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Passports: What are the rules for dual-nationals travelling in Denmark?

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The Local ([email protected])
Passports: What are the rules for dual-nationals travelling in Denmark?
If you're a dual passport holder, there may be things you can do to smoothen travel in and out of the EU. Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports - so what are the rules for crossing borders and which passport should you show?

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For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled - but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long 'non EU' queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But when travelling there can be issues - put simply; which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Dual nationality

People often assume - not unreasonably - that dual passports are somehow 'linked', so that for example when you scan your UK passport, the system realises that you are also a citizen of Denmark.

This is, however, not the case, and how you are dealt at the border depends on which passport you are showing, not any other passports that you might own.

That means that the issue of which passport you show at the border is important.

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In short - if you're showing a Danish passport you will be treated as Danish, not Danish-British, and so on.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it's worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you'll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip - and you may be able to avoid visa requirements as well as benefiting from shorter queues at the border.

For example, if you're entering Denmark on a British passport, your passport will be stamped and you will be limited to 90 days in every 180 (unless you have a visa). If you enter Denmark on a Danish passport, then there are no restrictions. 

Likewise if you're entering the UK on a Danish passport you may be stopped and required to show proof of where you are staying and asked whether you intend to work - entering on a British passport will avoid this.

A spokesman for the UK's Home Office said: "An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present."

The US has slightly different rules and American citizens - including dual nationals - are required to use their US passport when entering and leaving the country.

This also entitles you to a shorter queue and fewer immigration restrictions when you enter the country.

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Do I have to carry both passports?

There's no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won't get the benefits associated with each passport if you're not able to show it. Again, don't assume that the two passports are 'linked' or that the official will know that you are a dual national.

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

In general, it's best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving - and they will either stamp or scan the passport - this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn't overstayed their time in the country. 

So for example if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter the EU or Schengen zone, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.

If you enter the EU on a non-EU passport, your passport is likely to be stamped under the 90-day rule. If you are a citizen of an EU country you are not, in fact, limited to 90 days and can prove your right to stay by showing your EU passport.

You may, however, face questions when you leave the country if your passport has a 90-day stamp in it. 

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