Traveling as a dual citizen

Chris Larkin

Long time resident of Bangkok. Married, three daughters. Managing director of CLC Asia (www.clc-asia.com). Lots of interesting knowledge and experience built up over time which I hope can be of use to people.

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33 Responses

  1. Mia says:

    Hello,
    I find your website to be very informative, thank you. I read your article on traveling with two passports. I have a Thai passport and an US passport. My concern is if I enter and exit Thailand with my Thai passport, when I come back to the US, would I get in trouble with US Immigration since I would not have any records on my US passport of being elsewhere? Can I reply to the US INS officer that I entered and exited Thailand on my Thai passport and not get in trouble? Thank you very much.

    • Hi Mia,

      As a US citizen, you have the unfettered right to re-enter the US. There is no obligation for you to use the US passport anywhere else on your travels. The US immigration officer will literally not care that you have used your Thai passport for entering Thailand (or anywhere else for that matter) – only that you have the right to enter the US and that you aren’t bringing in anything illegal.

      Hope this clears things up, but in summary, you have nothing to worry about.

  2. Anita says:

    Hi Chris!

    Do you know how to deal with this during Covid? I attained a Thai passport and was about to leave the country with my foreign one and enter on my Thai passport but then Covid hit. My 1 year visa has already expired but I assume I am allowed as everyone else to stay with expired visa until the 24th of September.
    Is there any way to stamp my foreign passport entry into the Thai one now? Or something along those lines? I read that it wasn’t possible in your article, but was wondering if you knew if there were any exceptions due to the current situation? Or would it be best to extend my visa another year? Thanks in advance. You’re articles are super helpful!

    • Hi Anita,

      Unfortunately you can’t swap stamps like you’ve proposed. Many have tried but no one has succeeded.

      Given it is basically impossible to travel at the moment given COVID and the need to do compulsory 14 day quarantine upon return (assuming you can even get a flight), if I was you I’d convert my extension of stay to one based on being a Thai citizen. While the reason for the extension of stay is formally for ‘former Thai citizens’, in actual fact you can get an automatic one year extension of stay in your foreign passport simply by showing your thai passport or Thai ID card or by showing at least one of your parents was Thai. There are no other conditions for this extension to be granted.

      The relevant immigration section is Paragraph 2.23 of Police Order 327-255. This link has a summary.

      All the best and I hope this helps.

  3. Kaew says:

    Hi Chris, My Thai passport expired years ago (2013). I am married to a US citizen, and have been travelling on US passport. I was not aware that dual citizenship can exist :(. Can I still renew or obtain a new Thai passport after all these years? Also, my child was born in the US, and I never obtained a Thai BC nor passport for him. He is now an adult, can he still get a Thai passport? Also, what is the rule on Last Name on both passports? Do they have to match? Maiden vs Married. Any advise is greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

    • Hi Kaew.

      Yes, if you are based in the US to get a new Thai passport you just have to attend the embassy or local consulate passport office with your ID card and ideally your expired passport. They can issue you with a new passport. You can also enter Thailand on your expired Thai passport and renew it back in Thailand.

      As for your son, he can get a Thai passport. Please check out this article. (https://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-citizenship-when-born-overseas/)

      As for surnames: If your thai surname isn’t offically changed yet, then your thai passport stays in your maiden name. No problem to travel. My mum does it all the time and she has been married 48 years!

      • Kaew says:

        Thank you so much. How about the ticket? Do you buy in Maiden name (as in Thai passport) to enter and exit Thailand. Upon arriving back in the US, present the US passport with married name and that should not cause any issue? Or, does it really matter? Just do not want any complications at immigration:) Thank you kha.

        • Hi Kaew,

          Based on family experience – booking in either name should be fine. My mother tends to book her tickets in her married name however, like you, her Thai passport is still in her maiden name. It has never been an issue. Just make sure you show BOTH passports to the check-in on each leg of the journey, and then only Thai passport to Thai immigration and US Passport to US immigration.

          Hope this helps

          • Kaew says:

            But when you come back, and there is not stamp on the US passport, is that ok with US immigration?

          • yep, not a problem at all. Lots of US citizens have multiple citizenships. All that matters is you have the right to enter the US, which you do.

  4. Tanya Inthapanti Adolph says:

    Hi Chris, Great article, thank you. I’m US born with dual US/Thai citizenship. My mother has misplaced my Thai birth certificate. What do I need to bring with me to the Los Angeles embassy to request a copy? Also, looking at the above comment, do I need to apply for an ID card in Thailand using my Thai birth certificate? I’m 39. Thanks very much!

    • Hi Tanya,

      The embassy should be able to issue with a valid copy to replace the original – they’ll have it on record. Any proof of your Thai citizenship (photo copies of your old Thai BC, Thai passports, plus any Thai ID belonging to your mother etc) will be useful of course, but best to check with the embassy to see what exactly they need.

      You will be able to apply for a Thai ID on a trip back to Thailand, once you have entered your name onto a valid house registration (they are usually done at the same time). Your Thai BC, plus Thai passport plus two Thai citizens to vouch for you are generally needed for the process, plus copies of your parents IDs as their names are also included in your house registration records.

      Hope this is useful!

  1. 7 August, 2020

    […] it does! As such, you’ll be able to travel with two passports, both your Thai and non-Thai one, maximising the number of countries you can travel to visa free! […]

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