Singapore Expats Forum

Dual citizens and travel

Discuss about the latest news & interesting topics, real life experience or other out of topic discussions with locals & expatriates in Singapore.

belladonna
Member
Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon, 15 Mar 2010
Location: Singapore

Dual citizens and travel

Postby belladonna » Wed, 24 Mar 2010 3:51 pm

Hi all,

I am a dual citizen of the UK and Philippines, currently working in Singapore. I am planning to visit the US to visit some friends in a couple of months, and was wondering whether I would be eligible to use my British passport and the Visa Waiver program.

Does anyone on the board have any experience / thoughts on this? I have only ever used my British passport in England and the EU, and in the past I have travelled in the US on a tourist visa issued on my Philippine passport. That visa has since expired, and I am now unsure of what to do... :/

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10840
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 24 Mar 2010 4:04 pm

Which passport has your EP stamp in it? Which passport do you normally travel with in and out of Singapore?

I normally travel in and out of Singapore on my US passport. I tried using my UK passport to get into Malaysia and they wouldn't take it because it had no residency stamp.

The US might be the same way. For an EP, it can only be applied to one passport (at least that's the way it was). For PR, you can have multiple passports stamped.
Last edited by Strong Eagle on Wed, 24 Mar 2010 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

manutdfan
Regular
Regular
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu, 17 Dec 2009

Re: Dual citizens and travel

Postby manutdfan » Wed, 24 Mar 2010 4:11 pm

belladonna wrote:Hi all,

I am a dual citizen of the UK and Philippines, currently working in Singapore. I am planning to visit the US to visit some friends in a couple of months, and was wondering whether I would be eligible to use my British passport and the Visa Waiver program.

Does anyone on the board have any experience / thoughts on this? I have only ever used my British passport in England and the EU, and in the past I have travelled in the US on a tourist visa issued on my Philippine passport. That visa has since expired, and I am now unsure of what to do... :/


As a British national, you are eligible for the Visa Waiver program.

I don't recall the form requiring you to declare any entry into the US under a different nationality - but it might on a different name.

This assumes you have no immigration irregularities (specifically you didn't over stay on your tourist visa).

One caveat: some very old UK passports are not machine readable - if yours falls into that category, you will need a visa - most passports issued in the last ten years should be okay - check the page with your photo on - if it has lots of these

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

you'll be fine.

God save the Queen!

(PS - don't forget to register to vote as an overseas voter!)

T.

belladonna
Member
Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon, 15 Mar 2010
Location: Singapore

Postby belladonna » Wed, 24 Mar 2010 4:13 pm

My Philippine passport is the one I use in Singapore / stamped with my EP.

belladonna
Member
Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon, 15 Mar 2010
Location: Singapore

Re: Dual citizens and travel

Postby belladonna » Wed, 24 Mar 2010 4:16 pm

manutdfan wrote:
belladonna wrote:Hi all,

I am a dual citizen of the UK and Philippines, currently working in Singapore. I am planning to visit the US to visit some friends in a couple of months, and was wondering whether I would be eligible to use my British passport and the Visa Waiver program.

Does anyone on the board have any experience / thoughts on this? I have only ever used my British passport in England and the EU, and in the past I have travelled in the US on a tourist visa issued on my Philippine passport. That visa has since expired, and I am now unsure of what to do... :/


As a British national, you are eligible for the Visa Waiver program.

I don't recall the form requiring you to declare any entry into the US under a different nationality - but it might on a different name.

This assumes you have no immigration irregularities (specifically you didn't over stay on your tourist visa).

One caveat: some very old UK passports are not machine readable - if yours falls into that category, you will need a visa - most passports issued in the last ten years should be okay - check the page with your photo on - if it has lots of these

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

you'll be fine.

God save the Queen!

(PS - don't forget to register to vote as an overseas voter!)

T.


I just had my British passport renewed this year, so it's one of the new biometric machine readable ones, and has no stamps. (My old one had no stamps on it either though, since I only used it to travel in Blighty and the EU). I'm just worried about complications in the US, since I've entered on a different passport before (though never had immigration problems) and I work in Singapore using my Philippine passport. Are most immigration officials familiar with dealing with dual citizens?

manutdfan
Regular
Regular
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu, 17 Dec 2009

Postby manutdfan » Wed, 24 Mar 2010 4:16 pm

belladonna wrote:My Philippine passport is the one I use in Singapore / stamped with my EP.


Thats irrelevant - you're a British national, you're entitled to use the VWP.

Having a second nationality is neither nor there.

Thomas

belladonna
Member
Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon, 15 Mar 2010
Location: Singapore

Postby belladonna » Wed, 24 Mar 2010 4:22 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:Which passport has your EP stamp in it? Which passport do you normally travel with in and out of Singapore?

I normally travel in and out of Singapore on my US passport. I tried using my UK passport to get into Malaysia and they wouldn't take it because it had no residency stamp.

The US might be the same way. For an EP, it can only be applied to one passport (at least that's the way it was). For PR, you can have multiple passports stamped.


That is my worry too, that the US may not take my British passport on visa waiver because it doesn't have the residency stamp (or any stamps for that matter haha). Is it worth inquiring at the US embassy about this, or is that basically shooting myself in the foot? Should I just apply for a US visa on my Philippine passport?

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10840
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 24 Mar 2010 4:25 pm

manutdfan wrote:
belladonna wrote:My Philippine passport is the one I use in Singapore / stamped with my EP.


Thats irrelevant - you're a British national, you're entitled to use the VWP.

Having a second nationality is neither nor there.

Thomas


I agree... and the issue may be that you would be entering the US on a UK passport which gives no indication that you left or can return to Singapore.

Call the US embassy for the low down. It's not the passport that is the issue, I don't think, it's demonstrating that it gets you back to Singapore.

manutdfan
Regular
Regular
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu, 17 Dec 2009

Postby manutdfan » Wed, 24 Mar 2010 4:32 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:
I agree... and the issue may be that you would be entering the US on a UK passport which gives no indication that you left or can return to Singapore.

Call the US embassy for the low down. It's not the passport that is the issue, I don't think, it's demonstrating that it gets you back to Singapore.


With a British passport, you can re enter Singapore without any work permit or anything (and if the passport is issued in Singapore, that would explain the lack of work entry) - provided you can leave - the US won't mind.

Might be worth bringing the Philippines Passport to show you do have permission to return to Singapore, but use the British passport to enter the US and you won't need the visa.

All you need to do is to be able to be vaguely convincing you'll leave the US - as a British national, it's assumed you're less likely to remain illegally than say, a Mexican or Indian national, hence why there's a Visa Waiver program in the first place.

Ringing the US embassy might clarify this - in the unlikely fact they could cross reference you to the phonecall, the fact you're trying to go about things correctly should be in your favour.

Finally, don't forget you need to fill out that internet form for the US government before flying.

belladonna
Member
Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon, 15 Mar 2010
Location: Singapore

Postby belladonna » Wed, 24 Mar 2010 5:30 pm

Thank you both for the input. I tried calling the US Embassy this morning but everything is automated and recorded. They said to email if one has more detailed inquiries... so I guess I'll do that and see what they recommend.

belladonna
Member
Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon, 15 Mar 2010
Location: Singapore

Postby belladonna » Thu, 25 Mar 2010 11:26 am

So I emailed the US embassy... waiting to see if they will reply, but this morning I discovered a new problem.

I last entered the US in 2004 on a tourist visa and I only just realized that my I-94 (departure record) is STILL ATTACHED TO MY PASSPORT! :(
Oh woe. It's been such a long time since then... I wonder if I can still rectify this.

User avatar
carteki
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1237
Joined: Mon, 28 Apr 2008
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby carteki » Thu, 25 Mar 2010 12:03 pm

I regularly enter the US on a passport that I didn't exit the previous country on (and there is no issue with the outstanding I-94). If the immigration officials start asking you questions about "no exit stamp" you can note the following:
1) SG doesn't stamp the passport of residents on exit and entry
2) SG no longer stamps your passport with evidence of your EP - which is annoying as I now have to show the Malaysian officials my EP card separately.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Thu, 25 Mar 2010 12:58 pm

carteki wrote:I regularly enter the US on a passport that I didn't exit the previous country on (and there is no issue with the outstanding I-94). If the immigration officials start asking you questions about "no exit stamp" you can note the following:
1) SG doesn't stamp the passport of residents on exit and entry
2) SG no longer stamps your passport with evidence of your EP - which is annoying as I now have to show the Malaysian officials my EP card separately.


I beg to differ re: the I-94!

I used to travel to the States several times a year for, well, over a decade. Finally around 2007 every time I went (by then about 5 times a year) I was carted on to 'Secondary Inspection' upon arrival, not a pleasant experience at all.

After a lot of sweat/work, I discovered that the reason I was being sent to 2ndary was because I had five missing I-94 cards from the '97-'00 period. It must be a heck of a big problem, as I was completely unaware of this. And so their system (called IBIS) presumed I was a former over-stayer. This system only came in around... don't know say 2003-5 and is much more rigorous than what went before.

Ironically I keep all my boarding cards. I try and read a book for every one, and use them as bookmarks. So I could prove quite simply to US Immigration that I had never overstayed.

You should send in that I-94 (for heavens sake keep a photocopy of it first!). The guy to deal with is:-
Jose Leon Guerrero,
United States Customs and Border Protection,
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Rm 5.4D
Washington DC, 20229

He is the ONE guy who deals with amending arr/dep records. If you need further guidance call their office on 202-344-1220. (This info was accurate at mid '07, so might be worth a quick call just to check the details anyway.)

p.s. After many months, many visits, several reassuring 'template' letters, and still being dragged off to 2ndary, I decided just to cut the issue short and get a visa (although the guy above did finally fix my record). That in itself was a pretty hideously intrusive and expensive process. And then the first time I visited the US with my new shiny visa, the immigration guy looked at me and said 'Why did you apply for a visa?' <SIGH>

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Thu, 25 Mar 2010 1:05 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:Which passport has your EP stamp in it? Which passport do you normally travel with in and out of Singapore?

I normally travel in and out of Singapore on my US passport. I tried using my UK passport to get into Malaysia and they wouldn't take it because it had no residency stamp.


You've completely lost me here Eagle. I have no residency stamp, EP or anything else in my passport, as I'm here on an LTVP. I have no SG entry/exit stamps, nothing. I've never had a problem entering Malaysia or anywhere else.

belladonna
Member
Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon, 15 Mar 2010
Location: Singapore

Postby belladonna » Thu, 25 Mar 2010 1:35 pm

JR8 wrote:
carteki wrote:I regularly enter the US on a passport that I didn't exit the previous country on (and there is no issue with the outstanding I-94). If the immigration officials start asking you questions about "no exit stamp" you can note the following:
1) SG doesn't stamp the passport of residents on exit and entry
2) SG no longer stamps your passport with evidence of your EP - which is annoying as I now have to show the Malaysian officials my EP card separately.


I beg to differ re: the I-94!

I used to travel to the States several times a year for, well, over a decade. Finally around 2007 every time I went (by then about 5 times a year) I was carted on to 'Secondary Inspection' upon arrival, not a pleasant experience at all.

After a lot of sweat/work, I discovered that the reason I was being sent to 2ndary was because I had five missing I-94 cards from the '97-'00 period. It must be a heck of a big problem, as I was completely unaware of this. And so their system (called IBIS) presumed I was a former over-stayer. This system only came in around... don't know say 2003-5 and is much more rigorous than what went before.

Ironically I keep all my boarding cards. I try and read a book for every one, and use them as bookmarks. So I could prove quite simply to US Immigration that I had never overstayed.

You should send in that I-94 (for heavens sake keep a photocopy of it first!). The guy to deal with is:-
Jose Leon Guerrero,
United States Customs and Border Protection,
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Rm 5.4D
Washington DC, 20229

He is the ONE guy who deals with amending arr/dep records. If you need further guidance call their office on 202-344-1220. (This info was accurate at mid '07, so might be worth a quick call just to check the details anyway.)

p.s. After many months, many visits, several reassuring 'template' letters, and still being dragged off to 2ndary, I decided just to cut the issue short and get a visa (although the guy above did finally fix my record). That in itself was a pretty hideously intrusive and expensive process. And then the first time I visited the US with my new shiny visa, the immigration guy looked at me and said 'Why did you apply for a visa?' <SIGH>


Thanks for the info... I will try to call the number above, though on the US embassy website they cite a different Dept. of Homeland Security address for submission of old I-94's:

"You must mail legible copies or original materials where possible. If you send original materials, you should retain a copy. The DHS cannot return original materials after processing. To help us understand the situation and correct your records quickly please Include an explanation letter in English. You must send your letter and enclosed information only to the following address:

ACS - DHS SBU
P.O. Box 7125
London, KY 40742-7125
USA

Do not mail your departure Form I-94 or supporting information to any United States Consulate or Embassy, to any other DHS office in the United States, or to any address other than the one above. Only at this location are we able to make the necessary corrections to DHS records to prevent inconvenience to you in the future."

I am definitely going to make a copy of my I-94 and send relevant documents. Although since it was so long ago, I am not sure that I will have records from 2004 to show that I left the US, and I no longer have my boarding passes. Even if I did, they would have probably faded by now. Do you think my university transcript of records (to show that I graduated in 2005) and employment evidence since then (2005 onwards) will suffice?

It looks more and more like I should just apply for a visa on my Philippine passport. :/


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “General Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest