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I.D. Please- Italy

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Aug 22nd, 2013, 10:57 AM
  #1
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I.D. Please- Italy

I don't want to get caught unprepared, so where do I need to be sure to bring i.d.?( not that I wouldn't have any but...) And does it need to be an original passport or is ia copy o.k. I f you don' t mind, I'd also like to know where you must check bags/ purses as well as cameras. I have read that at The Vatican and Borghese Gallery you must check everything. We will be in Venice, Florence, Rome. Thanks for the info in advance.
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 11:12 AM
  #2
 
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All foreigners in Italy are required by law to have ID with them at all times. A photocopy isn't a legal document so it's unlikely it would carry much weight with the authorities. Whether you carry your passport at all times is up to you, but at least you now know the law.
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:10 PM
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You are required to bring an ID with you, and for a non-Italian, non-EU citizen this means the passport (and immigration documents if you are staying for a long time). If you do not have an ID, you may be brought to a police station and kept there for the time necessary to check your identity. It does not happen frequently but it may happen. A copy is not valid, but if you have a copy of the passport, another form of photo ID in original and the policemen have more important things to do you may even walk out of a check (but still the law is that the original is required).
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:20 PM
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I have been asked for ID several times while at Italian football matches. I have always used my European style, UK driving license without any issues.
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:27 PM
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Unless you have something large, you do not have to check your things at the Vatican.

If renting audio guides at any of the sites, you will be required to leave your ID with them. I use a DL for that.
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 02:05 PM
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Bring your original passport. Make a bunch of copies, keep one copy with you, and put one in each of your pieces of luggage in case the airline loses them. We've never carried our original passports on the street if checked into a hotel. We've always figured--maybe wrongly--that the authorities will either let us go to the hotel to retrieve the original or call the hotel who will tell them they saw it when we checked in. So while sofarsogood is probably right, I don't foresee getting arrested simply for not having my passport on me and I think the consequences of losing the original outweigh the consequences of not having the original on me at all times.

Our experience is that you shouldn't carry bags or purses with you on the street because there are people who snatch them. My spouse's bag was grabbed in Rome. Thieves don't know whether there is anything of value in it, so they take it if they can. Leave your valuables in the hotel safe; wear a money belt or money purse around your neck under your clothes. If you're going to carry your passport, keep it in your moneybelt or money purse. If thieves don't see you've got anything, they won't try to steal it.

I do sometimes wear a backpack if I'm carrying travel guides and an umbrella and sweater, but usually don't do that.
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 03:02 PM
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there have been loads of threads about this - it's another hornets' nest!

you will need to show your passport to the hotel reception and they may keep it for a few hours. [don't know what the people who say that you must carry it at all times say about this? stay in the hotel until they've finished with it?]

yes it is the law that you need to carry ID but in all the times I've been to Italy, I've NEVER been asked for it and I'm sure that a photocopy would be more than adequate if by any remote chance it were needed. IMO [and again, this is controversial] the safest place for your passport is in the room or hotel safe.

whether to use a bag or wear a moneybelt, there are as many opinions as there are fodorites, but I've tried it, and found it a bit of a nuisance. I use a bag but keep as little as possible in it, and keep it close to me.

in the Vatican, you can keep a bag with you so long as it's not huge. my handbag was fine.
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 05:17 PM
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Even if you go along with "copy is ok" camp, you STILL need a solution to carry passports securely. How else do you move from the airport to your first hotel, and then from that hotel to another one in a different city? This is really a probability question. I have not yet asked for a real passport in streets in Italy. But I only interpret that the chance of needing a real passport on street is probably low in Italy. However, if I plan to purchase things by credit card and I might be asked for an ID, I would carry a real passport if the store might reject a copy and asks for a real passport and going back to my hotel is not an option. I never keep passports in bags that need to be checked. Cell phone stores always ask for a passport. I don't know if I could have done this with a copy or just give them the number. Since I usually do this at a airport, I always have a real passport with me.
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 09:02 PM
  #9
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Wow! There really are as many opinions as there are Fodorites. I initially planned to keep my passport on me and copies in the hotel, but now I wonder if I shouldn't carry copies along with my U.S. driver's license and leave my passport in the room/ hotel safe? I assumed I would need legal id ( passport) to pick up prepurchased tickets for museums, Vatican etc. ,but I dont want to find myself in a pickle minus my passport due to theft or loss. I'll have to put more thought into that one.

Is there anywhere else that I will need to check bags? I thought the Borghese required you to check all items.
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 09:32 PM
  #10
 
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You need to check your bag to visit St Mark's in Venice.

If traveling between locations and stopping to visit a site, what do you do with your passport? If you have it on your person, why not have it on your person when you reach your destination.
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 11:54 PM
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<<[don't know what the people who say that you must carry it at all times say about this? stay in the hotel until they've finished with it?>>

Hi Ann
the hotel only really needs the passport long enough to take your details, which can be as quick as making a copy to complete their forms at their leisure. After I've gone to my room and freshened up, and on my way out, ready to explore, I always ask for it back and there's never a delay. Otherwise, yes technically speaking you could be trapped in the hotel until you get it back!

Sometimes I just carry a copy, especially when I'm out at night. But I wonder how useful a copy is if someone in authority asks for it. Imagine a foreigner in the US presenting a copy to the FBI, I don't think they'd get very far with that. So maybe the only useful purpose of a copy is when your passport is lost or stolen, then you can quote the details to the police and your embassy for a replacement.

Be interesting to know when others have successfully used a copy of their passport.
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 02:23 AM
  #12
 
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I assumed I would need legal id ( passport) to pick up prepurchased tickets for museums, Vatican etc. ,but I dont want to find myself in a pickle minus my passport due to theft or loss. I'll have to put more thought into that one. >>

IME, never. interestingly, on our last trip our italian group leader insisted that we all take our passports to the Colosseum for our reserved tour, but they didn't even want to see hers, let alone those of the rest of us. if you've paid for something with a credit card, sometimes they will want you to produce THAT credit card on collection, but that applies mainly in Spain, not Italy. ditto needing a passport to buy something in a shop - Madrid yes, Rome no.

Be interesting to know when others have successfully used a copy of their passport>>

I would be interested to hear from all of these people who are so insistent that we all need to walk around with our passports all day [and all night] whether THEY have actually ever needed theirs. or even a copy. Who are these people in authority going around asking for passports? I've never met one, nor met anyone who has, either. and if anyone did insist on seeing it, without a reasonable excuse, my first reaction would be to question whether it was a scam to part me from it.

and would the FBI not accept the answer 'it's in my hotel room"? how many "foreigners" have been locked up for years in the USA because they hadn't got their passports on them?
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 08:28 AM
  #13
 
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I would be interested to hear from all of these people who are so insistent that we all need to walk around with our passports all day [and all night] whether THEY have actually ever needed theirs. or even a copy.

I have never needed to show my passport during the day, but not my driver's license either. My point is that when I am touring, I have to carry my passport with me. What's the difference whether I am seeing city A while touring or city B while staying at one of its hotel? The risk of losing the passport is the same. The point that another poster made is valid: imagine being stopped by authorities as a foreigner while visiting in the States. Would they accept a copy as a valid I.D.? Are you sure that they would kindly escort you to the hotel for you to retrieve your original passport? Whatever attitude on the part of the authorities you assume for this hypothetical, assume it while traveling abroad.

I keep a copy of my passport on my internet mail in case I lose the original one, which I have not lost in 45 years of travel.
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 12:49 PM
  #14
 
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The point that another poster made is valid: imagine being stopped by authorities as a foreigner while visiting in the States. Would they accept a copy as a valid I.D.? Are you sure that they would kindly escort you to the hotel for you to retrieve your original passport?>>

how many people do you know of who languish in US jails because the FBI/local sheriff wouldn't go to their hotel/motel and collect their passport? I've never heard of one. I think that stories about these poor people would have got round, don't you?

I note, Michael, that you confirm you've never needed to show your passport, or your driving licence.
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 01:05 PM
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except at borders and at times hotels. Actually I was stopped once in Italy in 1967 (and paid a fine on the spot) and once in Romania. The American passport came in handy as I was driving a car with Hungarian plates and I believe that it was only because of the U.S. passport that I was let go with a warning. A copy might have worked.

As for languishing in jail, that's an exaggeration. But I would be interested to know if visitors to the U.S. keep their passports in the hotel safe while doing other things than going to the beach or using the hotel pool.
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 01:33 PM
  #16
 
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But I would be interested to know if visitors to the U.S. keep their passports in the hotel safe while doing other things than going to the beach or using the hotel pool.>>

we certainly did.
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 01:37 PM
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"I would be interested to hear from all of these people who are so insistent that we all need to walk around with our passports all day [and all night] whether THEY have actually ever needed theirs."

In Italy, to use a computer in a cyber café.
In Spain, to pay with a credit card.
In Ireland, Italy, Spain, France to get a senior discount in museums.
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 01:38 PM
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except at borders and at times hotels. Actually I was stopped once in Italy in 1967 (and paid a fine on the spot) and once in Romania.>>

that's twice in about 50 years. not a common problem then.

As for languishing in jail, that's an exaggeration. >>

well, it's the logical conclusion from your earlier warning that the FBI would not accompany a foreign traveller to their hotel to get their passport. if we've ruled out locking one in the slammer for 30 years or so, what else are they going to do?
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 02:11 PM
  #19
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I always carry my driver's license but my passport stays in the hotel safe. When renting an audio they always accept my driver's license. The last time I recall being asked to see my passport was back in the days when I cashed traveler's checks and that was many years ago.

Last year I was in Spain and they asked for ID when using a credit card. I showed my driver's license and it was no problem.
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 04:06 PM
  #20
 
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not a common problem then.

But since I was de passage, I had to have my passport anyway. I am forgetting some instances: In Yugoslavia in 1967 I was stopped one night by a police road block. The Yugoslavs in the car felt that it was a good thing that I had my American passport with me. In Paris, when I was a student, I was stopped by a CRS and asked for my identity--it was in the waning days of the Algerian war when bombs were being planted in Paris--and I think it was a good think that I always carried my passport and the récipicé showing that I had applied for a student visa during my extended stay in Paris.

To each his own, but I do not understand the logic of traveling with a passport only to leave it in the hotel once arrived, unless once does not walk around doing tourist things between hotel stays.
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