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Old 04.05.2015, 15:24
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Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

Hi All,

I am a Canadian with a B permit in Switzerland. I will not have my passport for a couple of weeks. (My passport will be a VISA office as I apply for a specific VISA to travel)

Can I legally travel to Schengen countries with ONLY my B Permit as identification, specifically by plane? I also have a Swiss drivers license.

I realize at many airports I will not even be asked for ID, such as Zurich, but is this a legal document to travel with, or do I need my passport as well?
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Old 04.05.2015, 15:37
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

Sorry, but no, you cannot travel outside Switzerland without your passport.

Your B permit can be used as a Swiss internal ID, nothing more.

Your driving licence is not a valid travel document either.
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Old 04.05.2015, 15:50
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

Can you not apply for a second passport? I'm not familiar with how it works for Canadians but British passport holders, for example, can apply for a second passport if they can prove that they have a need (for example if they need to apply for visas etc and they are likely to need their passport during the application period).
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Old 04.05.2015, 16:30
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

You can try and wing it without a passport and it is unlikely that you'll get into trouble - they don't check passports at airports inside the Schengen in most cases and I have not seen border patrol a single time when taking the Railjet from Zurich to St. Anton. Note, the crossings encountered by a car are quite often manned and you might be singled out for inspection for a large number of reasons.

The devil, as always, is in the details: you'll have a bad time if you need to id yourself for whatever reason. It can have entirely benign reasons like witnessing an accident and the police asking for your passport. I don't know what are the implications of not having a valid travel document with you. I think it is probably nothing too serious but you'll most likely have to run around embassies and the local authorities will not appreciate being inconvenienced.
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Old 04.05.2015, 18:13
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

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You can try and wing it without a passport and it is unlikely that you'll get into trouble - they don't check passports at airports inside the Schengen in most cases
Apart from two times (via train), the immigration officials (at both ends; within Schengen) have asked for my passport (in addition to my permit).
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Old 04.05.2015, 18:19
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

With all the asylum seekers illegally moving away from Italy, the border controllers are looking out for non EU citizens....

Your Embassy can give you a temporary passport if you convince them you are applying for a visa.
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Old 05.05.2015, 16:49
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

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Apart from two times (via train), the immigration officials (at both ends; within Schengen) have asked for my passport (in addition to my permit).
Could be, I didn't claim it was bullet proof. I have never seen the border patrol on the railjet between Zurich and Wien so there is that. I buy business class tickets (I'm not being snobby, they are very good value and often cost less than economy class flights), maybe they prowl the other carriages?
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Old 05.05.2015, 19:15
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

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Could be, I didn't claim it was bullet proof. I have never seen the border patrol on the railjet between Zurich and Wien so there is that. I buy business class tickets (I'm not being snobby, they are very good value and often cost less than economy class flights), maybe they prowl the other carriages?
As it happens, I was referring to the train journey between Zurich and Wien (the one without checks)!
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Old 05.05.2015, 20:46
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

Sharing my relevant experience - Indian citizen with B permit (skin tone is a bit darker :-)

I was asked to show passport while entering Ch during the below train journeys

a) from Paris to Zurich
b) from Milan to Zurich

Not only that, they also had asked my girlfriend (CH citizen - pale skin tone :-) to show her ID as she was accompanying me.

As we travel in and out of swiss (train and road) more than 50 times per year, this percentage of checking is quite low. But I always carry my passport just to be on the safer side.

regards
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Old 05.05.2015, 22:16
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

I had my passport stolen in Prague. I returned to CH and traveled to 4 other countries (Italy, Germany, Austria) in the following weekends by train/car and was checked once returning from Munich on the night train. I got yelled at but eventually was let through. I wouldn't try that again if I had the option and could throw money at the problem to get a passport faster as it was simply nerve-racking.

EDIT: Fourth country was the Vatican, haha.

Last edited by Curran919; 06.05.2015 at 00:16.
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Old 06.05.2015, 22:09
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

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Sharing my relevant experience - Indian citizen with B permit (skin tone is a bit darker :-)

I was asked to show passport while entering Ch during the below train journeys

a) from Paris to Zurich
b) from Milan to Zurich

Not only that, they also had asked my girlfriend (CH citizen - pale skin tone :-) to show her ID as she was accompanying me.

As we travel in and out of swiss (train and road) more than 50 times per year, this percentage of checking is quite low. But I always carry my passport just to be on the safer side.

regards

Hmmm see I have never ever been asked with travel across the EU for over 16 years. I do know if I fly to the UK I need my passport, otherwise it's at home (I have a scan on my phone) I know it's officially needed but they are not easy things to replace so given I have never been asked I have made the choice to risk it.

I'm shocked they asked between Paris and Zurich, I have never seen then asking anyone.

I am annoyed that the UK doesn't issue an ID card, would make life easier.
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Old 06.05.2015, 23:53
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

I had to show my (British) passport on the train from Milan to Zug at the Chiasso border.

One young woman in front of me was being questioned for quite some time; she had a passport with her but from her dialect I think she was from a Slavic country/Ukraine perhaps....the border policeman was going through her passport page by page and scrutinized it with a torchlight. I guess he was checking for fake passports or visa stamps. Eventually after a 10 minute delay he was satisfied and she was allowed to stay on the train.
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Old 07.05.2015, 08:25
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

I saw the French check a passport just across the border from Basel. They quite definitely targeted a young woman who was actually from Holland but obviously of African background. She spoke broken English and mostly Dutch and I could understand her but the French guy could not and it was pretty hard to watch the harrassment, but she handled it beautifully and was fairly oblivious that she was being racially targeted...

I have also seen the Swiss on the Italy border pull a whole group of young guys from Spain maybe off the train and go through their bags...

Nope, I wouldn't go without your passport either, especially if you do not look or speak like a 'Swiss'....
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Old 21.05.2015, 14:12
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

Hi all

I read all the posts in this thread but still would like someone would reply me for the same question as the OP but with a slight variation.

Can I cross the geneva border just for a day by car without a passport but with Swiss residence permit? I am yet to receive my passport from the US embassy.

Is at all possible to call some particular authority to whom I can pose this question?

Thank you in advance for your replies.

Best regards
awesome
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Old 21.05.2015, 22:41
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

Dear Awesome,


In my limited knowledge, swiss residence permit is not equivalent to Passport.

But because of the open border treaty, any valid ID proof issued by any of the 'Schengen' countries should be enough to enter the member countries.

Therefore, French authorities should not complain. Neither should the Swiss.

But immigration / law enforcement authorities in US and Europe are 'a bit' sceptical about darker skin tones :-). This is my perception based on some experiences - so no offence please.

current immigration issues in the mediterranean and terrorist attack in paris / ISIS etc have complicated things.

I am not saying that law enforcement personals are racist, but there is indeed a 'image' problem for coloured people (I am a dark brown Indian :-)).

I have already shared my experience above. And few other examples by other posts also 'kind of' confirm my perception.

So in my humble opinion, if your skin tone is on the fairer side, then do not worry at all. But if you are not white , there may be chances of harassment while entering swiss. The chances are pretty low (I have been challenged 2 times in all these years). But who knows :-).

Question : Cant you get a paper from the US authorities that says that your passport is in process or something like that? .

regards
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Old 21.05.2015, 22:51
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

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Dear Awesome,


In my limited knowledge, swiss residence permit is not equivalent to Passport.

But because of the open border treaty, any valid ID proof issued by any of the 'Schengen' countries should be enough to enter the member countries.

Therefore, French authorities should not complain. Neither should the Swiss.

But immigration / law enforcement authorities in US and Europe are 'a bit' sceptical about darker skin tones :-). This is my perception based on some experiences - so no offence please.

current immigration issues in the mediterranean and terrorist attack in paris / ISIS etc have complicated things.

I am not saying that law enforcement personals are racist, but there is indeed a 'image' problem for coloured people (I am a dark brown Indian :-)).

I have already shared my experience above. And few other examples by other posts also 'kind of' confirm my perception.

So in my humble opinion, if your skin tone is on the fairer side, then do not worry at all. But if you are not white , there may be chances of harassment while entering swiss. The chances are pretty low (I have been challenged 2 times in all these years). But who knows :-).

Question : Cant you get a paper from the US authorities that says that your passport is in process or something like that? .

regards

Totally right although sad, they judge names too. Have a friend who is married to a man with a super muslim name and he has a US passport but any time he travels it's a long drawn out thing when they go to the middle east or Europe. She kept her name, no problems. So her and the kids always tease him, see ya later when he's kept for "further review"
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Old 22.05.2015, 13:04
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

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So in my humble opinion, if your skin tone is on the fairer side, then do not worry at all. But if you are not white , there may be chances of harassment while entering swiss. The chances are pretty low (I have been challenged 2 times in all these years). But who knows :-).
Sadly this seems to be the case...especially if crossing over by car. I think after three years here (almost) I've not once shown my passport at the border. Really only when leaving Schengen at the airport.

Ive traveled to Spain, Greece, France (by plane) and even to England (BY CAR!!!) without a passport. The English entry one was really insane as it is not in Schengen at all but they still let us in. That, in retrospect, was the oddest day because they ended up issuing my wife and I 6 month employment visas with nothing more than a swiss B permit in hand.

Im not suggesting you travel without papers...im just stating that its not as rigid as I thought it would be.
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Old 22.05.2015, 15:52
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

if you are traveling by car, the odds of getting asked for a passport at the German, French or Italian borders are, in my experience, infinitesimally small. your odds when trying to re-enter Switzerland, however, go up exponentially. if you do get stopped in either direction, however, your B Permit will not impress the border guards and they will expect to see both your passport AND your B Permit.

in short, you can be required to produce both your passport and your B Permit. traveling with anything else is a gamble.
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Old 15.07.2015, 15:30
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Re: Can I travel without a passport in Schengen? (Non EU National)

Thank you all for your replies.
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