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I am a dual national with a valid U.S. visa in a passport that has expired. Can I use the visa with my other passport, which has not expired? Is it possible to receive the same visa in each of my passports

By March 5, 2021Immigration

Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is no.

Background

Some countries allow nationals to hold more than one citizenship. For example, an individual born in Colombia might become a dual national by acquiring Swiss citizenship, thereby giving them the option to have both a Swiss and a Colombian passport. Let’s say this person has a B-2 U.S. visitor visa in their Swiss passport, but that their Swiss passport has since expired. On the other hand, their Colombian passport is still valid. Can this person simply transfer their B-2 visa from their Swiss passport to their Colombian passport?

Expiration of a passport does not impact the visa.

It is first important to note that a visa is not affected by the expiration of the passport it is in. In other words, a visa that was issued in a passport that has since expired continues to be valid. Fortunately, this means that you do not necessarily need to apply for a new visa if your passport has expired.

In fact, one option for individuals whose passport has expired is to present both the expired passport (which contains the visa) and an unexpired passport of the same nationality. Department of State officials are directed to accept this as sufficient evidence of visa and passport validity.

However, the unexpired passport must be of the same nationality as the expired passport containing the visa.

Returning to our example, can the individual whose visa is in an expired Swiss passport simply present an unexpired Colombian passport? No. The Foreign Affairs Manual is clear that “The alien’s nationality, as indicated in the new passport, must be the same as that shown in the passport bearing the visa foil.” In other words, if the Swiss passport holding the visa has expired, only an unexpired Swiss passport can be presented in order to use the visa.

To avoid this issue in the future, could the individual receive the same visa in both of his passports?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is also no. The government does not allow an individual to have more than one valid visa of the same classification at the same time, even if the visas are in passports from different countries. In other words, the individual in our example would not be able to receive a valid B-2 visa in his Swiss passport, and a concurrently valid B-2 visa in his Colombian passport.

For more information on holding multiple U.S. visas, see our earlier post here.

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