Stuck in transit: Dual Passport Disasters
Have you even been stuck in Transit with Dual Passport Disasters?
Traveling with dual passports was never something that ever crossed our minds, as we’ve never had to do it before. Being a dual citizen was never something we thought we were coming from the north of Ireland, but in actual fact it’s exactly what we are.
We can legally possess both an Irish and a British passport at the same time, make us both British and Irish citizens. But actually travelling with both and having to use both on a single journey is never something we’ve had to do, until recently.
Not a care in the world, we left Korea and boarded our flight for the Philippines on our next big adventure. Spending almost two days in Manila with flights onwards to Kuala Lumpur then Chiangmai, Thailand. As usual we were as organised as ever and we decided that the day of flying would be sufficient time to check in for our flight online. With limited wifi access this proved to be more difficult than we thought.
Eventually we got online and made a start on the check in only to receive a pop up message warning to seek assistance as the airport.
Now everyone can fly ~ Even with Dual passports!
What?!? OMG!! Alarm bells started to ring, this had never happened before in all our years of travelling. Was it because we left it too late, was there an issue with the booking? So many things ran through our minds. With limited wifi access and no intention of staying in Manila any longer than totally necessary we started to wreck our brains as to what it could be.
We soon realised that Jan’s passport had a mere four months remaining. With a quick google search we found out that in order to enter Thailand a minimum of six months validation was required on a passport. Oops!
Luckily Jan had purchased an Irish passport one year earlier with the intention of applying for a Canadian visa, a plan that we later changed. So dual passport operation immigration had begun and we now needed a plan to get her past check in and through immigration without them noticing she was using two different passports.
Travelling with Dual Passports!
This was our plan of action: First we would check in for our flight to Kuala Lumpur with the new Irish passport. This would allow the airline to let the Malaysian authorities know that an Irish citizen with more than six months valid on her passport would be entering Malaysia with the intention of continuing her travel journey onwards to Thailand.
We passed this stage with flying colours, no questions asked!
The next step would potentially prove a little trickier and Jan would then need to pass through immigration with her old British passport in order to get an exit stamp and allow the Philippine immigration to see an entry stamp and prove no ‘over stay’ was exceeded.
I took great pleasure watching Jan approach the immigration authorities with a pale face and sweat particles forming on her eyebrows. She took a deep breath or tired not breathing at all, smiled, winked and tried her best to look as normal as possible while charming the authorities into stamping her passport and waving her off.
A few moments passed while I was already on the other side waiting patiently when I see two guards walk slowly in her direction. The immigration officer said a few quiet words as they ushered away a panic stricken Janice.
Just Kidding ~~haha
I could swear he was letting her sweat for a few minutes as he took a little longer than normal to allow her past, but eventually a very relieved Janice found herself on the other side, cleared to go and ready to board her flight. Onwards and upwards.
That was the last she needed to use her British passport. As our plan was to show the new Irish passport on arrival in Kuala Lumpur and then again in Thailand, we knew we should have no issues with continuing our journey.
This slightly nerve wreaking experience proved how easy it is to forget how long or how little you have left on your passport when you frequently travel.
It also proved that it is possible to travel on dual passports throughout Asia. As long as the country you enter can see the entry stamp and issue an exit stamp on the same passport then you should have no trouble entering and exiting a country with dual passports.
Janice travelled to the Philippines using a British passport, checked in for a new flight to Kuala Lumpur with her Irish passport. Presented the British passport again at immigration in the Philippines before boarding the flight. And finally, upon entering Kuala Lumpur she presented her Irish passport to the Malaysian immigration. She will now continue to use her Irish passport for the remainder of our trip throughout S.E Asia and Europe.
No illegal immigrants here!!
I must admit, travelling along side Jan and seeing her panicked, it can feel like your guilty of committing a crime. We all know how intense immigration can be even when you’ve nothing to declare.
In the end our potential deportation experience was short lived and with hindsight, actually quite humorous. But it definitely made us remember to check our passports more closely in the future!
What close encounters at airports have you had? Give us a giggle below!
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