Join 3,521 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


How does my British passport work?
May 1, 2011 12:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm a dual British/New Zealand citizen, but I've never been to Britain/Europe. What can I do with my British Passport?

So, I'm a New Zealander (living in the US on a green card, if it's relevant) who got a British passport through my Dad. I've never used it - it's just been sitting in a drawer. I renewed it recently and started wondering what it's actually good for. I know I can live in Britain - can I also live in Europe? Where? Do I have to go through other qualifications to be treated like a "real" citizen (tax residency etc)? And if I do go to Britain/Europe, should I use it so I can get into the fast line at customs? If I travel to Europe on my British passport, and then return to the US, which one to I use to reenter (ie do I show my New Zealand passport, which I'm assuming is "attached" somehow to my green card - I haven't left the US since I got it)? Tips appreciated!
posted by media_itoku to Law & Government (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
You should use your NZ passport to cross the US border, and your UK passport to cross the UK border.

If you have right of abode in the UK, you can live and work in other EU countries. Doing this might cause you to loose your Green Card, see a US immigration lawyer first.
posted by monotreme at 1:17 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have Aus/British passports and live in the US on a working visa.

You have the right to live and work anywhere in the EU. You may not be eligible for welfare/subsidized education/etc without meeting some residency requirements, depending on the country. If you live outside the US for more than x period of time, you lose your greencard (as monotreme says).

If you go to Europe, you should use your British passport to board the plane and at customs when you enter Europe, and for anything necessary while there. On your return flight, use your NZ passport to board the plane and enter the US. I don't know if the greencard is 'attached', but my attitude is that each country only needs to know of one passport - makes life easier.
posted by jacalata at 1:20 PM on May 1, 2011


I know I can live in Britain - can I also live in Europe? Where?
You can live anywhere in the European Union, plus a couple of other places. Via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_in_the_European_Union - 'Nationals of European Union member states, and of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are not only visa-exempt but are legally entitled to enter and reside in each other's countries, following the requirement of the EU's freedom of movement provisions, the European Economic Area Agreement and bilateral accords with Switzerland.'

And if I do go to Britain/Europe, should I use it so I can get into the fast line at customs?
Yes.

If I travel to Europe on my British passport, and then return to the US, which one to I use to reenter (ie do I show my New Zealand passport, which I'm assuming is "attached" somehow to my green card - I haven't left the US since I got it)?
You should enter the UK/EU with your UK passport, as this is the one that gives you residency. When you enter the US, use your New Zealand passport, as the green card which it's associate with is the item which gives you the rights to reside there.

Your UK passport does not give you residency in the US. If you try to enter the US with your UK passport, you'd be stamped in as a tourist on a 90 day visit, I'd imagine.

If you're going for an long extended trip overseas, it's worth checking with a US immigration lawyer as (for instance) sometimes the US has odd rules about being in the country for a certain number of days per year for certain classes of visa. I don't imagine this could be an issue with a green card as this should give you permanent residence there, but on the other hand there's no harm in checking.
posted by plep at 1:22 PM on May 1, 2011


This page at the USCIS talks about travelling outside the USA while on a green card.
posted by jacalata at 1:30 PM on May 1, 2011


Do I have to go through other qualifications to be treated like a "real" citizen (tax residency etc)?

If you were to go and work in Britain, you'd still need to apply for a National Insurance number.
posted by pompomtom at 4:45 PM on May 1, 2011


« Older My bathroom has his-and-hers s...   |  Yes, yes, YANMD. When I'm very... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.