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Trip Paperwork Covers all documentation, carnets, customs and country requirements, how to deal with insurance etc.
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  #1  
Old 25 Jul 2011
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Dual passport - good idea?

When we start our motorbike tour through Africa in a few weeks we will need to go through a lot of borders. I am lucky enough to have a dual citizenship and an Australian and a German passport. The motorbike is registered in Australia and we start our trip here. So I thought I mainly go on my Aussie passport. However, there are a few countries where it is much easier / cheaper to travel through on a German passport.

Has anyone experience in mixing passports along the way? Do people on the border ask to see stamps of your previous destinations which might force you to show them two passports? Would that rather lead to confusion or problems (...no, I'm not a secret agent!)?

Just interested in your experience with the matter and your opinion.
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Old 25 Jul 2011
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Dual passports, choose when and where to use them carefully

G'day Marco,

I'm in the same boat, I have Dual nationality with Australia and Switzerland. I used both passports when travelling from Australia to Oslo, overland via SEAsia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey to Europe then Norway. I decided to use my Aussie passport in SEAsia but Swiss from Nepal/India onwards. For a few reasons.

1) Swiss army doesn't have troops in Pakistan and Afghanistan unlike Australia
2) Swiss visa price was cheaper for Turkey (free) and Nepal
3) Easier to travel in Europe as a Swiss than an Aussie (unfortunately we have a bad reputation and are cheap so a lot of places don't like us, just because of a few bad apples)

There are a few things you have to be careful of is when switching passports.
a) Obviously if you are stamped into a country on one passport you can't leave on another. Customs check this, and anyway you wouldn't get two visas, one in each passport it's just too expensive.
b) Customs & border control are not stupid, if you try to cross a border with a passport that doesn't have any stamps from your previous country then it will look suspect. The only time this works, is if the previous country doesn't put any stamps or any visas in your passport.
c) If you're travelling with multiple passports then you need to consider whether you inform embassy of just one or both countries of your travel itinerary in case of problems. (for AU see smartraveller.gov.au)

I/We never had an issue with borders checking the country of registration against the country of our passport. The important thing is that your registration papers are up to date and have your name, matching your passport(s).

Hope this helps.

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Old 25 Jul 2011
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I had two UK passports while I was travelling - the usefulness was mixed.

Have a look at the 'Overland Travel Tips' section of my site - overlandcruiser.net
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Old 26 Jul 2011
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Originally Posted by TurboCharger View Post
...b) Customs & border control are not stupid, if you try to cross a border with a passport that doesn't have any stamps from your previous country then it will look suspect. The only time this works, is if the previous country doesn't put any stamps or any visas in your passport...
Thanks for your replies, guys! Did you ever have to show your second passport on a border because of a stamp from a previous country?

It's however good to read from your experience that the nationality of the passport not matching the nationality of the rest of your paperwork (carnet/driver licence/bike registration) hasn't caused any trouble.
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Old 26 Jul 2011
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I've used both (Canadian and Belgian) on my trips through the Middle East. In Turkey I handed them the wrong one on the way back from Syria and they jokingly asked if I didn't have a 3rd. I got an Indian visa in the Belgian one, Iranian in the Belgian and Pakistani in the Canadian .. I mixed and matched without a problem.
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Old 26 Jul 2011
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Originally Posted by BikingMarco View Post
It's however good to read from your experience that the nationality of the passport not matching the nationality of the rest of your paperwork (carnet/driver licence/bike registration) hasn't caused any trouble.
I would be a bit careful, or at least wary, on that one.

Exfoleyation: Egypt

The experience of these guys isn't directly about nationalities on paperwork not matching but rather about names on passports not matching names on the rest of the paperwork - they were delivering a vehicle to South Africa for someone who had bought it, thus the carnet was in his name and not theirs. They had to traipse all the way to Cairo to get the carnet overtyped with their names before the Egyptians would let them in.

But one can just imagine a bloody-minded customs/immigration official somewhere obscure making an issue out of something like this - if only as an excuse to extract un petit cadeau!
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Old 26 Jul 2011
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I would be a bit careful, or at least wary, on that one.

Exfoleyation: Egypt

The experience of these guys isn't directly about nationalities on paperwork not matching but rather about names on passports not matching names on the rest of the paperwork....
Slightly off topic, but...

Passports are the business of the immigration department, not customs

Having a different name in the passport to that on the vehicle docs/carnet is different to dual-nationality. You could suggest the Egyptians were being "efficient" and stopping "vehicle theft" (obviously not in this case).

Furthermore, Egypt customs is in an entirely unique beast in comparison to anywhere else in the world. In 1999 it took me 5 days to get my bike out of Cairo airport customs compound (airfreight to Ethiopia: with a carnet (with matching names etc), using a local agent and 180us$ in bribes Chapter 5 The Big Trip ) compared to 5 minutes in Cape Town (sea freight to USA, no agent and no bribes...).

I've got 2 passports, German and UK. Never had problems with using one to leave country A and the other to enter country B. Sometimes had to show both to clarify any confusion, but as they both have identical details/photo immigration hasn't really got much to say. In places like Pakistan, Iran or Sudan they only care if your other passport is Israeli.

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Old 26 Jul 2011
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I think as long as the name in your passport(s) matches the name in your carnet / vehicle docs you won't have a problem.

I've just travelled from Cape Town to the UK with a UK passport in an Australian 4x4 (registered in my name) without any problems, even from Egyptian customs.

Paul.
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Old 26 Jul 2011
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Originally Posted by misterpaul View Post
I think as long as the name in your passport(s) matches the name in your carnet / vehicle docs you won't have a problem.

I've just travelled from Cape Town to the UK with a UK passport in an Australian 4x4 (registered in my name) without any problems, even from Egyptian customs.

Paul.
Exactly ... My bike is Canadian, my passport at times Belgian... I tried in 5 different places to get an Iranian visa in a Canadian passport... no go. So when I was in Damascus, I got the Belgian embassy to call their Iranian counterparts in Theran to get me a visa number... At the border, my Canadian carnet and plate was zero issue although it's next to impossible to get a visa as a Canadian citizen .. go figure.

In Pakistan I forgot to get my carnet stamped/torn. They just wrote the number down so I thought I was good. On the way out this created some confusion. I got taken aside at the other end (for regular bribe reasons) and refused to pay, which caused some frustration...

My advise is that unless you're talking to the person who has done what you ask about, ignore it. When you are "in country" things are a LOT simpler and easier than when you looking from the outside in ... The friendliest people are the Pakistani's. The most danger (theft or near theft) I faced with in Turkey ... Not the way you would expect it from "the outside".
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Old 27 Jul 2011
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Thanks for sharing your experience in this!

It's one of these things that you just dont know unless you've done it
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