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messageTravelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by Whisper 21 June, 2018 11:50

I want to travel to the States later this summer to visit family. I only have a US passport. My daughter only has a British passport. My husband (her father), has a British passport, but he can't join us unfortunately (other committments, bad timing, long story...). I will be taking a notarized letter to state that he's happy for her to travel to the US with me.

So my question is what happens at US Immigration? Presumably we won't queue together? But who will chaparone her through immigration, as I'm the only adult on this trip? (She's primary school age and cound not navigate the immigration queue alone.)

Any experience??? X

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by bli 21 June, 2018 14:58

Not sure re States but coming back I would stay together in the other passport queue.
I have been told several times when I've done this in similar circumstances at U.K. Arrivals that I could queue in the British passport queue with my British children (though I was travelling on NZ passport) but occasionally when doing this we were then sent to the back of the other passport queue! Depends who you get I think, so I used to decide depending on level of tiredness and length of queues! So possibly play it safe by being in the right queue for you but definitely queue together.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2018:06:21:14:59:25 by bli.

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by Digbina 21 June, 2018 17:21

The exact same thing has happened to me. Sometimes we (British spouse and children) get to go through the EU queue, sometimes we get sent to the non-EU queue.

Perhaps the US embassy could advise?

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by coreilly 26 June, 2018 07:58

You queue together. My husband travels to the States on his US passport and mine is EU. Before our daughter was born we used to queue separately, and he could be waiting an extra hour for me! A couple of years ago the immigration guard told us we could queue together, which we have done since, no problems at all. We usually go in the US queue, even though only one of the three of us has a US passport.

Best of luck travelling alone with the little one!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit was 2018:06:26:07:59:42 by coreilly.

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by etta166 26 June, 2018 16:19

Queue together in the US citizen's queue. I alsways did this when travelling with my partner (I had a green card) and was actually told that it is better to stay together if you are travelling together the one time we split up for immigration.

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by apenn 27 June, 2018 20:34

As others have said, queue in the US line together. To be safe, take either the original or notarised copy of her birth certifcate with you. This will prove you are the mother if there are any question/problems.

The main reason Iím replying though is to warm you that by travelling to the US on another passort you could be jeaopardising her right to a US passort and citizenship.

All US citizens are supposed to use their US passport when travelling theough a US port of entry. Entering as another nationality can be seen as forfeiting US citizenship. I was clearly advised of this risk at the US embassy once when I needed to get an emergency passport for my daughter as her US one had expired and I asked whether she could just travel on her UKpassport.

Did you register her birth at the US embassy? If not you should do this urgently and get a US passport for her that you should always use when entering the US.
-A

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by alex_b 28 June, 2018 15:50

I've (dual national US citizen) had mixed success going through the US citizen queue with my non-US citizen wife. I think it depends on the airport and the mood of the people directing the lines. San Francisco always seems fine, Los Angeles and JFK less so. We've always stayed together though and usually when we get to through the non citizen queue the officer tells us we should have gone through the citizen queue!

Coming home the UK as kids we always went through the British queue with my American mum, but that was a long time ago.

apenn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The main reason Iím replying though is to warm you
> that by travelling to the US on another passort
> you could be jeaopardising her right to a US
> passort and citizenship.

Everything else you've said is good advice, but this specific part is not true as far as I am aware. There is a lot of myths about US citizenship even from well meaning embassy officials. Following a Supreme Court decision in 1980 and a subsequent 1986 change to the law there needs to be a clear intention of relinquishing United States nationality. It's obvious that a minor who is unaware of her US citizenship entering the US on a British passport does not meet the clear intent standard.

That said your daughter (and/or you) might be breaking the law entering on a non US passport if she is American so it probably isn't worth the risk if you think she might be American.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2018:06:28:15:57:01 by alex_b.

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by Whisper 28 June, 2018 20:19

Thanks all. I am aware that US passport holders cannot enter the States on a non-US passport.

We've never made a consular report of birth abroad, so my daughter only has a British passport because she only has a Britsh birth certificate. My understanding is that she can enter the US on her British passport, as a British citizen, but she simply requies an ESTA?

I have never read that being in posession of a foreign passport as a foreign citizen would prevent me from filing her CRBA, which can be done up until she is 18?! (This is what I have read on consular and other advisory pages. If anyone has a link to further info, that would be useful.) In any event, there's no possible way we could file all the US paperwork for her citizenship in our timeframe of travel! I only have a brief window availble each year due to work committments. It would mean putting off travel until next summer.

Are you saying that US law forces her to be a citizen because I am a citizen? That doesn't seem right. She has only a British birth certificate. Surely she has all the rights of a British citizen when travelling to the US??? TBH, I don't know if we will ever file a CRBA. It's more likley that I will apply for British citizenship, as I'm settled here with few ties to the US.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2018:06:28:20:20:16 by Whisper.

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by Coach Beth 28 June, 2018 23:00

You are correct Whisper. She is not a US citizen untill you register her as a US citizen. I had to first register my son as a US citizen at the embassy (also my British partner had to come along to for some bizzare reason) and then get his passport. I did wonder if this was wise as it means a lifetime of him having to do a US tax return from age 18(although like me, he will probably never have to pay a dime but going through that ridiculous exercise every year is annoying) but I decided that it would be good for him to have the option to live and work there if he chooses (i.e. he might be in a career where working in the US is advantegeous) ... however it is unlikely the way things are going and when he is old enough the US might truely be Gilead!

Anyway, it's a little known fact that most countries require you to use their passport on entry - I'm a triple citizen (US/Canadian/British) and I was mildly told off when I went into Canada on my British passport when I realised my Canadian was expired. I assume the same would happen on entry to the UK - but it makes more sense to enter the country with the passport of that country as it's easier!

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by apenn 28 June, 2018 23:57

[travel.state.gov]

No, there is no law forcing her to be a US citizen. And since she is not currently a US citizen maybe its not a problem to enter on her British passport. I can only tell you what the consular officer told me, which applied to my daughter who has both citizenships. The link above confirms only that US citizens must travel to the US on a US passport.

Interestingly, it also mentions that it is more difficult to apppy for citizenship after the age of 18. You may not have plans to relicate to the States, but personally I think itís always better to keep as many options open as you can! Anyway, the link provides all the facts so you can make an informed choice.

At any rate, have a great trip and wish you short immigration queues!

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by alex_b 29 June, 2018 06:53

Apenn the link you provide states the exact opposite of what you claim ďPersons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. national parents may be both a U.S. national and a national of the country of birth. Or, an individual having one nationality at birth may naturalize at a later date in another country and become a dual national. Ē


Coach Beth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You are correct Whisper. She is not a US citizen
> untill you register her as a US citizen. I had to
> first register my son as a US citizen at the
> embassy (also my British partner had to come along
> to for some bizzare reason) and then get his
> passport.

This is simply not true. If born to a qualifying US citizen parent(s) then US citizenship is acquired at birth and a CRBA simply documents that citizenship claim. See the US government guide [www.uscis.gov]. If the US citizen parent doesnít qualify or the child is adopted then they have to naturalise and that doesnít occur until an application is made and accepted.

Now for practical purposes if she never claims citizenship and since she wasnít born in the US it is unlikely that the US government would ever notice or care.

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by apenn 01 July, 2018 01:37

Had a look at the link and see what you are saying. In which case, the daughter is a US citizen (although not registered as such) and must travel to the States on a US passport.

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by ontheedge 01 July, 2018 07:35

Iíve been told if you travel via Ireland you can clear customs there, not sure how true that is but might be worth checking out

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by alex_b 01 July, 2018 09:34

ontheedge Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Iíve been told if you travel via Ireland you can
> clear customs there, not sure how true that is but
> might be worth checking out

You still clear US immigration and so the usual rules apply. Itís just like when you clear Uk immigration in Calais for the ferry.

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by Saffron 01 July, 2018 14:39

> If born to a qualifying
> US citizen parent(s) then US citizenship is
> acquired at birth and a CRBA simply documents that
> citizenship claim.

Well.... you could hash out the finer interpretations with immigration attorneys until the cows come home (or until your wallet is empty!), but US border services seem to have made it abundantly clear that undocumented persons are not US citizens. The burden of proof is on the individual(s) to show that they are US citizens, not the other way around.

My understanding of citizenship "acquired" at birth, is that such individuals have the right to be recognised as citizens "automatically" in so far as they do not require "naturalization". If they never access this process, then they are never documented. And the burden of proof remains on the individual to show documentation.

With no US documentation, but a valid British birth certificate and passport, on what grounds would the US fail to grant an ESTA? Or reject a future CRBA, should the individual (or their legal guardians) wish to exercise their right to US citizenship in the future?

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by alex_b 01 July, 2018 16:58

Saffron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well.... you could hash out the finer
> interpretations with immigration attorneys until
> the cows come home (or until your wallet is
> empty!),

It's not a finer point. See Immigration and Nationality Act Sec. 301. [8 U.S.C. 1401] "The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth" Sections g and h cover Americans born abroad. (https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-9696.html)

> but US border services seem to have made
> it abundantly clear that undocumented persons are
> not US citizens. The burden of proof is on the
> individual(s) to show that they are US citizens,
> not the other way around.

Not if said CBP agents are accusing you of a crime, namely entering the US on incorrect documentation.

> My understanding of citizenship "acquired" at
> birth, is that such individuals have the right to
> be recognised as citizens "automatically" in so
> far as they do not require "naturalization". If
> they never access this process, then they are
> never documented. And the burden of proof remains
> on the individual to show documentation.

This is simply not the case. Look at the issues Boris Johnson had around US taxes a few years back. Similarly I have friends who have been stopped and questioned at the US border for travelling on UK not US passports even though they hadn't asserted their US citizenship. Moving away from the US, look at the Australian MPs who were removed from office because they were dual nationals and hadn't realised it.

> With no US documentation, but a valid British
> birth certificate and passport, on what grounds
> would the US fail to grant an ESTA?

One of the ESTA questions states: "Are you now, a citizen or national of any other country?" stating no when you have US citizenship is probably perjury (I would guess, I'm not a lawyer). Even if you lied and they granted an ESTA (which they probably would), the act of travelling to the US on a non-US passport would be illegal.

> Or reject a future CRBA, should the individual (or their legal guardians) wish to exercise their right to US
> citizenship in the future?

As I said it wouldn't, however technically a US citizen entering the US without a US passport is committing a crime. Now I suspect the likelihood of getting caught (let alone punished) is pretty remote, but personally I wouldn't do it.

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by Saffron 01 July, 2018 18:50

I am familiar with S.301. I disagree that it's not down to interpretation. In regards to execution of the law, the US State Dept has noted the following in its policy manual: "The fact of having been born abroad to U.S. citizens who have met the residency requirements means that the person is entitled to but is NOT required to accept U.S. citizenship."

It's pointless to cite cases of non US/UK policy, as that's not what's in question here.

Likewise being "stopped and questioned at the US border" is equally meaningleas, without providing additional individual background to these cases.

The Isaac Brock Society has quite a lot of information on this and similar issues:
[isaacbrocksociety.ca]

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by alex_b 01 July, 2018 20:04

Can you point me to that quote in the policy manual? Itís certainly not in the UCIS manual I linked to above or the relevant bits of travel.state.gov. .

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by apenn 02 July, 2018 08:49

I think the overarching theme here is the safest thing to do in any case, is if you are a US citizen, with or without a CRBA, you should only travel to the US on a US passport. This is consistent with what everyone is saying and what Iíve been directly advised by consular officials at the embassy.

Whisper will have to weigh the risk of not doing this for herself. Given that she has a US passport and will be travelling with her daughter who will be on a British passport, this could very well give her problems at immigration. Given the current climate in the US, I personally think this is a very real risk.

messageRe: Travelling abroad - mixed nationalities - help?
Posted by QooVie March 17, 02:52PM

The passport plays a less significant role when a minor is implied. The most important in your situation to have both of you the passports in order, I mean not expired and with no VISA needed. Most probably, your daughter will go in the same queue with you. I remember when we have travelled to Africa e had a really tough situation. My husband has a Polish passport only and I am citizen of Ukraine. Our daughter was born in USA. We thought that we three will pass through different queues. However in the African safari travel agency they explained us that we will go as a family in one queue. It is the rule of the airport that families will go in one queue with no matter what passports the members have. You can speak with an immigration adviser and see what he will advise you.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 18, 07:35am by QooVie.


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