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I now have a USA and Polish passport - How to behave at the border?

  posts: 17

plockguy Threads: 1
Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 18, 2011
  ♂ Edited by: plockguy  Dec 9, 2011, 08:10am  #

I just got my Polish passport, and plan on entering Poland in a few days as a Polish citizen (this hasn't happened in a very long time). I will probably stay there for about a year.

I'm not very concerned about entering Poland, but i'm afraid of what's going to happen when I enter back into the U.S. Even as a US citizen travelling under my US passport, whenever I have to go through customs on the US border, I always feel like the customs agents are being mean and are giving me a hard time for no reason.

Here's my situation:
- Born in Poland, lived in USA 95% of my life (perfect english, my polish has an accent)
- Different spellings/names on my 2 passports. When I was naturalized in the US, my first and lastname were changed. Spelled completely different, but phonetically, sounds and even almost looks similar. When I had my Polish passport renewed just now, it still has my birth names.
- Going to Poland to help my cousin with a business (so i'm working there).
- My ticket to Poland was bought using my US identity (i'm leaving in 4 days).

What's the proper behavior/procedure while i'm passing through the borders? I'm terrified of being detained or someone giving me trouble for having 2 citizenships/passports with different spellings of my first and last name. Am i overreacting? When coming back to the US, is it safer to buy my ticket using my US identity again?



Wedle Threads: 22
Posts: 743
Joined: Sep 27, 2011
  ♂ Dec 9, 2011, 08:35am  #

plockguy:
What's the proper behavior/procedure while i'm passing through the borders? I'm terrified of being detained or someone giving me trouble for having 2 citizenships/passports with different spellings of my first and last name. Am i overreacting? When coming back to the US, is it safer to buy my ticket using my US identity again?


When you exit and enter the USA you are obliged to use your US passport, when you enter and exit Poland you are obliged to use your Polish Passport. There is nothing illegal about being a dual passport holder, unless they were obtained illegally. If stopped at the border controls the best policy is always tell the truth.


JonnyM Threads: 15
Posts: 3,959
Joined: Mar 9, 2011
  ♂ Edited by: JonnyM  Dec 9, 2011, 08:53am  #

plockguy:

I'm not very concerned about entering Poland, but i'm afraid of what's going to happen when I enter back into the U.S. Even as a US citizen travelling under my US passport, whenever I have to go through customs on the US border, I always feel like the customs agents are being mean and are giving me a hard time for no reason.

I've heard that's fairly normal.
plockguy:
What's the proper behavior/procedure while i'm passing through the borders? I'm terrified of being detained or someone giving me trouble for having 2 citizenships/passports with different spellings of my first and last name. Am i overreacting? When coming back to the US, is it safer to buy my ticket using my US identity again?

You are one of thousands - many people are in this situation - especially people from countries with a different alphabet where their name can be transliterated into English in more than one way. Also, Polish passport control staff are used to people having a Polish passport but not sounding Polish - there has been a lot of emigration over the years. The passport control staff aren't interested much in your ticket, however it's better to buy it using your Polish passport number (and spelling) when going to and from Poland - to avoid complication. Nevertheless, it is nothing they haven't seen before - same with the US.

You could change the spelling on your Polish passport however the procedure is lengthy and a judge has to be convinced you have a good enough reason. Wedle's advice is good.


sa11y Threads: 6
Posts: 372
Joined: Dec 12, 2011
  ♀ Dec 12, 2011, 05:25pm  #

Wedle:
when you enter and exit Poland you are obliged to use your Polish Passpor

This is not entirely true, you can enter Poland on USA passport, but you will need a visa if you want to stay longer than the normal "tourist" period (I think it's 90 days) - this kind of defies purpose of having Polish passport...
You should leave the country on the same passport you entered it.


delphiandomine Threads: 60
Posts: 14,430
Joined: Nov 25, 2008
  ♂ :-( Dec 12, 2011, 07:08pm  #

sa11y:
This is not entirely true, you can enter Poland on USA passport, but you will need a visa if you want to stay longer than the normal "tourist" period (I think it's 90 days) - this kind of defies purpose of having Polish passport...


It is true - it is an offence for a Polish citizen to identify himself to the Polish authorities using foreign documents.


plockguy Threads: 1
Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 18, 2011
  ♂ Dec 12, 2011, 08:10pm  #

Yeah, I also read it's an offense (especially, on the US-side).

I'm sure my entrance into Poland will go smoothly... it's really my entrance back into the US that i'm worried about.

If they already give me a hard time when everything is "standard", wait till they see 2 passports with 2 different names on it.


sa11y Threads: 6
Posts: 372
Joined: Dec 12, 2011
  ♀ Dec 12, 2011, 09:28pm  #

Are you sure? Doesn't this depend on your usual place of residency? It makes no sense sometimes to travel with all passports you may have (my son has 3),especially for short trips. Another thing is that you are supposed to start and finish trips with one document (not sure if this is law, but airlines certainly recommend that because it makes their lives easier), so this is not possible if you have to leave USA on USA passport and enter Poland on Polish one.


delphiandomine Threads: 60
Posts: 14,430
Joined: Nov 25, 2008
  ♂ :-( Dec 12, 2011, 10:03pm  #

sa11y:
Are you sure? Doesn't this depend on your usual place of residency? It makes no sense sometimes to travel with all passports you may have (my son has 3),especially for short trips. Another thing is that you are supposed to start and finish trips with one document (not sure if this is law, but airlines certainly recommend that because it makes their lives easier), so this is not possible if you have to leave USA on USA passport and enter Poland on Polish one.


No, the law depends very much on the country. Most countries require their citizens to identify themselves using an identity document from that country - Poland and the USA both require this, so two passports are needed.

As for starting and finishing trips on one passport - this is however a myth. The USA doesn't have exit controls, so there's no issue here. Poland also doesn't use any form of API, so again - no issue.


Crow Threads: 258
Posts: 6,699
Joined: Feb 14, 2007
 Photos: 1  ♂ Edited by: Crow  Dec 12, 2011, 10:04pm  #

plockguy:
I now have a USA and Polish passport - How to behave at the border?

simple... In USA don`t say that you are Polish. In Poland, don`t speak of USA


plockguy Threads: 1
Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 18, 2011
  ♂ Dec 12, 2011, 10:20pm  #

Here's an awesome FAQ i found about this (pertaining to the US side). I read the whole thing, and it was really worth the read.

http://www.richw.org/dualcit/

I can't find it right now, but it was in here, that I found the part about how you MUST identify yourself as a national when entering your nation (for the US). You don't want to give any hints as to a possibility that you might want to renounce your citizenship by NOT identifying yourself as a US citizen. Apparently, it is a POLICY to allow dual citizenship, and that's it. You should always play it safe and reaffirm your citizenship by always identifying yourself that way and doing things like file taxes even if you have no earnings.


FUZZYWICKETS Threads: 12
Posts: 2,387
Joined: Nov 3, 2009
  ♂ Dec 12, 2011, 10:23pm  #

bla bla bla bla bla, you have nothing to worry about.

dude, you have an american passport. they'll run it and see you've spent most of your life there. what in the world could they stop you at the border for?

sure they may ask you a few questions, that's their job. other than that, happy trails.


Marek11111 Threads: 45
Posts: 2,301
Joined: Aug 6, 2009
 Photos: 1  ♂ Dec 12, 2011, 10:25pm  #

Take your US passport and enter Canada then use your Polish passport to buy a ticket to Cuba, have a fabulous vacation.


delphiandomine Threads: 60
Posts: 14,430
Joined: Nov 25, 2008
  ♂ :-( Dec 12, 2011, 10:29pm  #

plockguy:
I can't find it right now, but it was in here, that I found the part about how you MUST identify yourself as a national when entering your nation (for the US). You don't want to give any hints as to a possibility that you might want to renounce your citizenship by NOT identifying yourself as a US citizen. Apparently, it is a POLICY to allow dual citizenship, and that's it. You should always play it safe and reaffirm your citizenship by always identifying yourself that way and doing things like file taxes even if you have no earnings.


Typical American response.

You can't be "stripped" of American citizenship - once you get the magic document, there's no need to "play it safe" - the only obligation is that you can't identify yourself using a foreign document.

FUZZYWICKETS:
dude, you have an american passport. they'll run it and see you've spent most of your life there. what in the world could they stop you at the border for?


I'm wondering the same. An American citizen is an American citizen surely.

About the only thing I can imagine that would **** them off would be handing over a Polish passport without a US visa in it, then expecting entry as an American citizen.


plockguy Threads: 1
Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 18, 2011
  ♂ Edited by: plockguy  Dec 12, 2011, 11:36pm  #

Delphiadomine,

"Typical american response?" How about, typical polish pretentiousness... i'm giving valid information and you are striking down facts?

Are you a US citizen? Do you know that US naturalized citizens have to swear an oath to renounce other citizenships? Or did you allow yourself to "not notice" it because it was just a "typical" american document that meant nothing to you?
http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_776.html

I say again, just as a matter of information for people who are curious, that oathe is STILL THERE and it's a matter of POLICY to allow dual citizenships and they are IGNORING the oathe. If you think that they can't flip that around on you within the span of 1 piece of legislation or even just policy change, then you clearly don't know how politics work. US citizens are sensitive about these kinds of issues and i'm sure it's only not been talked about because most people don't even KNOW you can have dual citizenship.

All it takes is one conservative TV special on FOX News to talk about how the middle class is full of "unpatriots" that are living one foot in the US and one foot somewhere else, to spark outrage amongst the rednecks of the country and begin legislation to close the ability to have dual citizenships. Yes, the probability is low considering that everything moves towards globalization in the benefit of big business, but it's not something that can't happen.

For people who have dual citizenships, I think it's important to know how to behave at the border, to identify yourself appropriately, to file your taxes, etc. I want to know the ins and outs, so that when policy changes in the future (and it can), I will have done everything correctly. That's simply what I was trying to get, some advice, some tips, to take extra measures of protection so I can always be on the safe side.


delphiandomine Threads: 60
Posts: 14,430
Joined: Nov 25, 2008
  ♂ :-( Dec 12, 2011, 11:40pm  #

plockguy:
"Typical american response?" How about, typical polish pretentiousness... i'm giving valid information and you are striking down facts?


Facts according to who? You're talking about "playing it safe" and all this other rubbish.

Take a look here - http://www.newcitizen.us/losing.html - can you see anything there that suggests that you can lose US citizenship for not paying taxes? Nah..didn't think so.

plockguy:
Are you a US citizen? Do you know that US naturalized citizens have to swear an oath to renounce other citizenships? Or did you allow yourself to "not notice" it because it was just a "typical" american document that meant nothing to you?


What has that got to do with your situation? You're not a "naturalised" citizen, therefore it's a moot point.

plockguy:
For people who have dual citizenships, I think it's important to know how to behave at the border, to identify yourself appropriately, to file your taxes, etc. I want to know the ins and outs, so that when policy changes in the future (and it can), I will have done everything correctly.


And tell me - how do you think the American Government will find out about your Polish passport?

Needless worrying/scaremongering, that's all.


plockguy Threads: 1
Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 18, 2011
  ♂ Dec 12, 2011, 11:58pm  #

That rebuttal is full of holes, this will be my last reply so as to not bother other ppl on this thread.

Facts:
- You swear an oathe to renounce citizenship.
- US Government used to enforce the oathe. After a bunch of court cases and seeing that it was a widespread problem, they relaxed *policy* and allowed dual citizenship as a matter of "ignoring" it.
- When you swear that you renounce other citizenships, but then you don't, and you get another passport, you are a *LIAR*.

Check the link you sent me, did you even read it?
"5. Lying To The USCIS During The Naturalization Process " - Reasons for losing citizenship.

I don't know what you don't see about that. I'm not scare mongering. I've said repeatedly, that the US has NOT enforce this and lots of people have dual citizenships and travel fine. Some people, like me, care about the details, and feel that this is important information. You apparently don't care about the details, and that's fine too, that's your choice of lifestyle and I know many people who do the same.

"And tell me - how do you think the American Government will find out about your Polish passport?"
- WHEN I HAND IT IN TO THE BORDER AGENT. They check your US passport for stamps, and they will see none. You will have to explain that to them, and show them how you entered Schengen.


BBman Threads: -
Posts: 527
Joined: Jan 4, 2011
  ♂ Edited by: BBman  Dec 13, 2011, 01:07am  #

No problem OP. I've done the same as you (Polish/Canadian passports). It is illegal for Poles to identify themselves to Polish officials using foreign documents, but the authorities turn a blind eye to this law.

If you stay in poland for longer than 3 months you will have to show both passports at the border in order to leave Poland. You might also get hassled for having 2 different spellings of your name. If you have a document that shows your official name change, bring it with you it might help.



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