I was born in Canada but became a US citizen through my US citizen father at birth. My father lives in the US, so I came down here to acquire proof of my US citizenship (which of course I now have!)

I have now noticed DHS put a stamp in my Canadian passport with a date I have to leave (this is the first time I have ever gotten a stamp!) so I assume it is a Visa stamp, although I was never asked about my US citizenship or went through any application except a question on why I was coming to the US, in which I said "To stay with my father."

This date has now been overstayed.

Now I want to apply for my US passport, and have all the necessary documentation proving my US citizenship, although my only photo ID will be my Canadian passport with an HSC stamp with a date that I have overstayed.

Will this stamp somehow affect my application process? The passport website says nothing about valid visas for US citizens born abroad, but I have read that a US citizen MUST enter the US with a US passport. What is the best way to go about acquiring my US passport?

  • I think this happened to my boyfriend when he came State side (Dual Citizenship with New Zealand father and American Mother). I'll have to confirm, but suffice to say he has passports issued from both US and NZ.
    – hszmv
    Apr 5, 2018 at 20:22

2 Answers 2


You got an entry stamp, not a visa stamp. A US visa (aka "visa stamp") is a physical sticker that you have to go to a US consulate to apply for, which takes up one page of your passport and says "US Visa" on it. Canadian citizens do not need or get US visas to travel to the US for most types of nonimmigrant statuses, including as a visitor.

US citizens are supposed to use a US passport to enter and exit the US, but there are currently no consequences for violating this rule. You were admitted as an alien visitor for 6 months, but you can ignore that, as it doesn't apply to you since you are a US citizen and not an alien. You cannot be deported as long as you can prove that you are a US citizen. As a US citizen, you can apply for a US passport from anywhere, inside or outside the US, and it will not be affected by the fact that you entered the US on a foreign passport or "overstayed" the supposed admission period.


The answer posted by user102008 is entirely correct. Here are some answers to your specific questions in light of that information:

Will this stamp somehow affect my [passport] application process?

No. Limitations on stay in the US apply only to aliens; the term is defined at 8 USC 1101(a)(3):

(3) The term “alien” means any person not a citizen or national of the United States.

Therefore, the fact that you are a US citizen means that you are not an alien, and you cannot be treated as such simply because of a stamp that was placed in your foreign passport.

The passport website says nothing about valid visas for US citizens born abroad...

Indeed, US citizens cannot have US visas except in very rare circumstances. As noted, your stamp isn't actually a visa.

... but I have read that a US citizen MUST enter the US with a US passport.

That's true, but as noted there is no penalty for entering without a US passport, nor for using a passport other than a US passport. The statute in question is at 8 USC 1185(b), and it says

(b) Citizens

Except as otherwise provided by the President and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may authorize and prescribe, it shall be unlawful for any citizen of the United States to depart from or enter, or attempt to depart from or enter, the United States unless he bears a valid United States passport.

There used to be a stiff penalty for violations, but that was removed in the 1970s.

What is the best way to go about acquiring my US passport?

Just apply. You can apply at any post office or other passport acceptance facility in the US, or you can apply at a US consulate in Canada or in any other country.

  • Do you know whether the "stiff penalty" was ever applied in practice? I'd guess that it was removed because it was never applied anyway.
    – Brian
    Jan 4, 2020 at 20:03
  • @Brian when the stiff penalty existed, the restriction only applied during times of war, so it may well have been imposed in cases of espionage, but then again it may not have been imposed ever. The statute also formerly required "a valid passport" rather than "a valid United States passport," so it would not have applied to dual citizens using a valid passport from another country.
    – phoog
    Jan 4, 2020 at 20:37

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