Can I travel from Canada to USA on a Portuguese passport?
February 20, 2013 2:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm a dual Portuguese - Canadian citizen, living and working in Canada. Can I travel to the USA for a business trip on a Portuguese passport?

My Canadian passport expires next month, and I've sent it off to be renewed. I've asked to travel to the USA for a couple of days next month. I don't think I will receive the renewed Canadian passport in time for this trip.

I have a valid Portuguese passport as well. Can I just use this to fly to the USA and back to Canada?
posted by MiG to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
The US won't mind. Re-entering Canada on your Portuguese passport might present an issue, though.
posted by wierdo at 2:50 PM on February 20, 2013

Response by poster: I thought about taking my Canadian citizenship card with me as well, to enter Canada, but unfortunately, I've sent that off to the passport people as well.

What is the specific problem Canada would have with a Portuguese passport?
posted by MiG at 2:54 PM on February 20, 2013

Your Portuguese passport is fine to come into the US. It is also fine to go back into Canada on your Portuguese passport.

In general, it is advised that dual citizens enter the countries where they are citizens with the passports of that country. For example, my kids are dual US/Japan, so they enter Japan with their Japanese passports and the US with their US passports. On the last trip, my son's Japanese passport was expired so he entered on the US passport. The immigration official must have suspected that he was a dual because he asked me. I just explained that his Japanese passport had expired and that we'd be getting a new one on this trip. That was it.

Using your Portuguese passport should be fine.
posted by Tanizaki at 2:58 PM on February 20, 2013

I am a dual EU-Canadian citizen with two passports. Whenever I have travelled back to canada on my EU passport, they've always asked to see my citizenship card as well. If you're not going to have that, you might run into some issues. Of course eu citizens can visit Canada without a visa, but if you appear to be planning on staying, you'll need evidence of your right of residency.
posted by modernnomad at 4:31 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can get a same day passport in Canada if you have proof that you're travelling and willing to pay for it. Whether they'll do it with your application already in the system is a different question. (The US won't, at least not until the day of departure. That information is useless to you, of course.)

In general, it is advised that dual citizens enter the countries where they are citizens with the passports of that country.

It's a requirement that US citizens enter (and leave, whatever that means) the US on their US passports. (People have described what's happened when they haven't done so in AskMe previously. It wasn't the end of the world, but they got a telling off, as I recall.) Obviously, Japan doesn't seem to mind much. As I understand it, Britain doesn't care what passport you enter with, though I wouldn't want to have to deal with the UKBA it sort it out if I needed to stay in Britain having entered on the wrong passport.
posted by hoyland at 5:05 PM on February 20, 2013

It is also fine to go back into Canada on your Portuguese passport.

On reflection, this is possibly absurdly false. The last thing you want is for Portuguese MiG to overstay a visa that you didn't need in the first place. You could use your Portuguese passport to satisfy the Americans on the way in/out of the US, but you need to know either that you're entering Canada as a Canadian (because they've accepted whatever thing as proof of citizenship) or how to sort out the fact you entered as Portuguese before you go.
posted by hoyland at 5:13 PM on February 20, 2013

This page looks relevant for what you need to know to decide whether to go as Portuguese. There's a phone number for CIC down at the bottom. I'm not Canadian, so I have no idea whether you should have the nerve to phone them. (If it's not apparent from my now three answers in this thread, I was raised to fear interaction with immigration officials and never mention dual citizenship if at all possible.)
posted by hoyland at 5:18 PM on February 20, 2013

How soon is your trip? I'm Canadian and just renewed my pp a few weeks ago. I think they must not be very backlogged right now, they told me to expect it in 3 weeks but it showed up exactly a week later.
posted by mannequito at 5:33 PM on February 20, 2013

Were you born in Canada? If your Portuguese passport says you were born in Canada, that's strong evidence (but not conclusive proof) that you're Canadian.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:37 PM on February 20, 2013

FWIW, I agree with Mannequito -- unless by 'next month' you mean 'on the 1st of March', I would be fairly surprised if you don't have your passport back by then, even if you only submitted it very recently.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:38 PM on February 20, 2013

Were you born in Canada?

Whoops. You mention upthread that you submitted a citizenship card and didn't say anything about a birth certificate. So probably not.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:40 PM on February 20, 2013

Response by poster: Nope, not born in Canada. My citizenship card has also been sent along with the passport renewal application.

Thanks for the great answers, everyone.

My first option is to have the Canadian passport. I sent the renewal application last week, I just tracked it and it arrived at the passport office today. I travel in 3 weeks, so I might have it in time.

Second option seems to use the Portuguese passport. Both the USA & Canada do not require a visa for entry by Portuguese citizens.

I've spoken with someone who is also a dual Portuguese-Canadian citizen, and he told me that he has entered Canada with his Portuguese passport in a similar situation recently. He explained to the Canadian officials that his Canadian passport was being processed, and showed other ID (drivers license, work ID, health card, etc). His advice was to be honest and explain the situation, and everything seemed ok with the Canadian officials.

I don't think I'll have any issues on the American side, as it's just a normal business trip to them. It shouldn't make a difference to them which passport I use.

Thanks again, I'll report back after the trip.
posted by MiG at 6:39 PM on February 20, 2013

Response by poster: Updating for anyone in the future. Turn-around time was less than a week on the Canadian Passport renewal (not including delivery times to and from Quebec to Northern Alberta!).

So I guess I can safely use the Canadian passport.
posted by MiG at 11:01 AM on March 8, 2013

On reflection, this is possibly absurdly false.

On reflection, my comment was based upon my actual experience, as recounted in my comment, into a country that is a bit stricter about immigration law than Canada. Entering Canada on the Portuguese passport and overstaying would not make him deportable because he has Canadian citizenship.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:01 AM on March 12, 2013

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