ESTA for Dual nationals: What Can I Do?

ESTA for dual nationals

Generally, completing the ESTA application online is a simple and straightforward process. However, some areas of the application can cause confusion if one does not know where to find the answers. One such point of uncertainty is the ESTA for dual nationals who wish to travel to the U.S.

Dual nationality means that a person has the right to claim multiple citizenships, for example, if a person’s parents come from two different countries. Not all countries allow dual citizenship. Those that do offer their citizens the opportunity of a passport from two or sometimes more countries, which is where confusion sets in. Some people wonder which passport should they use for their ESTA for the USA, and if it allows multiple passports or dual nationality.

How to Apply for an ESTA with Dual Citizenship

If an applicant has dual citizenship either with or without multiple passports they can still apply for an ESTA as long as at least one of the countries that issued their passport(s) is part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

The Visa Waiver Program of USA is an agreement between America and 39 other countries whose citizens are able to travel to the U.S. without the need to apply for an Embassy or Consulate visa. The list of countries includes Australia, UK, New Zealand and most of the EU member states.

The VWP allows citizens with a passport from any of these countries to enter the United States without a visa. However, they are required to obtain an ESTA to visit the U.S.

To obtain an ESTA with dual citizenship, one passport must be from a visa waiver country, providing that the document meets the ESTA eligibility requirements. In short, the applicant must have a valid passport from one of the countries in the VWP.

In the case of travelers to the U.S. who need to apply for the ESTA for dual citizenship with no passport, it is imperative that before making any visa application, the citizen obtains a passport from at least one visa waiver country in order to be eligible for the ESTA.

Once the applicant has a valid passport, they can complete the ESTA application form. Applying for ESTA with a passport that was not issued by a VWP country will result in denial.

If I Have Dual Citizenship, which Passport Do I use to Travel with the ESTA?

When travelers have dual nationality of two countries within the VWP they can choose to travel with one or the other passport but it is important to remember which one they used to register with ESTA, in order to present it to all security controls throughout the journey.

It is not possible to obtain the ESTA with multiple passports as the information regarding the travel authorization will be linked to just one of the documents and to avoid an ESTA denial it is very important to provide the correct information from just one passport.

If the traveler is applying for an ESTA for dual citizens with one non-immigrant country, that is to say with only one citizenship within the VWP, it is obligatory to use that passport to apply for the ESTA and travel to the U.S. With the other passport, the foreigner will need to apply for a different kind of visa, not available electronically.

One of the most common doubts that emerge for citizens with multiple passports from visa waiver countries is what passport to use to travel to the US with dual citizenship. They can use either passport, as long as the document meets the ESTA eligibility requirements. This means that it should be valid for at least 6 months. Once the traveler submits the ESTA with one of their passports, they need to travel to the US with the passport used in the application.

The decision might be easier for applicants that have a passport from a visa waiver country and a passport from a country outside this program. In this case, the traveler needs to apply for the ESTA with the passport from the country member of the VWP. This is the passport that should be presented upon arrival in the U.S.

In the case that the traveler wishes to use the other passport, then they should apply for a B1 or B2 american visa at an embassy or consulate. The traveler can apply for the ESTA when a previous visa has been denied as long as the passport is valid and from a visa waiver country.

Traveling with ESTA as a Dual Citizen

If one is applying for ESTA with multiple passports, it is essential to remember first that the information used to apply for the ESTA must be correct and up-to-date. It is very important to double check the ESTA form before submitting it.

Secondly, it is also vital that the passport used to apply for the ESTA be a biometric chip passport as the ESTA is an electronic travel authorization linked electronically to the holder’s passport in order to facilitate the American authorities’ access to the traveler’s details when in the U.S.

Another factor to be considered when traveling with an ESTA with a dual nationality is that it is key to print the ESTA authorization before departure to ensure to have on hand the confirmation of the approved travel visa waiver and the application number. The Department of Homeland Security strongly recommends printing out at least one copy of the ESTA.

When it comes to applying for the ESTA, the double foreign national will need to indicate the information from both nationalities including both passport numbers, where applicable. When filling in the online ESTA application, visitors will find a tick box that asks whether they have any other passports besides the one they are using to complete the ESTA application.

The U.S. Government states that if the information is unavailable, the applicant should either include the previous passport details from the second country or leave the number field blank while ensuring to state to which nation their citizenship corresponds.

The form also asks whether the applicant has held other nationalities in the past. Details of this information should be given, including what country was the visitor a citizen of, and for how long (indicating the exact dates).

Issues when Applying for the ESTA with a Dual Citizenship

A specific ESTA for dual citizenship does not exist. The main issue when applying for the ESTA with multiple passports is that the applicant can only use one of the passports to complete the online ESTA form. The passport used to complete the ESTA is the passport that the traveler needs to present at a port of entry upon arrival in the U.S.

When the traveler arrives in the U.S., immigration officials will revise the passport and confirm the identity of the person entering the country. For both dual and single nationals, the background information might be double checked to ensure that he or she does not have intentions of staying illegally in the U.S.

Another aspect that travelers with dual nationalities should consider is that it is best to have their passports up to date. If one needs an ESTA with dual citizenship, they should check the validity of both passports and complete the ESTA form carefully.

Travelers should consider that if in the past they were denied a visa, this is registered in the U.S. immigration system. Immigration officials do not classify foreign visitors based solely on the nationality of their passport but on their names and personal details.

Because there is a record of them being denied an ESTA, when applying for a new ESTA it is paramount to be honest. It is strongly recommended to be sincere and transparent with the ESTA application, whether one has dual nationality or not. Incorrect or misleading information may result in the ESTA being denied.

ESTA Form for a Dual Citizenship with Two Passports

Although the ESTA is connected to only one of the traveler’s passports, the application form includes questions regarding other nationalities. The applicant should answer these honestly and accurately.

Details of both passports will then be on the form. However, only one of the two will be considered the main passport and used to issue the ESTA authorization.
Should the applicant not have the full details of the second passport at hand, they can use the number of a previous second passport or simply leave the number space blank and indicate the country of issue.

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