Forgot Passport - Prosecuted

Old Mar 24th, 2013, 12:38 AM
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Europeans carry around with them either local (for their own country)ID cards or passports.I can never understand the advice to leave them in hotel rooms.>>

just to make it clear, in the UK there is NO legal requirement to carry any ID, whether you are a UK citizen or not.

and whilst ribeirasacra may be correct that non -UK european laws require this, i habitually leave my passport in the hotel safe and in 45 years of travelling in europe, i have never been asked to produce it except when crossing borders [the OP's problem] or booking into a hotel. oh yes, and when trying to buy something with a credit card in El Corte Ingles in Madrid.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 02:02 AM
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Just to pop in here, I have on two occasions been asked to produce my UK passport on Swiss trains to verify my use of a Swiss Pass. I also assume that my passport is the most important document I have when abroad, it proves my nationality, tickets etc can be replaced passports take longer.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 02:05 AM
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ann,

the UK is in the minority of EU or Schengen countries which do not issue ID cards. Roughly 400 out of 500 million Europeans have ID cards.

The obligation to carry also discriminates between nationals and foreigners in each country.
If you say that foreigners do not have to carry ID in the UK, I will surely believe you.

In reality, one will hardly need the passport for anything but crossing a border - where those still exist.

But there is a common misconception, usually by tourists from overseas incl. the British Isles, about the Schengen area legal requirements.

You still need to carry valid ID for intra-Schengen travels, there are just no checkpoints or passport control any longer when you travel from, say, Stockholm to Lisbon or Amsterdam to Hamburg. But you still need to carry.

OTOH, these liberties are balanced by increased competences for police in the Schengen countries. In each country, police has the right to check ID of any individual in major transport hubs (e.g. airports, train stations) and on major transit arteries, like railway lines and on major highways and motorways. For this, police needs no "reason" to check you through the SIS, the Schengen database, but can do spot control totally at their own discretion.
And while EU countries like the UK do not participate in the free movement of people across borders, they are in fact participating in the Schengen agreement in so far as they pool data in the same SIS database. And can access that data also when a foreigner who violated a Schengen provision tries to enter the UK.

In the old days, when you still had your ID checked at border crossings, police would have needed a "reason" (I have forgotten the exact translation for that, but I guess you get the point) to stop you and check your ID.

Last autumn, for example, I got checked while riding the ICE from Frankfurt airport to Munich.
If you consider how little time you actually spend abroad as a tourist, chances are high that you will never experience such "hinterland controls", though.

Which is, more or less, the same as what that Arizona State Law provides for. And is targeted in the same direction.
But even before that, and maybe a decade ago, I ran into spot controls near the AZ/Mex border and on the I-8 from Yuma to San Diego.

From what Google says, foreigners/tourists are also required in the US to carry passport and visa (waiver) documents with them at any time. Though I must admit that I did not take the time to dig out the respective Code for that.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 03:34 AM
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In all my travels abroad, both for work and for pleasure I have never carried my passport with me when I am just going out and about. I do leave it in a hotel safe or in the apartment. I carry my drivers licence (with photo) with me for ID. I think the hassle of trying to replace a passport if I get my bag knocked off, no I am not wearing a body pouch thingy - would be far more inconvenient.

Obviously I have it when I go over a border. I have never been asked to show my passport except when booking into a hotel, or when I am actually moving between countries.

I wanted to buy something expensive from Printemps once in Paris and to get the duty free price a passport was required. I just went back the next day with my PP and got the discount.

Schnauzer
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 04:06 AM
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Possibly the most interesting and potentially useful post I have read in a long time.

This is one of those rare times when I wish Fodor's allowed sticky posts, posts that were always pinned to the top of the site.

How many times have we read, "Don't carry your passport, carry a copy." The collective wisdom was wrong, at least for Switzerland. Those officious shopgirls in France had every right to require passports as identification.

Now, many more of us will travel with lumpy waist belts.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 04:23 AM
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annhig - in the Netherlands anyone over the age of 14 must be able to produce a valid ID when asked by an empowered officer (and that includes the Boswachters - who care for state owned woodland). Failure to do so results in a €90 fine (€45 for 14-16 year olds)
Most people have an ID card issued by the local council. As a British citizen I don't, but I always carry my drivers licence with me. If you have a photo ID then that is generally accepted, unless they require your immigration status.
For cross border travel an official ID card or passport is always required.
Certainly on ICE trains they do regular checks, and also in Amsterdam they can, and do, do spot checks.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 04:56 AM
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what schnauzer said - i prefer to run the minor risk of being stopped and only having my driving licence on me [I do tend to carry that] than the major inconvenience of losing my passport or having it stolen.

and let's not forget that the only reason that the OP ran into difficulties is that s/he forgot that s/he needed a passport to cross a border.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 05:28 AM
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Very interesting, you do know you have to carry roughly $10 in Switzerland to prove you are not a vagrant.

I've learnt a lot from this thread, as a Brit I've assumed that joining the EU meant we took our laws into the EU and given how hard we have fought not to carry ID cards I find it amazing but true. The UK government carry all the ID info for each country and the bit I like best is that in Italy a photo copy will do within the country

Still I have used a "Beano" membership card to get into the Louvre.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 05:33 AM
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A museum isn;t crossing the border.

And I am always amazed by people who carry all their valuables in some sort of pack or elt or whatever under thir clothes. Must be terribly hot and uncomfortable. Also a pain when you want to buy something (I have seen tourists in shops pull one of these things out of their shirt to get money to buy something - weird!

Have been to europe ,ore than 100 times and never had a problem - and carry everythng in my purse - regular purse for business trips and small Sportsac for vacations.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 05:39 AM
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I would send anything to anybody. You have no idea how many bogus emails I get. Letters as well.

Call the closest Swiss consulate (or embassy if you're near DC) and explain what happened. Make an appointment to see them.

That way you know you are avoiding a scam.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 06:05 AM
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ann,

the same problem would have occurred if OP had been on a train from Zurich to Geneva and had been checked.
Spot controls on long distance trains (and not only international trains) are not uncommon. In some jurisdictions, you may be able to legally identify yourself with a drivers license. In others not.
It is no big deal if you roam around in the city where also your hotel is.
But if you were taking, for example, a day trip from Munich to Nuremberg, and forgot your passport or ID card, and got checked, this would result inevitably to a trip to the nearest police station at the next stop. No kidding or scare-mongering at all.

I assume that is hard to swallow for visitors which are not familiar to mandatory ID cards or think that it is the work of the devil.
But whatever your point of view is, it has absolutely no relevance when you decide to break the law.

Therefore, the blanket advice to leave the original passport in the hotel may suit some folks' comfort zones, and it may be possible to identify yourself with a DL or even a copy of the passport in some countries.
But as a generalized statement it is absolutely bogus and dangerous if you don't know how the country you will be visiting handles this matter. And the law is not uniform across the EU or within the Schengen area.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 06:12 AM
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I left my passport in my friend's hotel room while going from Switzerland to Paris for one night on the train.>>

s/he was checked because s/he tried to cross a border without a passport.

this has got nothing to do with whether you choose to wander around europe without your passport clutched to your chest at all times. I appreciate that it is a requirement in Schengen countries to do so, but you should appreciate that unless you do something daft like the OP, the likelihood of your being stopped and required to produce it is vanishingly small, as my experience, and that of many other "foolhardy" travellers testifies.

not bogus or dangerous at all, just a personal decision.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 06:20 AM
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I can't wait to see how this will turn out!

Folks, csrry your passports and leave your copies in your room as that will expedite replacement matters should you lose the passport.

There is no way I would release personal financial info to the Swiss authorities until it was absolutely clear that I had to.

The country is nuts about stuff like this. I lived there for 3 years and all I can say is the Swiss attitude toward money is tight, tight, tight.

Good luck MCKWE. It sounds a bit like a fishing expedition and once you send the docs in (sans personal financial info) will hopefully disappear.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 06:33 AM
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I would presume the issue is that the OP didn't have a passport on him, the fact that it was a border was simply because that was where they were checking them.

NOw I always carry a copy of my passport on me at all times, I don't know why most people do not. It obviously doesn't take up any space (a piece of paper in my wallet). Of course I would always carry my passport if I would going to another country or overnight anywhere while traveling, or any place I will encounter border authorities, etc., but I don't always on a daily basis if I'm just going to the movies or walking down the street or going to a store (in Europe, I mean). But if the authorities asked for a copy of the passport in the citation, it would seem to me that if the OP had had at least a copy of their passport on them, that would have sufficed? Because if it would suffice later, why not at that point in time.

COpies have always been accepted when I try to use them for things that are not governmental, which isn't surprising, I guess (like stores who want them if you use a credit card, even money exchange places).
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 07:35 AM
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"foreigners/tourists are also required in the US to carry passport and visa (waiver) documents with them at any time"

I believe that. Back when I had a US green card (permanent resident card) it said right on the card that I was required to carry it at all times.

"And I am always amazed by people who carry all their valuables in some sort of pack or elt or whatever under thir clothes. Must be terribly hot and uncomfortable. Also a pain when you want to buy something..."

I have done a great deal of travel over the last decade and I have almost always worn a money belt. It is only hot and uncomfortable in weather when you would be hot and uncomfortable anyway. I am so used to wearing it that I feel undressed when I get home from a trip and stop wearing it. I NEVER access it for money in public, I carry a day's supply of cash where I can easily get at it. (I currently use this one: http://tinyurl.com/d2srlq2 )
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 10:06 AM
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<b>annhig on Mar 24, 13 at 9:38am</b>
Wrote:

<i>Europeans carry around with them either local (for their own country)ID cards or passports.I can never understand the advice to leave them in hotel rooms.>>

just to make it clear, in the UK there is NO legal requirement to carry any ID, whether you are a UK citizen or not.

and whilst ribeirasacra may be correct that non -UK european laws require this, i habitually leave my passport in the hotel safe and in 45 years of travelling in europe, i have never been asked to produce it except when crossing borders [the OP's problem] or booking into a hotel. oh yes, and when trying to buy something with a credit card in El Corte Ingles in Madrid.</i>

No there is no European law. I never said there was; I said in MOST European countries it is a requirement to carry ID. So when you are in what ever country the UK law does not prevails. That is (in most counties) you must have ID with you at all times. If you do not you could face arrest.

I have never been asked for an breathalyser test, whilst driving in the UK, but that does not mean I want to break the law.
Another illustration that UK law does not prevail. In most counties in Europe you have to carry around all the paperwork too. You never get a 7 day producer certificate from the police, unlike the UK.
For those who do not understand a Link: http://www.motordefenceteam.co.uk/of...-producers.htm
Just do not break the laws and everything will go splendidly.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 11:24 AM
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Another illustration that UK law does not prevail. In most counties in Europe you have to carry around all the paperwork too. You never get a 7 day producer certificate from the police, unlike the UK. >>

I never said it did either, ribeirsacra.

nor did i say that there was a european law, nor that you said there was.

I said that non-UK european lawS [ie pertaining to non-UK european countries] MAY require this, but UK law does not.

that was to assist people travelling in the UK, not to suggest that the same rules prevail outside the UK, as was obvious from the context.

it does explain why people like me choose not to carry their passport when we are "abroad" except when it is definitely required at borders. it's open to everyone to make a decision about this.

<<Just do not break the laws and everything will go splendidly.>>

if only that were true.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 01:07 PM
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This whole document thing only started in the 1890s and never for the working classes only the upper classes. Seems like we fought for freedom not to be documented and still the b@@@@rs get us.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 02:23 PM
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indeed bilbo.

though i think it has a lot to do with the differing attitudes to bureaucracy between the british system on the one hand, and the european/napoleonic system on the other.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 03:15 PM
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Good grief.

It must be too hard to understand that in many countries it is not only required at borders but at any time, anywhere you go. Do you read that? Not only at borders. Anytime, anywhere.

What do you do when you run into a cop in Zurich or a state trooper in California who wants to see your passport/ visa? Sing "Rule Britannia" and show a stiff upper lip while you get a free day trip to the next precinct?

If you wish to exercise your "right" not to be documented, then you should not travel to countries where you break the law when you do as you do.
And since you have to "get documented" to obtain a passport to leave the country in the first place, this is mildly ridiculous anyway.
As if your government wouldn't know where you live, eat, shop or fart in the post 9/11 reality with easy access to cc and travel data, or CCTV at every street corner in some countries.
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