If you are an EU national, you do not need to show your national ID card or passport when you are travelling from one border-free Schengen EU country to another.
Even if you don't need a passport for border checks within the Schengen area, it is still always highly recommended to take a passport or ID card with you, so you can prove your identity if needed (if stopped by police, boarding a plane, etc.). Schengen EU countries have the possibility of adopting national rules obliging you to hold or carry papers and documents when you are present on their territory.
Driving licences, post, bank or tax cards are not accepted as valid travel documents or proof of identity.
|The border-free Schengen area includes:|
You must still show a valid ID card or passport when travelling to or from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom. Though part of the EU, these countries do not belong to the border-free Schengen area. Before travelling, check what documents you must have to travel outside your home country and to enter the non Schengen EU country you plan to visit.
Expired or lost passports
Under EU rules, all travellers (including infants) need a valid ID card or passport to travel.
But, if you have:
- lost your passport or had it stolen
- realised that your passport has expired
the EU countries have systems in place to deal with such cases.
It is, though, up to each EU country to decide whether and/or when it allows EU citizens to enter or exit their territory without a valid travel document.
See the current rules and information (where available) and/or visit the websites of the authorities of the country you are travelling both from and to :
As there are no EU rules on travelling without a valid travel document, conditions and procedures vary widely from country to country (and may change without notice). If you have already set off on your trip and:
- you're in the EU, your first port of call should be your country's consulate or embassy.
- you find yourself outside the EU, where your country does not have a consulate or embassy, you have the right to seek consular protection from any other EU country.
Bear in mind that, even where some countries allow you to leave or enter their territory without a valid travel document, you may still need to show one in countries you are transiting through.
Documents for minors
In addition to their own valid passport or ID card, all children travelling:
- alone; or
- with adults who are not their legal guardian; or
- with only one parent
may need an extra (official) document signed by their parents, second parent or legal guardian(s) authorising them to travel.
There are no EU rules on this matter, each EU country decides whether or not it requires such documents. Check, before the child travels, the requirements of the country you are travelling both from and to:
Bear in mind that, even where a country does not require minors to carry such an authorisation to leave or enter its territory, other countries they transit through may still ask them to show one.
When travelling by air it is highly recommended that you check with the airlines beforehand as many require such authorisations and have their own specific forms for this purpose.
As each country's rules may change without notice you are also encouraged to check with the authorities themselves or with the respective embassies or consulates.
See also: Taking children abroad legally
In very rare cases, an EU country can refuse entry to you or your family members for reasons of "public policy, public security or public health".
This means the authorities must prove you or your family members pose a "genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat".
You are entitled to receive this decision in writing, stating all the grounds, and specifying how you can appeal and by when.