Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: Dual Nationality, Holding Multiple Passports

irish and british passports

Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: Dual Nationality, Holding Multiple Passports

Today on Tuesday’s Travel Essentials it’s time to take advantage of all the passports you can get. You’ll need them – trust me. When you go travelling, your passports fill up quickly with visas and stamps so it’s essential to have a back up – dual nationality and multiple passports is the best way to travel. But passports filling up fast isn’t the only reason to have multiple passports. Getting visas for countries is another reason. You will find some nationalities can get cheaper visas for some countries, some nationalities can get visas easier and some nationalities are even denied access to certain countries. So have a back up. Do it and don’t hesitate. The trigger for this post was that recently two other Northern Irish friends of mine asked me if I ALSO have an Irish Passport. My reply to them should be, “I ALSO have a British Passport”.

northern ireland flag

The Northern Ireland flag I carry with me – proud of my Irish and British heritage in equal proportions.

For me getting dual nationality was easy. (Apologies to those who don’t have dual nationality, or cannot currently get it). Here’s why it was easy for me:

I’m from Northern Ireland.

I was born and bred in Northern Ireland. It’s a British owned country on the island of Ireland. Thanks to some clever agreements down the years, anyone born and bred in Northern Ireland has a right to be British or Irish. Or both. I have no qualms whatsoever in admitting I’m Irish and I’m British. It hasn’t always been like that for me by the way – but these days I’m very proud of both heritages. Being Northern Irish is the most ice cool thing on the planet. I love it.

British roots jonny blair

I’m proud to be British. Flying the flag at the British Base in Antarctica.

Nationality Number One – I’m British. I grew up in the UK in the country of Northern Ireland. I paid British taxes. I watched British TV. I went to a school governed by the UK. English is my main language. I’m proud of my British heritage.

delaneys hong kong paddys day

I’m proud to be Irish: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Delaneys, Hong Kong

Nationality Number Two – I’m Irish. I grew up on the island of Ireland. I support the Northern Ireland football team. I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (and yes I know he’s Welsh). I drink Guinness. I love potatoes. I’m Irish. I’m Northern Irish. So I own an Irish passport. I’m proud of my Irish heritage.

dual passport

The dual passport benefits – using my British one to enter Brazil a few years back.

So there you have it – I am able to get two passports, two nationalities and I feel equally proud of both. As I believe every Northern Irish person should.

irish visa iran

I used my Irish passport to get my Iran visa recently.

Here are the main advantages of having dual nationality and holding spontaneous passports for different countries:

– You have more pages in your passports therefore you won’t need to replace them as often ( I once got refused entry to Singapore for having no space in one of my passports – ludicrous decision but hey…)

– You can say you’re Irish or British and be correct with both (this is particularly helpful in countries like Iran and Argentina, where it’s better to say you’re Irish than British – less hassle)

– You can choose which passport to use based on the visa prices (a Chinese Visa is cheaper on an Irish passport than a British one)

– You can choose which passport to use based on the visa difficulty (An Iran Visa is easier to get on an Irish passport than a British one)

– You can choose which passport to use based on the visa qualifications (A Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa is ONLY available on an Irish passport and not a British one)

– If you do LOSE one of your passports, you have another one

– If you ever get rejected for a visa for a country, don’t get upset – you can reapply using your other nationality

– You can visit Israel, Malaysia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Nagorno Karabakh etc. without worrying about being permitted into other countries (e.g. having an Israel stamp in your passport automatically disqualifies you from visiting places like Iran and Iraq, same goes for holding a Nagorno Karabakh visa and then trying to get into Azerbaijan)

– You can freely pick and choose which passport to use each time you travel

You can check out some of my other passport and visa related posts here.

How to get a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa

Carrying Passport Photos

Carrying Photocopies of Passports

How to get an Iran Visa in Turkey

How to get a Suriname Visa in Venezuela

How to get a China Visa in Hong Kong

How to get a Vietnam Visa in Hong Kong

How to get a Myanmar Visa in Hong Kong

How to get an Ethiopian Visa at Addis Ababa Airport

How to get a Tanzanian Visa at Kilimanjaro Airport

How to get an Australian Working Holiday Visa

How to get a Second Australian Working Holiday Visa

So there’s a tip for you all – take advantage of your passport options and use them both. Believe me – you don’t want to be that British guy talking about the Falklands War to police officers at the Argentina border, just whip out your Irish one 😉

Safe travels.

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13 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: Dual Nationality, Holding Multiple Passports

  • Agreed. I have 2 myself. French and English.

    In Laos it was $20 cheaper to enter via my French passport… and much better not to show my British Passport in Argentina too much 🙂

    I really would like to know about the details of the Iran trip, how safe you felt. and general day to day details. It might be on my route Home from Sydney.

  • That’s really interesting. I’d heard if you were born in Northern Ireland you could get a British or an Irish passport; didn’t know you could get both, so that’s cool! I had no problems saying I was British in Argentina (either at immigration, or just with people generally – no one seemed to care!) though some older relatives of mine seemed worried for me before I went there.
    Sam recently posted…From on High: Top 3 Quito ViewsMy Profile

  • It’s a nice bonus for us Northern Irish, Sam!! I personally have no qualms with admitting I’m proud to be British (The Queen, home of football, decent NHS service etc.) and at the same time proud to be Irish (spuds and Guinness). Though for anyone that asks – I’m Northern Irish and that’s the flag I proudly fly on my travels. I used both my passports in Argentina (crossed the borders 6 times in total) because on the Iguazu crossing the guy was pretty rude to me on the British passport! Safe travels. Jonny

  • Good information there Stephane thanks!! Safe in Iran?? Are you kidding? This is by far the safest country I have ever been to on my travels. Friendly people, a load of sites, hitch hiking is safe and it’s cheap. The only real negative things are that taxi drivers are assholes (try and avoid them) and that the food is predictably bland/average. DOn’t just think about Iran – come here!! We’re doing a full month. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Great post. I was actually thinking of getting a German passport, as I think I might qualify for one. Could come in handy in for certain countries.

    You mentioned maybe not being able to get into some countries after visiting Malaysia – which ones did you have in mind? I’ve never heard it mentioned.

  • Manfred – I’d say take advantage of it while you can get it – German passport holders can get into places like Iran, Iraq etc. much easier than Welsh ones 😉

    As for Malaysia, Israeli citizens are banned from entering Malaysia and vice versa. If you have an Israel stamp and try to enter Malaysia, be prepared for lots of questioning, searches and possibly refused entry. The other way will be worse – a strip search on the border for sure. But if you plan to go to Israel after having been to Malaysia, I’d recommend going overland – its less strict. The problem is they won’t like you and will place the Israeli stamp into your passport, rather than on a separate page and that automatically rules you out of places like Iran, Syria, Lebanon etc. Safe travels. Jonny

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