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Crazy, I know... But Traveling without a Passport while driving through Germany/Austria

Crazy, I know... But Traveling without a Passport while driving through Germany/Austria

Apr 28th, 2008, 10:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 24
Crazy, I know... But Traveling without a Passport while driving through Germany/Austria

I know this is a odd question... but let me explain:

I live in Russia and I need renew my visa in July. In order to do so, I will have to either travel back to the US or I have had friends who have MAILED (FedEx) their passports back to the States while outside of the Russian borders. (Crazy, risky, unconventional, I know...)

My question is for people who have driven through the Schengen countries. (in particular, Germany, Austria, etc) Are there people at the border crossings checking your passports? And will I need my passport for hotel stays? My husband will have his passport. I will of course have my passport when I enter into the EU- but then I would mail it back to the States, get my visa, and pray that I get it back in time to return back to Russia.

hookemoph is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 10:58 AM
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I had a passport border check going between Schengen countries on my last trip, on the train. I think it was Germany - Netherlands. Most likely, they were trying to catch illegals, would be my guess. I seem to recall that Schengen border crossings can be put in place if the country decides it has a good reason.
WillTravel is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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You don't want to play around w/ immigration rules/visas. My guess is you really need to return to The States and do things by the book.

(having a relative living in Russia who has had visa "issues" - but I'm not an expert. Just anecdotal knowledge since I don't want to get involved in his "drama".)
janisj is online now  
Apr 28th, 2008, 12:39 PM
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Usually there are no border controls between Schengen countries - but sometimes they do sample checks. Especially if you are long-haired and smelling for marijuana, there is a probability that they want to see your passport.

I would suggest to take (1) a copy of your passport and (2) another ID with you. Hotels do not need passports, but sometimes you need an ID for credit card transactions.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 01:14 PM
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Under German law, it is a misdemeanor for a foreigner if he or she is not able to provide proper ID, i.e. passport in your case. The highest possible fine is €3K.
A driver's license is not considered ID.

There are spot controls, especially on trains. Controls are not only possible at former border crossings, but also on major highways in the hinterland.
Most hotels do not ask you to present your passport, but all require you to sign in upon registration.

If you plan to travel with photocopies of your passport, I would wait until you got the Schengen visa stamp, and then copy it.

So, probably you will not run into any problems, but it remains completely AYOR if you want to take that risk.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 01:14 PM
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I have been asked for a passport driving between Switzerland and Germany don't know about Austria.

Most hotels request a passport but I imagine a photocopy will be sufficient.
gruezi is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 01:35 PM
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Just because you sound American, look American & act American, doesn't mean people will either assume or treat you as American.

I presume there's some wonderful rule to do with Protecting The Fatherlsnd that prevents Americans renewing at their local embassy?
alanRow is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 02:52 PM
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alanRow - I don't think the OP needs to renew her US passport. I read it to mean it is her Russian visa that is the issue.

If so, it can be a very real issue - getting it renewed/reissued if she doesn't follow the procedures.
janisj is online now  
Apr 28th, 2008, 02:57 PM
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25 years ago I would have said go for it (i did ). the world has changed and the risks are great both financially and personally. Do this by the rules.
seafox is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 03:52 PM
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First - yes the hotels will want to see your passport. You don;t hacve to leave it with them but you have to show it and have them write down the umber.

Second, it is perfectly possible someone will ask to see you passport at a border crossing. Many smaller ones have no official borders - but the major rods with lots of trucks often do -since they're checking for goods/regulations.

I would never attempt to cross into another country - or even send my passport out of the country. You could need it at any time - and then where would you be.

And you're risking that the mails goes through, the Russian visa is processed (which can take forever) and the mail gets it back to you.

WAY too many risks involved.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 04:18 PM
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I wouldn't like the idea of living in a foreign country and not being in possession of my passport. What if there is a personal/family/ global emergency, and you want to get the hell out of Dodge? What if some Russian official decides you need to present your passport?

Too scary for me. But for those who like to live on the edge, you can send/receive by FEDEX, DHL and UPS from/to Russia.




Jean is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 04:26 PM
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Again - reading the OP, I don't think mailing the passport from Russia is the issue. Apparently they want to visit the Schengen zone (obviously she will need her passport to fly out of Russia) and then once they are out of Russia, mail the passport back to the USA.

So she would be passport-less and visa-less and be in Schengen w/o legal identification, and unable to return to Russia until she received everything back. And who's to say the visa would even be issued - it isn't automatic. More than likely it will be issued but she has no control if/how long to takes.
janisj is online now  
Apr 28th, 2008, 04:40 PM
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I think this sounds like ....and now the rest of the story......there is no way I would do this, that is why people who work out of the united states plan their R&R to come back. It not always fun to spend most of your holiday working on visas but I don't know any other choices.
jelane is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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There are certain circumstances where you are allowed to have two US passports. See if you qualify.
WillTravel is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 12:32 PM
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We were just in Germany and Austria this past week. On Saturday, when driving from Berchtesgaden to Munich, we got pulled over. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think they were looking for someone matching our car's description and when they found out we weren't them they let us go. But anyways, they asked for our passports. I'm not sure what would have happened had we not had them, but I wouldn't want to find out. I would get your passport.

tcreath is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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"I would get your passport

We need the OP to come back to clarify - but I'm pretty sure she has a valid passport. What she needs is a new visa to stay longer in Russia. Her plan seems to be to mail her passport to the States to get a new visa. She wants to travel into Western Europe before mailing the passport.

what I do know is -- 1) you don't want to over-stay your Russian visa. And 2) you don't want to travel around w/o any passport.

janisj is online now  
May 4th, 2008, 09:27 AM
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hi all,

thanks for all your advice! to clarify, yes- i have a valid us passport and yes, i know its risky to be without one in europe. unfortunately, the russian gov't just changed their visa rules this past year, making it very hard to renew your visas, ohter than going back to the US. (not an option for me during that time). i am looking into getting a second us passport- thanks for the suggestion!

believe it or not, i have friends that did this in budapest in january, another set of friends who are going to italy for the same purpose. all this to say, we are leaning towards doing a single country (ie no border crossings) so thanks for your suggestions and advice!

hookemoph is offline  
May 8th, 2008, 12:12 PM
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With regard to staying in a single country - when we were in Germany, we were asked for our passports pretty much any time we went on an inter-city train.
november_moon is offline  
May 8th, 2008, 01:01 PM
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Second passport is issued at the U.S. Department of State discretion for one of the following reasons:

* Frequent traveler does not have time to apply for visas between trips.
* For security purposes (for example, when traveling between Israel and anti-Israeli states).

Second passports are valid for a period of 2 years and can be extended upon expiration if necessary.

I would contact the consulate in Moscow for assistance. Except in emergencies, US passports are now produced at facilities in the United States. This change will increase processing time by approximately one to two weeks.

There are agencies like VisaHQ.com that can help for a fee.
Stormin280 is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 09:33 AM
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Hello all!

Just to let you know: We applied for our second US passports on Friday at the US Embassy in Moscow- and we will receive them in 2 weeks!

Thanks again for your great ideas! We will stil be traveling to Germany this summer, but now I won't have to feel like a fugitive. ;0)
hookemoph is offline  

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