Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / Travel  % width 26

Travel to PL from US w/ dual citizenship - any problems on borders?

27 Sep 2008 /  #1
Hi everyone,
I was hoping that maybe someone here could give me an advice or most likely wipe out my hopefully exaggerated worries.
Soon I will be visiting Poland as some of my relatives still live there and I am worried that I might have problems with coming back to US. I am a citizen of both countries and have two passports. I have read and heard stories about double citizens being prevented at the airport from coming back. I also have read on Polish Consulate website and in Wikipedia that Poland really doesn't recognize dual citizenship. Therefore I also can forget about consular help from US while in Poland.

Can someone enlighten me on this? How shoul I travel, what shoud I do to come back without any problems? Are my worries exaggerated? I am not much of a traveler and never traveled with dual citizenship yet. Please help. Thank you.

Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535  
27 Sep 2008 /  #2

Why dont you take a visa on your american passport and travel. If you worry so much... dont use the Polish passport...
dcchris 8 | 432  
27 Sep 2008 /  #3
yep use your american one and leave your polish one at home unless you plan on staying in poland over 90 days.
OP Majka  
27 Sep 2008 /  #4
Actually the stories I heard were about using only the US passport. You see, the place of birth is posted there and if it is Poland, according to the stories - not experience - one can't leave Poland unless the Polish passport is presented. It creates another issue of travelling with two travel documents that can result in confiscation of one of them. Without US pass, one cannot enter US, without PL pass one cannot leave Poland so you see the circle, right?

Plus these days Americans don't need visa to enter Poland. US Dept of State website says that Americans who are also Polish citizens must enter and leave Poland with Polish passport.

I just wanted to find out how to travel from someone with double citizenship, who was born in Poland and who travelled there while being also an American citizen.

How does it work? Are there any problems? Please advice from experience...

Just to clarify, I am the same person who started the topic in case you cannot see my post under the same user name. I switched computers and I am afraid I may be told that guest username that I used before may be taken already, haha, by me ofcourse. Anyway, "Magda" - the one I really like is taken already, and definitely not by me. If I come back safely, I will definitely register with this forum. I cannot believe I didn't think of this idea before, and am doing it only to seek advice...

Oh, it worked. I guess, usernames are unique only for registered users.
dcchris 8 | 432  
27 Sep 2008 /  #5
hmm why not contact the polish embassy or consulate they should be able to tell you something hopefully
OP Majka  
27 Sep 2008 /  #6
I called and lady said it should be no problems. Her info was vague though. Of course she is not gonna tell me - yeah, we will cause you troubles, so better don't come. But you know, dcchris, the stories I read freaked me out. I have to go back to work day after I am supposed to come back. Plus I don't really have funds for emergencies like that. And I have to do what is right - see someone who is sick and very old, and who was extremely close to me in my early childhood, and whom I haven't seen in a very long time. I wouldn't forgive myself if something happened and I never had a chance to say goodbye.
dcchris 8 | 432  
27 Sep 2008 /  #7
well another option would be to fly into germany for instance on your american passport and take another plane to poland and since it is in the shengen then passport is no problem...
OP Majka  
27 Sep 2008 /  #8
I was thinking about something similar but after I got the ticket, so now it is too late. I think it would be better actually if I went to a non shengen EU country and stayed there for few days and then traveled to Poland. Then I would do the same thing on my way back. Now it is too late.
dcchris 8 | 432  
27 Sep 2008 /  #9
hmm well i cant really tell u what to do but i think if it was me i would still fly on the us passport. i think a us citizen is a us citizen no matter where u are born and you should be recognized as a us citizen but like I said I cant tell you for sure
OP Majka  
27 Sep 2008 /  #10
Thank you, dcchris for hanging out in here with me. I don't know myself how to travel. That is why I was reading about it and just freaked myself out. What I read is that on Polish soil I will be considered solely as Polish citizen and what I understand from this not even American consulate will be able to help me in case of emergency. So I am a little worried although I am certain that I am not only person with double citizenship travelling to and coming back from Poland. Therefore I was hoping that another person like me will see my posts and tell me how he/she managed to travel to Poland and safely came back.
dcchris 8 | 432  
27 Sep 2008 /  #11
no problem I bet you wont have any problems. good luck and have a nice trip
OP Majka  
27 Sep 2008 /  #12
I will need luck and I appreciate your good wishes.
Dice 15 | 452  
27 Sep 2008 /  #13
I also have heard some horror stories of American/Canadians visiting Poland and not being able to come back because of their place of birth. My guess is that it's probably a rather unusual occurrence. IMO it all depends from the Polish bureaucrat you'll have to deal with at the border, but most likely you should be OK.

I was born in Poland and left there as a teenager, and I haven't been back for over 20 years. But I know that sooner or later I'll have to go back to visit (family reasons). I don't even have a Polish Passport anymore and I'm not going to get one neither. If they are going to be a$$holes to you, it makes no difference if you have a Polish Passport or not.

I found this on the USCitizenship.Info website, you may find it helpful:

Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to US citizen parents may be both a US citizen and a citizen of the country of birth.

Claims of other countries on dual national US citizens may conflict with US law, and dual nationality may limit US Government efforts to assist citizens abroad. The country where a dual national is located generally has a stronger claim to that person's allegiance.

Most US citizens, including dual nationals, must use a US passport to enter and leave the United States. Dual nationals may also be required by the foreign country to use its passport to enter and leave that country.
OP Majka  
27 Sep 2008 /  #14
Thanks, Dice. I read similar thing on US Dept of State website so it looks like it can be done, apparently has been done and is still being done therefore I should be ok. The only other thing that worries me is when Polish authorities at the airport will ask me for document allowing me legal entry to US and I will show them American passport, they would tell me that I cannot travel with two travel documents and they will confiscate one of them. I think I read something like that in Wikipedia while inquiring this issue but I am not sure if it mean Poland or some other country in which there were penalties for being dual citizen. Anyway, thank you very much for your post, Dice.
plk123 8 | 4,138  
27 Sep 2008 /  #15
travel with the US passport then. having two different passports could be a major problem.
z_darius 14 | 3,964  
27 Sep 2008 /  #16
In Canada we have an option to have our birth country stated or not. Check if you can have that option in the US too.

I traveled to Poland using Polish passport, but one time, by mistake, I showed a Polish border guard my Canadian passport while leaving Poland. He just told me this is not the one he needs, unless I was not born in Poland.

Still, the safest bet, with all the border stuff pretty much gone, I would be hard pressed to fly to Warsaw. Instead, consider Berlin or Prague. Lower ticket prices, less interest in the details of your passport, and at times, it's actually closer to home. These are certailny good options for those visiting western parts of Poland.
Dice 15 | 452  
27 Sep 2008 /  #17
So do I need to get a Polish Passport just for one emergency visit? I don't really want to go through all the trouble of getting a Polish Passport, especially that I don’t even know when I will need it. I don't plan to vacation in Poland or to visit for any other reason. Would they let you out of Poland on an American Passport if it was an emergency visit?

I think I’m gonna make some phone calls to the Polish embassy or consulate next week, see what they’ll have to say about it.
z_darius 14 | 3,964  
27 Sep 2008 /  #18
So do I need to get a Polish Passport just for one emergency visit?

That's not what I wrote. But in Poland, if you are in fact a Polish citizen, your other passports are worth less than last years snow.

Would they let you out of Poland on an American Passport if it was an emergency visit?

They wouldn't let you on a plane to US without it. As a US citizens you won't get an American visa, so how do you imagine could you get home otherwise?
Gab - | 133  
27 Sep 2008 /  #19
I have dual citizenship, never experienced any problems though. I just carry both passports on me. To get back into the US you need the US passport, otherwise you are fine. If you are planning to stay in Poland for not more that 90 days, you don't need a Polish passport. For the US you are the Us citizen, for Poland you are the Polish (EU) citizen. It's pretty simplistic :)
Eurola 4 | 1,902  
27 Sep 2008 /  #20
I travel on the US Passport as my Polish Passport expired years ago, not problem whatsoever. Anywhere.
z_darius 14 | 3,964  
27 Sep 2008 /  #21
not problem whatsoever. Anywhere.

Apparently you don't visit too many Arab or muslim countries ;)

When I lived in NYC, tourist agencies included free Canadian flag pins and stickers. Just to be on the safe side, you know.
Eurola 4 | 1,902  
27 Sep 2008 /  #22
Lol. Nope, I did not visit any Arab countries yet...but maybe some day... I want to go to Egypt. You mean I may have a problem? :) I don't think so.

I"ll let you know, OK?
OP Majka  
28 Sep 2008 /  #23
What do you guys think - I will leave US on American passport, enter Poland on Polish, leave Poland on Polish, re-enter US on American. I guess this is what US Dept of State would suggest. I have a fierce feeling I need both passports because my American pass says I was born in Poland. And this is where everything begins...

To answer your very good suggestion, z_darius, I cannot fly to another European country because I have already bought my ticket to Poland. First stupid does, then stupid thinks... But it wasn't for nothing because I got myself a good deal on that ticket. Now the same flight is $350 more, haha.

Anyway, I will be learning from this experience and probably next time will book two seperate round trips with few day stay in a Schengen agreement country before returning to US.

Probably all those worries are not necessary and everything will go fine without me having to figure out how to leave Poland and get back to US.

Just wish me luck, guys, and please feel free to post more suggestions. The ones of you who traveled like that, please share your experiences.

I am leaving in a matter of hours...
Dice 15 | 452  
28 Sep 2008 /  #24
So it looks like I can't travel to Poland with an American Passport only? To do it I will need a Polish Passport as well. Otherwise I may encounter troubles with Polish authorities on my way back to US?

What sucks about it is that I don’t know what kinds of documents they will require from me in order to get a new Polish Passport (the old one is long lost), how long will it take, how much of my time I'll have to waste on it, and how much it will cost me in fees. And all that just for one trip. And to think that I could go anywhere in Europe with my US Passport without any hustles except for my Old Country Poland... Go figure.
OP Majka  
19 Oct 2008 /  #25
I am back from my trip and had no problems whatsoever. Needless to mention, though, I was worried and probably spoiled my stay or at least didn't get as much out of it as I could have. I've learned my lesson for next time which I will enjoy much better. Can't wait to go again...

My advice to dual citizens - you need both passports...
impete82 3 | 29  
16 Feb 2009 /  #26
i'm canadian so i'm going a little off topic. i always hear you need to use your polish passport to enter and leave poland, but then i read ...

"Always use your Canadian passport

The Canadian government strongly encourages you to use your Canadian passport when travelling abroad, especially when entering the country of your second citizenship."

Archives - 2005-2009 / Travel / Travel to PL from US w/ dual citizenship - any problems on borders?Archived