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Old 12.04.2011, 13:07
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Driving to Germany and back without passport

Good morning,
We have scheduled a vacation in Germany for Easter.

Problem is that my wife's passport will be in the US embassy and because of the Easter holidays she won't get it back soon enough. My passport might also still be at the Embassy, but luckily I have another one.

We have only been stopped (and had passports and trunk checked for 10 minutes) once in 6 months while crossing through German / Swiss border before , however, with U.S. plates I'm getting stopped frequently by Swiss/French border patrol around Geneva (about 3-4 times this month now - about every 3d crossing) - albeit they didn't check our passports/ids/car papers, just asked nationality and destination.

I'm aware that she's not supposed to be without passport, however, she
has a valid Swiss carte de legitimation and valid US license (I know it's not generally considered a valid ID piece in Europe). She'd also have a receipt from the Embassy along with a copy of her passport.

I searched through forum extensively, and realized that people often forgot their passport and used other means for ID (driver's license, id card, apartment lease).

What do you think is the worst thing that can happen on German border? (my thinking is that after giving us hard time they would turn us back)

What about Swiss side? (I'd assume we'd get a lecture but be allowed to proceed, since they'd be able to verify Swiss IDs).

Thank you
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Old 12.04.2011, 13:41
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

Last week I crossed the French border with a full van and only B permit with me, I was checked had no problems (non EU nationality), I was never asked for passport.
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Old 12.04.2011, 13:56
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

EU citizens travelling between EU member countries don't need passports (just some form of ID) - as CH and US are not within EU, technically your wife needs to have one.
9 times out of 10 (or even 99 out of 100), you may travel across the border never having to show it .... but you only have to catch the wrong border guard on the wrong day, and it could cause you complications and delay.

Often Embassies/Consulates are able to issue temporary travel permits in lieu of lost passports for their nationals when abroad. Although your wife's passport isn't lost, have you enquired if they are able to do the same, if they can't "process" her actual one in time.

If you can travel legitimately, it can save a possible headache.
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Old 12.04.2011, 14:53
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

As both Switzerland and Germany belong to the Schengen Area (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_area) there should not be any regular border controls anyway. In any case however I guess you need to be able to produce your Schengen visa or the like while within that area. I suggest asking the embassy, they should certainly know.
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Old 12.04.2011, 14:57
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

Normally you should have no problem. But... I really would not take the risk. You only need a custom's officer who is bored, got on the wrong side of the bed, or does not like the look of you or your car, or whatever. Check with the Embassy first.
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Old 12.04.2011, 15:36
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

If you have permission to reside in Switzerland you have the permission to visit Shengen countries. Just take your "Swiss carte de legitimation" and you should be OK.
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Old 12.04.2011, 15:45
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

Does she have the Swiss residence permit? Bring it with her if she does. It should be no problem. I always travel only with it when I cross border to and from Italy. But I have the Swiss plate!
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Old 12.04.2011, 15:51
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

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but you only have to catch the wrong border guard on the wrong day, and it could cause you complications and delay.
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You only need a custom's officer who is bored, got on the wrong side of the bed, or does not like the look of you or your car, or whatever.
I took that little train that goes between Domodossola (Italy) and Locarno (CH).
I showed my Permit C to the border guard and was told it wasn't a valid travel document. I had my passport with me but he still gave me a ticking off anyway. There's no point arguing with these guys. I reckon some of them don't fully understand the rules themselves.
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:02
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

What!?

Except for tax refund, we really don't need our password for traveling within the Schengen countries...

Did you write a letter to get the ticket waived or what?


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I took that little train that goes between Domodossola (Italy) and Locarno (CH).
I showed my Permit C to the border guard and was told it wasn't a valid travel document. I had my passport with me but he still gave me a ticking off anyway. There's no point arguing with these guys. I reckon some of them don't fully understand the rules themselves.
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:08
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

I regularly go into Italy with no passport.

If you don't look Tunisian, you should be ok with everything you have. I'd bet that you don't get asked for documents going in or out of Germany.

Source for Tunisian comment: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-refugees.html
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:09
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

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EU citizens travelling between EU member countries don't need passports (just some form of ID) - as CH and US are not within EU, technically your wife needs to have one.
Swiss also don't need to use passports withing the EU, EFTA and Schengen countries, even before CH was part of Schengen. I've traveled for years using only a Swiss ID card.

Now, while Schengen means no BORDER control of passports, it doesn't mean that they can't do a passport control elsewhere, i.e. at a roadblock.

And, while a Swiss could perhaps get away with something other than a passport or ID in the Schengen countries, a US person cannot (legally).

Tom
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:10
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

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What!?

Except for tax refund, we really don't need our password for traveling within the Schengen countries...
Schengen merely removes the requirement for countries to carry out passport controls - it does not negate the requirement to carry a valid identification document .
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:16
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

From what I can gather, a custom's officer only has to have a 'suspicion' of anything untoward to ask for papers- any excuse will do, and they don't have to give you a reason. They might say there is been a burglary in the next town, or they had a tip off about drug smuggling, whatever. At our local border control, those they stop are either

foreign plates other than F
any old, battered vehicle, especially with NO NUKES style stickers
any man with long hair, piercings, tatoos, etc
young men who have an usual suntan for the area

Before we moved here a couple of years back, i was asked for all documents (had a hire car with AI plates). I was then asked to pull to the side so they could go and electronically checked passport and driving licence. He apologized when his colleague told him I was visiting my parents who lived around the corner.

Last Christmas we were stopped near the border at an impromptu check point - about 5 customs officers where there. The first one asked for all my documents- he was very stern and looked a bit over-zealous. My sil and bil were in the back and were very surprised. Two of the other officers then turned round and shouted 'fais pas l'con, c'est Odile!'. Over they came, kiss, kiss, kiss and a big hug, leaving the young officer a bit stunned. They had both been on an English course at our house in UK a couple of years back.
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:49
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

Even I (Non EU with B permit) was not asked passport at the german border while driving to stuttgart alongwith my other friends.

My other 3 friends had their passports checked, but I presented them with my B permit and it was all ok.
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Old 12.04.2011, 17:06
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

I had a similar problem last year and I don`t know if my experience will help you . . . but,
My passport was at the Russian Consulate in Bern waiting for the issue of a visa - during this time I wanted to go by car to Berlin for the weekend (I am British, by the way).
As I had heard that there can be checks but also it`s possible that you could go straight through - to be sure, I went up to the border at Waldshut, took all my documents proving that I was waiting for a visa (take a copy of your passport, which I assume that you have).
They issued me with a NOTREISEAUSWEIS which is basically an emergency pass - it cost me around 70 euros and they only accepted cash.
In the end . . . . . sorted.
Hope this helps.
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Old 12.04.2011, 17:24
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

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Except for tax refund, we really don't need our password for traveling within the Schengen countries...
Actually, for tax refund, your residency permit is needed, not your passport - for a UK resident (anyway), there is no address in the passport, so it is useless for that purpose.

OP: in my experience, getting back into CH, your residency permits will hold more value to the Swiss than your passports - it is an official Swiss document that specifically shows you are allowed to be in CH and is an acceptable form of ID.

For the Germans, they of course would prefer a "proper" international document, i.e. passport.
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Old 12.04.2011, 17:52
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

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Actually, for tax refund, your residency permit is needed, not your passport - for a UK resident (anyway), there is no address in the passport, so it is useless for that purpose.
In France I was asked only my passport number. They filled all the documents, one shop gave immediate de-tax another will send me a check after I send the swiss import stamp.
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Old 12.04.2011, 18:02
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

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In France I was asked only my passport number. They filled all the documents, one shop gave immediate de-tax another will send me a check after I send the swiss import stamp.
In Germany I presented my passport for a tax refund and it was refused. The difference may be in the mechanism of refund, which in France is usually via the (rip-off) postal system.
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Old 12.04.2011, 21:33
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

I have a similar problem. How long does it take to renew visa D? Mine expires on the 20th (im going to renew it tomorrow in Aarau) and we have to go to germany that weekend. Thanks for info.
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Old 15.04.2011, 15:41
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Re: Driving to Germany and back without passport

I apparently have a simmilar problem...i applied for a B permit more than 3 month ago, and untill now i haven`t got my permit. It so happned that i needed to go to Italy for a week, i came to the Visa office in Geneva and i got a tourist visa in a day (they said that as we have your documents in process, you are elegible for a fairly easy procedure of getting a visa)
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