step-by-step explanation would help to ease her and her husband's concern.

Ciambella :

Never, ever, show immigration in any country both passports (unless being asked) because it'll only create unnecessary confusion.

So my new understanding is show only what would be the appropriate passport depending on where you are, but have the other one ready in case asked.

Thanks to you both.  If seems a little complex still but certainly doable as several people must be doing it daily.

It's may sound complex, but it's really simple.  It's the same as having two currencies in your wallet -- say, pound and Euro -- while taking a train from London to Paris.  You use the pound to pay for your ticket at St. Pancras, then two hours later, use the Euro to pay for a cup of coffee at Gare du Nord.  You may pull out the wrong currency the first time, but not anytime after that.  Not if you truly need that cup of coffee right then and there.

Reading this thread brought a question of my own to mind. Being married to a Vietnamese lady, I now have a temporary Vietnam residence card and an ID card. Does that mean I can use the Vietnam residents channel at immigration or do I still have to queue for 40 minutes or more in the foreigners channel?

In my experience, if you need a stamp in your foreign passport, then you would have to stand in the line for foreigners.  My Italian residence card and American passport did not allow me to be in the EU line anytime I left or entered Italy, which was between 12 and 15 times/year for 7 years.

Then again, Vietnamese logic may indicate differently, who can tell for certain?

This might be slightly off topic, seeing as the original question involved Viet/foreign passports, but I and my daughter hold Australian and Dutch passports -- the Australian ones have two-year, renewable residence permits in VN because of my wife's work here. When we fly to Europe (EU), we check in at the VN airport with our Australian passports and residence permits, and ditto through immigration at the VN end. When we arrive in Europe, we show our Dutch passports and get waved through. When we leave Europe, we check in at the airport desk with our Australian passports and VN residence permits to ease proceedings, go through Europe immigration with our Dutch passports, then arrive in VN with our Australian passports.

So far that has all worked smoothly, except for Euro immigration on arrival this year asking for a certified declaration from my wife that she allowed me to travel alone with my daughter... Last year I had one of those and no-one asked me for it. This year they asked me and I didn't have one, but was able to convince them.

I would avoid trying to explain dual nationalities if possible to immigration officials (or at check-in). It might raise unnecessary alarm bells.

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