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I am a Nigerian mother residing in the UK with my daughter who is a British citizen. We all have Nigerian passports which are valid for travel however I just discovered her British passport has expired. Will she be allowed to travel with me to Nigeria with her Nigerian passport?

  • For Border Control your citizenship is defined by the passport you will provide. So, No, British citizen cannot travel with a Nigerian passport. Because as soon you will show Nigerian passport to the Border Control they will treat you as a Nigerian citizen. – user28434 Jul 15 at 16:02
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    @user28434 That's not correct. A dual citizen of the UK and another country can present the foreign passport at the border to prove her identity and prove her British citizenship by means other than a passport, and (if successful) will be admitted as a British citizen. The UK even explicitly accepts expired passports. The problem is the airline, not the immigration officers. – phoog Jul 15 at 17:45
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She can travel to Nigeria with a Nigerian passport, but she cannot board a flight to the UK with a Nigerian passport unless she has a visa in it, or a residence permit to accompany it, and she cannot get a visa or a residence permit because she is a British citizen.

Timatic, the database that airlines use to determine whether their passengers' documents are sufficient, actually notes that British citizens may enter the UK with an expired passport, so it's possible that the airline would allow your daughter to board a flight to the UK with a valid Nigerian passport and an expired British passport:

Document Validity:

Passengers with a British passport with nationality “British Citizen" are allowed to enter with an expired passport.

However, there could be a policy of the airline that prohibits this, or there could be a law in Nigeria that prohibits it. Even if the airline has a specific policy that explicitly permits it, it's likely for the ground staff at checkin to be unaware of it. After all, accepting expired documents is somewhat counterintuitive. I would not want to risk it if I were her.

If she will be in Nigeria long enough to get a new UK passport while she's there, then she should be fine. Otherwise, she should apply for an expedited passport before she leaves. This costs a bit of money, but it is probably a worthwhile expenditure to avoid having to cancel the trip.

  • I'm surprised that the airlines can get away with that. What could possibly be written in their terms and conditions that lets them deny boarding you to a country you have the legal right to enter? – Federico Poloni Jul 15 at 19:33
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    @FedericoPoloni presumably just vague wording about needing "valid" travel documents. US Citizens have the legal right to enter the US, even without any documents, but the airlines certainly aren't going to let you board without them. – mbrig Jul 15 at 19:51
  • @FedericoPoloni airlines can presumably require their passengers to prove their identity with a valid identity document, with the airline defining which documents are acceptable. While an expired passport might be sufficient for someone to enter the UK, the airline can decide that it is insufficient for them to prove their identity. – phoog Jul 15 at 20:33
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    @FedericoPoloni You have the right to enter the country. You don't have the right to use that specific airline to do it. – Fund Monica's Lawsuit Jul 15 at 20:41
  • @NicHartley Yes, but this is a different issue: the airline sold me a ticket, they have a contract with me, and now they need a valid reason if they want to deny me boarding. Probably it's in the fine print that the passenger must have valid documents to enter the country, but in this case I do have them. – Federico Poloni Jul 15 at 21:20
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  • She could travel with you to Nigeria.
  • She could enter back the UK with her expired passport (1, 2), as she is a British citizen, regardless of her passport status.
  • However, you may have extra issues with the travel back to the UK, since the air company will want to ensure you will be able to enter the country (as the company would be liable to the passenger and might even get fined).

Getting an expedited passport before departure would be the best solution, and that will also give you peace you will not face issues getting it on Nigeria or facing confused officers on entrance.

  • I don't think there's any question about your third point. The airline will not let you board with an expired passport. – Spehro Pefhany Jul 15 at 16:04
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    @SpehroPefhany if they check timatic, they actually might. See the edit to my answer. – phoog Jul 15 at 17:46
  • @phoog Good catch! – Spehro Pefhany Jul 15 at 18:31

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