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Old 26.08.2015, 15:51
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Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

so the bus driver told me that I need a passport to go to Germany and refused to let me board. I thought what he said was bullshit and I sneaked in the bus, since I've traveled there many many times without it and I never had any problems. But then I just checked online and it seems that he's right. So have anyone who have similar experience and know what will be the consequences? I am a Non-EU, I have a valid Swiss residence permit and SBB travel cards. Don't think the half-fare cards works here...lol

I think my options here are sit there and face the police at the board like with a smile or hide in the bathroom when close to the boarder.

Any suggestions?
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Old 26.08.2015, 16:09
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

Suggest you change your location to "Germany" for the foreseeable future.

Your embassy is in Berlin and there are consulates in Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg; they can surely get you a passport.
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Old 26.08.2015, 16:14
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

You'll only have a problem if they ask to see your passport at the boarder. As you're on a bus, this is unlikely to happen, though you never know.
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Old 26.08.2015, 16:17
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

You're a non-EU, and possible non-CH citizen, so you're not allowed crossing borders without a valid travel document (which in your case might be considered valid only if it's a passport), even inside the Schengen area. The fact that checks are not vigorous, doesn't mean you can do whatever you want.

Technically speaking:

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All persons crossing external borders – inbound or outbound – have to be subject to at least a minimum check, although travellers who are neither EU, EEA or Swiss citizens nor their family members enjoying the right of free movement must, in general, be subject to a thorough check
You fall in the last category from what I understand, so I guess a guard in a bad mood could give you a really hard time.

Once I was travelling by car on the Dalmatian coast and when we reached the Croatian-Bosnian border, we didn't have passports but only our national IDs that other countries in our trip accepted as valid travel documents. We said to the guards that we're driving through since the road was cut-off the rest of the country, and the exit was literally 2-3Km away and we would be back in Croatia. They let us in but 5 minutes later we were stuck for a good 15' explaining to the other guards "how we ended up there without passports". We were lucky that the supervising officer just came after seeing the delay and let us go...
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Old 26.08.2015, 16:17
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

You might spend some time hoping the bus driver doesn't remember you.


If he does and tells the border guard he warned you, then the " I didn't know and made a simple mistake" excuse isn't going to be credible and you can expect to spend quite a bit of time answering lots of questions.
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Old 26.08.2015, 16:18
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

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Any suggestions?
Sneak around until you find a gap in the fence,




you haven't chosen the best time to be "sans papiers" in Europe have you?
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Old 26.08.2015, 17:24
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

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you haven't chosen the best time to be "sans papiers" in Europe have you?
I Noticed this morning crossing into France that they've got soldiers at the border (this was the Alschwil=>Hegenheim one) now. Dunno if it's all the crossings or just the ones that are usually manned, although one would hope they'd target the smaller ones first...
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Old 26.08.2015, 17:30
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

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I Noticed this morning crossing into France that they've got soldiers at the border (this was the Alschwil=>Hegenheim one) now. Dunno if it's all the crossings or just the ones that are usually manned, although one would hope they'd target the smaller ones first...
They were there last week too (Thursday evening).
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Old 26.08.2015, 17:45
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

Buses are very frequently checked, and so are trains. If caught you risk all sort of **** if you cannot produce the correct paperwork. The bus drivers here will stop at the border and ask to see someone if they suspect someone is 'suspect'. There are also patrols on the roads very regularly away from the border itself, and all documents are checked, unless they know you.

Last edited by Odile; 26.08.2015 at 18:15.
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Old 26.08.2015, 18:01
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

I have traveled dozens of times to Austria on the Railjet and not once have I been checked by the border patrol.

Anecdotal evidence warning: having said that, I remember reading some years ago that all foreigners in Switzerland are required to have their permit and passport with themselves at all times.
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Old 26.08.2015, 18:26
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

I used to travel fairly regularly between Zurich and Milan, and there was more often than not a border check. The border control would ask for passport, but would just say 'Thank You' when my hand was either reaching for my passport, opening rucksack or starting to hand over my passport.
I think it was actually opened and looked at once.
BUT if you don't have your passport, then as soon as you start to talk, you will have 'Guilty' written all over you face and questions and delays will follow.
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Old 26.08.2015, 18:40
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

I'm non-EU holding a Swiss residence permit. I got checked once in Germany on a long distance bus (Berlin-Munich). The polices were waiting at a petrol station where the bus stopped for a break. They asked both passport and the residence permit.

If you get checked and are asked for a document, maybe they are ok with your residence permit otherwise show them a digital version of your passport if you have one? I always have a photo of my passport in my phone.
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Old 26.08.2015, 18:44
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

Obviously you need a friend to drive to Germany, take your keys, go to your apartment, collect passport, drive to Germany, bring you back.

Otherwise, it will probably be a very long & expensive process.

You could of course buy a ticket, get back on the bus, pretend your passport is in your pocket, and hope they don't look for you.
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Old 26.08.2015, 18:45
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

When exactly will you pass the border again? If we have the exact day and time we can be more helpful.
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Old 26.08.2015, 22:45
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

So luckily i was allowed to go through. The officials/police took all foreigners' passport/residence permit and I told them that my passport is in UK since I am applying for their visa, and showed them my account of the visa page, which says my application is still in progress. The police didn't give a shit, but took my residence permit anyway, and told me that I might have to leave the bus. Later a crew with a dog came in, checked every seat. I took a pic of it cuz it's quite interesting, but the police asked me to delete the pic. Later the driver came back and gave back our passport/permits. He recognized me and became a bit mad. I tried to explained but he just left. After like 3 minutes the bus took off finally, and I think the issue is done.

So I guess nothing seriously bad is happening, that's great. It's the first time I got checked going through the German boarder, and I guess next time wherever I go, I will need to bring my passport. It just seems very redundant since, well, what's the point of carrying it?
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Old 26.08.2015, 22:49
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

Book a flight to the US and try it again.

We´ll get the popcorn out when you send the updates
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Old 26.08.2015, 23:01
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

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It just seems very redundant since, well, what's the point of carrying it?
Identification, among others.

Also, if a driver of a public transport medium asks you to do something, you do it and if he doesn't let you board, you comply.
If you think something's wrong with the way the bus driver treated you, you deal with this not by sneaking on the bus, but by asking about your issue and getting a clear picture of it and your rights - before boarding the bus in compliance of the rules.
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Old 26.08.2015, 23:04
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

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It just seems very redundant since, well, what's the point of carrying it?
Because that's why they exist!

Tom
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Old 26.08.2015, 23:48
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

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Book a flight to the US and try it again.

We´ll get the popcorn out when you send the updates
And... you will have plenty of time to send the updates because they will keep you in a small room for a looooong time. Unless you try to sneak on the airplane in which case it may all be over very quickly.
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Old 27.08.2015, 00:20
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Re: Traveling to Germany without a passport. What to do?? EMERGENT!

I've been checked once when coming into Switzerland by train. I showed my Swiss permit card and he read the numbers into the radio. He also asked where my passport was, but did not make me dig it out of my backpack. They were doing some sort of fairly aggressive check. Every ID was called in on the radio and I saw them leading a few women in Burkas or similar down the train.

So, I'd say that they usually don't check, but I'm sure it can be uncomfortable for the unprepared when they do.

Also, Germany does require foreigners to have official ID on them or easily accessible. That is, they don't mind driving you to a nearby apt or hotel to retrieve it, but leaving it behind when traveling across the country could be a problem.
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