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Old 25.09.2009, 11:07
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Passport Control in trains

Hi guys!

I was wondering if say I were to travel by train from Lausanne to Basel and then switch to take a train to Paris,would there be passport control on the French boarders?,

Similarly, if I come back to Switzerland by train, most probably to Basel, will the Swiss authorities have passport control, along the Swiss boarders or in Basel?

I've recently traveled to Germany by train from Switzerland and back and there was no control.

But in case they do check, is a student card sufficient instead of a passport?,
TY!
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Old 25.09.2009, 11:10
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Re: Passport Control in trains

Due to Schengen it's unlikely you'll be checked as you cross the border, but this doesn't exclude possible 'checks' later on the journey. Best to carry some ID when travelling internationally.
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Old 25.09.2009, 11:10
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Re: Passport Control in trains

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But in case they do check, is a student card sufficient instead of a passport?,
TY!
A student card is worthless at a border.
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Old 26.09.2009, 11:30
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Re: Passport Control in trains

always carry the passport....i have been checked on trains from italy and from germany....
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Old 26.09.2009, 11:52
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Re: Passport Control in trains

I travel on the TGV to and from Paris frequently.

I have never been asked for my passport on the ZH - Paris leg, I have however been checked coming from Paris back into Switzerland on more than one occasion by Swiss police/passport control. I also have been checked coming back from Milan to Zurich.

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I was wondering if say I were to travel by train from Lausanne to Basel and then switch to take a train to Paris,would there be passport control on the French boarders? Similarly, if I come back to Switzerland by train, most probably to Basel, will the Swiss authorities have passport control, along the Swiss boarders or in Basel
Note that if you are travelling from/into Geneva/Basel, there is officially a French and a Swiss area in both these stations and whilst it is usually unmanned you are sometimes required to cross through security to get to/from your train platform. Again I have only been checked coming back into Switzerland and not leaving.

My experience is it is always best to carry your passport with you. Bear in mind that whilst the Schengen agreement does aid freedom of movement the authorities are within their rights to ask for ID at any time and having the right ID on you will avoid any potential delays/detainment with your travel plans.
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Old 26.09.2009, 14:30
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Re: Passport Control in trains

I've travelled twice in the last year from Basel to Luxembourg and Brussels (on the direct train that starts in Zurich). Both times French customs boarded at Basel, checked all passports and questioned in quite an intimidating manner anyone with a non-French passport - where are you going, where do you live, what is the purpose of your visit, do you have anything illegal in your luggage (!!), etc. On the most recent trip, a poor man sitting near me (Scottish, I think) had his suitcase searched and was then hauled off, never to be seen again, for having a large amount of euros in his possession.
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Old 26.09.2009, 16:02
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Re: Passport Control in trains

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I travel on the TGV to and from Paris frequently.

I have never been asked for my passport on the ZH - Paris leg, I have however been checked coming from Paris back into Switzerland on more than one occasion by Swiss police/passport control. I also have been checked coming back from Milan to Zurich.
I have been asked for my passport in both directions, crossing at Vallorbe from Lausanne. Admittedly, they did little more than glance at it. On one occasion, they also had a sniffer dog.

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My experience is it is always best to carry your passport with you. Bear in mind that whilst the Schengen agreement does aid freedom of movement the authorities are within their rights to ask for ID at any time and having the right ID on you will avoid any potential delays/detainment with your travel plans.
Definitely carry your passport for these reasons.
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Old 03.11.2009, 23:03
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Re: Passport Control in trains

I have had my Passport/work permit checked when I was going both to and from Milan. I have a B permit but they also asked for my passport. So I would say that you need to carry your passport with you.
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Old 03.11.2009, 23:23
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Re: Passport Control in trains

I frequently travel fro Lausanne to Paris. I have been asked for my passport on a few occasions. Better to carry it to be on the safe side.
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Old 04.11.2009, 00:58
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Re: Passport Control in trains

I've only been to switzerland twice by train and once they controlled me... the boarder control came aboard and checked everyone... so there is certainly a chance they will control on the train.
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  #11  
Old 04.11.2009, 12:06
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Re: Passport Control in trains

I've had my passport checked from geneva to Neuchatel!
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Old 04.11.2009, 12:21
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Re: Passport Control in trains

This is getting silly. So there is enough proof that one can be checked.

But the real question is, for the OP, why did you ask in the first place? Why would you not travel without your passport to a foreign country, esp if you're not a Euro citizen. Is your passport heavy?
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Old 04.11.2009, 12:39
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Re: Passport Control in trains

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A student card is worthless at a border.
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This is getting silly. So there is enough proof that one can be checked.

But the real question is, for the OP, why did you ask in the first place? Why would you not travel without your passport to a foreign country, esp if you're not a Euro citizen. Is your passport heavy?
I disagree with Scott, and agree with HB

A student/employee ID is not always worthless at the border.

Technically, non-EUs (may be others too) are supposed to carry passport and permit all the time even within CH. But there can be situations when one can't.

As an example, once my passport was with US embassy for visa processing for a few weeks. During this period I had to pass borders from CH by train. I was checked. I of course had my Permit and a photocopy of my passport, but it made it easier for everyone since I was also carrying my ID to support my explanations.
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Old 04.11.2009, 12:44
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Re: Passport Control in trains

I went to Germany in the summer and was asked 3 times for ID. Once this side of Basel and twice in Germany. Customs and Police.
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Old 23.12.2009, 14:21
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Re: Passport Control in trains

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Due to Schengen it's unlikely you'll be checked as you cross the border, but this doesn't exclude possible 'checks' later on the journey. Best to carry some ID when travelling internationally.

I was checked by customs officers in Basel while coming from Brussels. First I was asked if i had beverages and cigarettes in my baggage i said no. Then they wanted to see my ID. I gave them my "Aufenthaltsbewilligung" issued by Swiss migration bureau, which did not suffice them (I did not shave for three days at this time), and was asked for my passport. My passport was damaged in the right down corner after they presumed the plastic cover had double layers. They looked into it for at least 20 minutes, calling everywhere and checking my identity (Yes, I have a non-EU citizen passport), and detached the plastic cover.

I asked them to write an "Akt" that they have damaged my passport. After they tried to discourage me from that by telling i would have to get off the train and that the passport was authentic, and even if the plastic layer is detached from the paper underneath, it is still ok to use. I said no, and I got off the train and have them write that protocol. At this time you can imagine how much humiliation it is when the whole train starts looking at you and thinking whatever they think. The custom's officers further tried to discourage me in their own office, starting running around, shitted their pants, which, I suppose, means that their behaviour was not quite legal, and after almost 30 minutes they gave the paper saying during the check that plastic "hat sich gelöst"...just like that, by its own...

So, yes one still needs a passport when entering Switzerland on the train.
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Old 21.01.2010, 01:15
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Re: Passport Control in trains

do they stamp on passport?
i have 1 enterence schengen visa
does it problem in controls
thank you
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Old 24.01.2010, 10:15
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Re: Passport Control in trains

Hi there. I was on a train from Basel to Germany last week and the moment we crossed over the border to Germany, there were border control individuals who did some random checks. I am South African Indian and I was asked to show my passport.
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Old 24.01.2010, 10:34
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Re: Passport Control in trains

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Hi there. I was on a train from Basel to Germany last week and the moment we crossed over the border to Germany, there were border control individuals who did some random checks. I am South African Indian and I was asked to show my passport.
I take the train often from Chiasso (Ticino) to Milan and my passport (I show my UK passport as opposed to Swiss) is 90% of the time is checked by Italian customs before I board the train.
I often have my suit case searched (totally emptied out) as well by the Italian customs and even had documents read where they have found documents of withdrawls of cash (often CHF 100,000 - not my money most of the time unfortunately) from Swiss banks and they have questioned me where the money is as you can only carry Euros 10,000 into the EC countries (I don't understand the purpose or agree with this rule).

I also notice that when the International train arrives into Chiasso from Lugano or Milan, customs bored the train and passports are again 90% of the time checked.
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Old 28.02.2017, 23:24
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Re: Passport Control in trains

A student card is not valid, and while a legal Swiss resident would eventually be let back in, expect a lot of delays without an ID card or passport for EU/EFTA citizens, or passport and residence permit for others, while your status is verified.

In my experience, the French check quite rarely, but the Swiss fairly often on the way back; however, unlike on buses, when travelling by train they often only check selected passegners, especially if the train's crowded.

Last edited by Crazydre; 28.02.2017 at 23:36.
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Old 03.03.2017, 19:44
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Re: Passport Control in trains

Prior to Schengen, passport control was done by both FR/CH at Geneva main station. There is still those facilities for tracks 7&8 and could be used (although some trains to France use other platforms). Perhaps the same applies at Basel.

Schengen, for Switzerland, is about free movement of people not goods. The French are pretty laid back about checking for Swiss purchased goods but the Swiss continue to take EU purchased goods seriously.

Always carry your passport, or EU+ ID card, and Swiss Permit when crossing borders. Offer them both when asked for your papers.
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