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Moving to Europe as a US-Austrian Dual Citizen

Travel Forums Europe Moving to Europe as a US-Austrian Dual Citizen

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11. Posted by lost again (Budding Member 66 posts) 7y

Thanks t_maia.

Good advice. Switzerland is first on my list. :)

12. Posted by bgl (Full Member 167 posts) 7y

Sorry, have to disagree. Yes, it is legal to have dual citizenship in many counties. But, as far as I know, it is NEVER a good idea to show two different passports to an Immigation official.

13. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

You are right, showing 2 passports to an immigration official should be avoided. But if it cannot be avoided it is no big deal in EU countries.

Immigration control checks do not just happen at the border in Schengen countries, they can also happen when you sit on the train or travel on the bus. This is highly likely to happen if you do not look European, if you are of Asian or African descent. Showing an Austrian passport and not being able to answer in German - you'll be suspected of faking the Austrian passport. This is the time to fish out the U.S. passport and explain about the double citizenship and living in USA all your life; instead of sweating it and thinking of ways to explain the situation without showing your US passport because you are afraid.

14. Posted by bgl (Full Member 167 posts) 7y

t_maia, thanks for the explanation, and I understand what you mean. However, in that type of scenario it might just be wise to simply pull out the U.S. passport from the very beginning. Would avoid any potential delay/questioning etc.

I believe it's safe to make the following statements:

Different countries have different rules for dual citizenship. Some don't allow it (even though I don't know how they can prevent it), and many (maybe most?) allow dual citizenship, but they don't like it. The U.S. seems to take the "ostrich approach" to this subject: bury the head in the sand and act as if it doesn't exist. I think it would be extremely difficult, or maybe even impossible, to call up a U.S. embassy, or consulate, or the State Department and get a clear, concise and brief definition of how the U.S. looks at dual citizenship. My understanding is that they will only prosecute someone who, as an adult, applied for and received a U.S. citizenship with the specific intention of causing harm to the USA. In all other cases, which of course would be the absolute overwhelming number of cases, they will simply look the other way. As in "we won't ask you, so please don't tell us."

As far as Immigration officials, they presumably have different levels of leeway in different countries how to deal with someome who may show them two passports. I can imagine an Immigration official in North Korea would have MUCH less leeway than his counterpart in Austria....! That being said, in most democracies they probably do have a fair amount of leeway, and these officials are like the rest of us: some are very strict, others are not so strict, with lots in between those two extremes. And everybody will have a bad day every now and then, and everybody will also have a good day every now and then. IF you happen to show two passports to an Immigration official who is both very strict AND is having a bad day, probably not a good thing! But, if he/she is less strict, and is having a good day, he/she may just wish you a nice day, and go about his/her business. Impossible to know in advance. Which is why it's good to be careful...

Post 15 was removed by a moderator
16. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

I would like to clarify something: The reason immigration officials dislike dual citizenship is because holders of dual citizenship were and are involved in some of the more interesting spy stories.

Say the US government wants to know more about Iran and its atomic power (or atomic weapon) program. They cannot send a US citizen, at least not openly. US citizens usually do not get a visa to Iran, if they get one they will be followed by security. So the CIA looks for somebody who holds both U.S. and another citizenship. That second citizenship will allow that person to enter Iran, either visa-free (Turkish or Iranian citizens) or with visa-on-arrival at an airport (some EU passports). They then send this person to Iran under the cover of being a tourist. Only that this tourist will be taking lots of very interesting pictures of a special kind.

So if for some reason you travel to Iran it is a very very bad idea to show both the Austrian and the U.S. passport to the Iranian officials.

17. Posted by Heinrich1 (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y

I am in the exact situation. Always lived here and son of Austrian Father and I do not speak German. What I do not understand is the following:

I show US Passport to Airline on way out to Europe

I show Austrian Passport to immigration in Austria or Europe Country
(This is by the way when they stamp your passport)

I show US Passport to Airline on my way back to USA BUT I show immigration my Austrian passport?

Then when I get back home to USA I show my US Passport to USA immigration

(THIS IS where I get a bit scared- US immigration asks where I have been and will look for a stamp from that country in my passport)


18. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

Then when I get back home to USA I show my US Passport to USA immigration

(THIS IS where I get a bit scared- US immigration asks where I have been and will look for a stamp from that country in my passport)

Show them your Austrian passport on top of your US passport. US officials are not concerned about double citizenship.

19. Posted by Dutch-Dimi (Budding Member 15 posts) 7y

I'm not quite sure if were talking about moving --> living in the EU here, or just a long travel/vacation.

In the first case I would say Use your European passport when in Europe, so from the moment you are exiting your plane.

Because you are a legal European inhabitant since you have an EU passport there is no need for Visa's etc.
And of coarse Officials are always more friendly to people showing them the passport of the country your in. (welcome home!)

I don't think there will be problems with showing an Austrian passport and not speaking German. There can be many reasons you haven't lived there for a long time, and is of no concern to most. An being honest and saying you lived in the US for your whole life should be sufficient. No need to make things confusing by putting an additional pass on the table.

If your just going to visit Europe a US pass would also be oke, since you'll be allowed for recreational reasons without many problems.

However to a lot of Europeans you will then be one of those Americans trying to see Europe in 10 days

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