Passport or ID card

CalonDdraig @ 07-05-2008 00:08

I thought I'd ask around here as I'm planning a trip round France, Germany, and possibly Poland and Slovenia as well...

How doable is it to travel round western (and parts of eastern) europe without a passport using other formal ID like a driving licence instead?

I plan on renewing my passport before I leave anyway, but just in case it's not doable in time (and UK passports cost a LOT!) I'd like to know the other options.

Thanks in advance!

Pete @ 07-05-2008 08:18

hi... 🙂

normally you won't be asked for an passport when crossing borders, also in Eastern Europe as most of the countries now belong to the European Community. but you need at least an ID Card (not a simple a driving license) for the following reasons:

(1) when checking in a hostel, they often want to see your passport/ID card

(2) in some countries (for example Germany) you need your ID card with you as adult to control if you are the person on the passport - be sure you won't be controlled, but in the case it will, you have a problem.

(3) the most important reason: your InterRail ticket is a personal ticket. your name AND passport/ID card number is printed on it.
so you need a passport, because when the train staff control your ticket, you sometimes have to show your passport/ID card as well!

have fun,

admin @ 07-05-2008 09:55

Hi there,

I've never heard of people being able to go through UK passport control with a driving licence instead of a passport and I just found some information that I think you should be aware of. This is from Easyjet's site:

Before you travel abroad you must hold a valid passport, even for a day trip. Make sure you apply leaving plenty of time before you’re due to travel.

I think moving around internationally when inside the Continental EU is easier but getting in and out of the UK is a different matter.

Hope this is helpful. Best of luck.


I thought I'd ask around here as I'm planning a theretrip round France, Germany, and possibly Poland and Slovenia as well...

How doable is it to travel round western (and parts of eastern) europe without a passport using other formal ID like a driving licence instead?

I plan on renewing my passport before I leave anyway, but just in case it's not doable in time (and UK passports cost a LOT!) I'd like to know the other options.

Thanks in advance!

Thomas S @ 07-05-2008 16:13

When passing borders in Eastern Europe (e.g. Greece/Turkey, Turkey/Bulgaria, Bulgaria/Romania...) police officers will enter the train (or, the slighty more exciting version, make you leave the train and stand in line) and check your passport. We never tried just showing an other type of ID, but I would'nt count on it being succesful. Also, many hotels want your passport while you're there.

Mixed20 @ 13-02-2009 18:54

Never risk travelling without a valid passport of ID card. I am a Dutch national residing in the UK, I once lost my passport and wanted to cross the french/uk border at calais and i was detainded by french immigration police for more then 12 hours. Trust me u don't want to be there in a dirty police cell, horrible police officers that don't speak english and rubbish food. Make sure all your documentation is in order before u leave.

stfontes @ 04-07-2009 21:57

I was wondering this as well. I'm from Portugal, I'm travelling to UK, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy and Spain. Do I need a passport or is another form of ID ok?

SiDUDe @ 05-07-2009 16:31

You certainly need a Passport for the UK, since were not in Schengen (well, sort of). Also, I doubt the Czech Republic is a Schengen country

marko90 @ 08-07-2009 20:26

When travelling inside Schengen area (I believe all EU countries are now in Schengen area) you need a passport or ID card. I am certain ID card is enough to enter UK when coming from EU, even if you fly in. And Czech Republic IS Schengen country.

stfontes @ 08-07-2009 20:27

Well, I got my passport anyway. Stupid thing cost more than my ticket to London... 😐 I guess I'll have to do some more travelling to make up for it... :P

SiDUDe @ 08-07-2009 20:48

My bad, national identity cards are accepted, its kinda hidden away here:

surprises me as we are not really in schengen

Though British passport holders do require their passport with them when travelling on journeys to/from/within Europe/the EU. is from the BA website, which is what confused me somewhat. I assume it is the same for non UK passport holders coming in

Mixed20 @ 13-07-2009 13:49

The UK and Ireland are definately no Schengen countries so you always need to show your passport at the border (ferry terminal, channel tunnel, eurostar, airport). As the UK have no official ID cards, as a British citizen you always need your passport.

EU members with a valid ID card scheme can however enter the UK with their respective ID card eg a Dutch national can travel from/to the UK with a ID card. Non EU nationals always need a passport. However I recommend if you live in a Schengen country and travel between them always take at least your ID with you, sometimes border officials carry out spot checks, in the Netherlands they call them identity checks.

undercore @ 15-07-2009 12:17

Hy. I will travel from venezia ( italy) to Sofia ( Bulgari) , i will pass throught serbia but only by train, i have to take passport with me?

SiDUDe @ 15-07-2009 17:18


delinda @ 22-06-2010 19:59

Stupid question...but do I need passport to buy an interrail one country pass or is the ID card enough?

Flo @ 22-06-2010 21:09


ID card is enough to purchase the pass. But you may need your passport during your trip, depending on where you are going to.

Flo 😎

Lulita @ 25-09-2010 16:51

Hi everybody!!if anybody can help me I would be reaaaally happy..the case is that I'm Argentinian and Swiss,I have both passport and by now I've been leaving in Switzerland for 6 months.I want to buy the Interrail global pass for 15 days,the problem is that my Swiss passport has already expired.Can I buy it anyway? If the passport is just needed to demonstrate that I'm the pass holder and that I'm an EU citizen is ok to buy the interrail ticket,isnt it? In case that police ask me for papers I would be able to show the Argentinian passport.. Would that be ok?? I could buy the eurail but is much more expensive and it doesnt cover the same countries as Interrail!

Flo @ 25-09-2010 20:05


Well...officially your Swiss passport has to be valid when you use it for buying an InterRail pass and travel with it. But if you have been living more than six months in Switzerland and can prove this by some (valid 😉 ) documents you can also use your Argentinian passport to buy your InterRail pass.
So your InterRail pass would look like this:
Passport Nr: of your argentinian passport
Country of residence: Switzerland

Border controls dont check your tickets, they only want to see a valid passport in case of a control. But I wouldnt recommend using an outdated passport for purchasing an InterRail pass in case that you are checked by an attentive conductor.

Flo 😎

Lulita @ 25-09-2010 20:26

Thanks for the quick answer!!! This forum is really great 🙂
The matter is that as I'm a swiss citizen living in switzerland (as any other)they just give me a paper that says that I've get the residence in here,it doesn't say since when!
There would be a problem if I buy my Interrail with my Argentinian Passport but with residence in Switz(as you suggest) and traveling with my Argentinian Passport,My Swiss passport(that has expired) and that paper that says that I'm living in here but not since when?!
I guess there wouldnt be any problem as I'm also a Swiss citizen even if my passport is not valid! or would be?

Flo @ 25-09-2010 23:40

OK, two options for now:

1: Using your outdated Swiss passport for buying the ticket and showing the conductor, using your valid Argentinian passport for border controls
2: Using your valid Argentinian passport for buying the ticket and border controls, showing the residency paper without date to the conductor to prove your Swiss residency

So, you are definitely fine with border controls, only thing to worry are conductors who check your ticket and passport thouroughly. In my experience, about 1 out of 10 conductors check the passport/id together with the InterRail ticket itself...
I'd say, you could have arguments with a conductor either way...but you should be able to explain your situation - as long as the conductor can understand you. 😉

Have you thought about renewing your Swiss passport? Or is there any kind of other ID existant in Switzerland that you could easily get as a Swiss resident - because you dont neccessarily have to use your passport to get the InterRail ticket.

Lulita @ 26-09-2010 17:36

Tomorrow (as its laborable day) I'll remove heaven and earth trying to get my updated swiss passport so that I can travel in peace,or any other paper with some weight that confirms my residency...
Thanks you and Peter for the AMAZING work you do in here!! 🤣

toni88 @ 18-07-2011 09:07

hi peter

a night train stopped and searched at the border of Croatia and Slovenia by the police, please help
Good day

Pete @ 18-07-2011 11:06

Hi Toni.
I don't understand what you want to tell?
Peter 🙂

toni88 @ 18-07-2011 12:55

Dear Peter

the border of Croatia, Slovenia, the train is controlled by border police, yes and no. ❓

qao qao toni

Pete @ 18-07-2011 15:11

There is no general answer:
as you can be controlled at borders even between France and Germany - travelling in between of two Schengen countries.
Do you want to know if you can travel with your nationality to Croatia and Slovenia?

sinabsis @ 14-09-2011 11:13

Hi everyone, here is the question.

I have got Cypruss passport which is about to expire in 10 days, and Cypruss ID. I have to go to a Country that has a Cypriot embassy to extend my passport for later, which is because I live in Turkey and there is no Cypriot Embassy in this country.

If I cannot travel within 10 days to a country (Such as UK - London, France - Paris..) to extend my passport, is it possible to travel after passport is expired, and enter the EU country (England for example) using the ID at the airport ? Do they let me in with the ID?

P.S. Cypriot citizens are given rights in UK as UK citizens (also the Indians have the same rights with English people). Does this matter ?

Thanks and regards.

nltrainer @ 14-09-2011 20:18

NO since a few years'thanks those terrorists agian'you MUST have a VALID passport or ID at all times. it used to be that passprts were accepted even when expired for a few monthes ONLY in the Eu and ONLY by EU nationals, but this is withdrawn. I have no solution for your problem. It is much better to ask thse things at an embassy or consul of your country or in some forum that is more specialised in these matters.

nltrainer @ 14-09-2011 20:22

and here are the rules for travel IN the EU for those holding an EU or EFTA =incl. also NO, CH, IC:
to travel IN thse countries you MUST have a valid ID, this can be either a passport or an official ID card- IF your country issued those. SOME nearby countries to the EU also accept an ID card and not a full passprt, but this is often very restricted.
The SCHENGEN zone is NOT identical to the EU, as IE+UK are not in and NO and CH are. Even though they say that alll border checks are withdrawn, this is NOT true- there will still be occasional random checks. It is again high time that these Brits learn what this all is, their general knowledge about EU-mattersis really appalling low, most EU sstudents learbn that at lyceum and high school

sinabsis @ 16-09-2011 08:33

So I have got a valid ID card of Republic of Cyprus; Cyprus is a EU country but non-Shengen. Can I enter France with the valid Cyprus ID card ??

sinabsis @ 16-09-2011 16:15

I have found the documents for the explanations thanks.

Required documents for necessary countries.


dutch16 @ 25-01-2012 16:49


this summer i want from the Netherlands to Istanbul through Belgium, France, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria.
I am only 16 years old, so I am not allowed to travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina without a legal permission letter, so i skipped that out my planning.
My question is: Am i allowed to travel through Croatia and Serbia without my parents, and will they accept my Dutch ID card? or do I need a passport?

Flo @ 28-01-2012 13:25


I would contact the relevant embassies in NL for that matter.

Flo 😎

jolindbe @ 27-03-2012 21:06

I just thought that I should comment on this, since I've just bought my Interrail card from an official retailer, and my country of residency is not the same as my country of citizenship.

I am a Swedish citizen, residing in Denmark. There is no stamp or anything in my Swedish passport showing that I live in Denmark. I went to the SJ (Swedish Rail) office in Copenhagen (yes, they have a ticket office in Denmark). I asked for an Interrail card for myself, with Denmark as my country of residence. They wanted to see my passport, and said but it says here that you live in Sweden. I replied No, it says that I am a Swedish citizen. Then they told me that I need a stamp in the passport sayin that I live in Denmark to get a Danish Interrail card. I told them that since Sweden and Denmark are part of EU, Schengen, Nordic Passport Union, etc., that isn't anything you normally would get. I offered them my Danish health insurance card and my Danish driver's license, but they were not interested. It must be in the passport.

I asked them if they knew where I could expect to get one of those stamps in my passport. Well... in our instructions it says that you should go to an embassy. Well, I don't think the Swedish embassy in Copenhagen will make me a stamp showing that I live in Denmark, and I'm not planning to go to the Danish embassy in Stockholm (or any other country for that matter). Then they continued reading the terms&conditions, and finally found something that said approximately if no other proof of residency exists, go for the nationality in the passport. So they issued me a Swedish Interrail card, despite I am residing in Denmark since almost 2 years... I don't really mind, since I will travel Göteborg-København-Flensburg-southwards, and thus travel both in Denmark and Sweden (in retrospect, I should have brought my old Spanish proof of residence, which has no expiry date... 🤣 ).

So now I just hope this works out, and that my card isn't confiscated - but how would anybody know I am a Danish resident?

Pete @ 28-03-2012 09:16

It is often the case that staff at railway stations don't know the exact rules.
And indeed, it is hard to prove the residency within the EU, as you won't get a stamp. 🙂

The official words to prove your residency are: Your passport, travel ID or residency card should show this. You can prove your current address by showing governmental certificates, bank receipts, telephone bills or student visa.
Additional it says: You can prove your current address by showing governmental certificates, bank receipts, telephone bills or student visa. One of these documents should mention your address, and a date of longer than 6 months ago.

You see: no problem to get a Danish Interrail Pass - even without the stamp. 🙂

Buy next time here at railcc, then you directly support our work at the railcc project (and not only one of these big companies) and you get the correct answers. 🙂

But as it is okay now for you with your Swedish Interrail Pass, it doesn't matters... 😉
By the way: I get regularly mails of travellers which experience the same situation at railway companies offices like you did. 😢

Peter 🙂

gigilink @ 17-08-2012 13:25


I am an American citizen traveling with the InterRail because I am a SPanish resident. I was under the impression that I did not need my passport to travel in the EU and did not bring it along, I only brought my NIE which is my Spanish residency card. Today, I tried to go to England by ferry and was denied access. I assumed my NIE was sufficient but they informed me that I needed my U.S. Passport. I am very worried now because I will continue travelling (all through the EU) and don't have my passport. Will I be asked for it if I show my NIE?? I am going to The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium, I could have someone mail me the passport but want to be sure I need it,thankyou!!!!

sofiasch @ 28-06-2013 22:32

I just bought my interrail pass and i realized that during the reservation they only asked me my passport number. the thing is that i want only to bring my ID card to be less worried during my trip.
Do you think that i can have with me a photocopy of my passport and my ID with me, so that i can prove that the ticket is mine, or i have to bring my passport ?

Pete @ 29-06-2013 07:10

You can also fill in the number of your ID-card. If this ID-card is valid to cross borders and an official document. Some countries have ID-cards, some not, some only have passports ... in Germany for example you have both. In Austria the passport is the standard document... and so on. 🙂
And thank you for supporting railcc with your purchase:
Just let me know your PNR of your order (beginning with AA) after your purchase by personal mail and I can set you PLUS. 🙂
Peter 🙂

nltrainer @ 30-06-2013 11:54

in MOST IR-ticket vouchers the nr of the ID (whatever it is) should be filled in at point of sale and thus printed with the computer. THIS is (when bad luck hits-it will not happen often-unless you hit a fraud team) what will be checked when they check. You may expect big problems if you do not have that ID with you to show. But that does not mean it WILL ever happen.

Please login to write a message.

about railcc: We are real travellers and offer honest and well-grounded tips and tricks for your train journey. is partner and friend of
Deutsche Bahn Logo
Interrail Logo
Eurail Logo
Omio Logo
Trainline Logo
ACPRail Logo
NS Logo
SNCB Logo Logo
China Highlights Logo
12GoAsia Logo
Flixtrain Logo
Inlandsbanan Logo
Nightjet Logo
SJ Logo
RealRussia Logo Logo
Airbnb Logo
DJI Logo
Rentalcars Logo

COOKIES: by use of the railcc website, you agree to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy. For further information about the use and management of our cookies, we ask you to accept our cookies policy.