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What is Considered a Valid ID in France and Italy?

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May 3rd, 2013, 01:28 PM
  #1
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What is Considered a Valid ID in France and Italy?

I don 't wish to open the age old debate on whether or not to carry your passport or to keep it at home. That's been done to death. I am in the camp of those who carry my US driver's license (with photo) and a copy of my passport, and leave the actual passport tucked away safely in the hotel or apartment.

This stated, I've never needed to show identification for any activities on former trips. This time, there are a few things that require an ID:

Paris Museum Pass - I think you must show ID when you use it.
Firenze Card - same
Several ticket reservations - Scavi, Borghese Gallery, etc.
Purchase a SIM card in Italy

My question is this:

Will my driver's license and passport photocopy be acceptable identification or is the actual passport required?

Thank you for the help!
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May 3rd, 2013, 01:30 PM
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That should not say "at home." Obviously, I will have the passport with me in order to travel abroad.

Rather, I meant at the accommodation.

I tend to "nest" quite nicely when I travel, and am already referring to the accommodations as home! =D
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May 3rd, 2013, 01:40 PM
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Will my driver's license and passport photocopy be acceptable identification or is the actual passport required?>

I think that there is no blanket answer for that as it is often up to the discretion of the ticket seller, etc. and I think most would let you slide - I never had to show ID to buy a Paris Museum Pass anywhere, even when buying it or in any Italian museum - who do they care is coming in as long as they've paid?

Bored civil servants also seem to not really care that much IME.
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May 3rd, 2013, 01:53 PM
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Legal ID's are either passports or ID cards - which most EU states including Italy and France issue for their citizens while the USA and also the UK don't have them. A drivers licence is no legal ID, neither is a photocopy of your passport.

Museums etc. may or may not be content with a drivers licence with photo, you are dependent on the goodwill of the person behind the desk.
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May 3rd, 2013, 01:55 PM
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As Pal said.
You will probably hear from most that they never had show ID. After all, most items on your list are just about getting a discount or picking up tickets which you already paid for.
IME, places which require government-issued photo ID would say so and give examples, e.g. Airlines which usually list at least in their FAQs what type they accept and what not.

The only item on your list where I could imagine a higher risk of having to show "real ID" could be the purchase of the SIM card. As this is not a matter of the phone company but a law that there must not be anonymous purchases of SIM cards. So the sales person may feel inclined to enforce that law. Or not.
To be on the safe side, you could purchase the SIM card near your hotel so you could just get the passport if it was required.
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May 3rd, 2013, 02:04 PM
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I've had to show my passport to get a SIM card in Italy and France, but since I carry the actual passport and not a copy, I have no idea whether the copy would have been deemed acceptable.
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May 3rd, 2013, 02:09 PM
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Can't answer about Italy, but in Paris, all you want to do is use a museum pass? The reference is to the fact that they are specific to a person and you have to put your name on them when you buy them. So one can ask for ID when used, although I've never seen that happen. I'm sure any ID would be okay, they aren't going to be that hardcore about something like that even if they checked. Now who knows, you could get some crazy museum clerk, I suppose, but I can't imagine it.

Other than legal purposes, like getting arrested, it is up to the discretion of the institution requiring it, they can do whatever they want -- that holds for stores, museums, even exchange bureaux. Not that many people use them any more, but I've used just photocopies of my passport for ID in Paris lots of times, even when I was exchanging travelers checks, as well as in some store, as I recall (I think FNAC requires ID for foreigners using credit cards).

so museum passes have nothing to do with the law. However, the same issue does arise with some metro passes in Paris, also, which you don't mention. Maybe you don't intend to buy one, but a Mobilis daily metro pass, for example, also has your name on it, it's like the museum pass. At least it is supposed to, there are places for it which you are supposed to fill out.
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May 3rd, 2013, 02:19 PM
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The drivers licence, even a French one, is losing ground in France, because there are notices up at the post offices saying that a drivers licence is no longer valid for retrieving a registered letter.
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May 3rd, 2013, 02:54 PM
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Very good information from all of you - thanks so much.

It sounds as though I will be fine using a passport copy for everything except the SIM card, which I kind of expected, especially from what I've read about Italy.

Christina, regarding Paris transportation, I was planning to get the Navigo card since we will be arriving Paris on a Monday. It is my understanding that for that card, you provide a 1x1 photo that is laminated onto the card. So, I don't think I will need ID for the metro. In the event that we don't get a Navigo card, which metro passes in Paris will require an ID? It seems that it would be time consuming to show ID upon boarding every metro ride. I'd like to avoid that if possible.
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May 3rd, 2013, 03:50 PM
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What is Considered a Valid ID in France and Italy?
Posted by: darlenef17 on May 3, 13
I don 't wish to open the age old debate on whether or not to carry your passport or to keep it at home. That's been done to death. I am in the camp of those who carry my US driver's license (with photo)


A driver's license is only needed for driving. In Europe it is as good as your library card for ID. Just leave it home, in the USA.
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May 3rd, 2013, 03:57 PM
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"In the event that we don't get a Navigo card, which metro passes in Paris will require an ID?" NONE, you would most likely just by a carnet of tickets and simply use one as needed.
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May 3rd, 2013, 06:16 PM
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We had to show passports to pick up our Scavi tickets. Not sure what would happen if you didn't have one - since we did - but I would hat to miss the tour.

We re of the school that carry passports at all times - since if anything is going to happen to it we would want to know right away (not that anything ha in more than 100 trips to europe).
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May 3rd, 2013, 07:06 PM
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I've never had to show a passport for scavi tickets. You do need a passport for sim card purchase.
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May 3rd, 2013, 07:33 PM
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What seems to be the problem about having your passport on your body?? If you need ID then this is the only official type for tourists. No DR. Lisc., No Health/Ins. card.,No Copy of Passport. If you never need ID thats great but if you do..better have it!!! They fit in a money belt easily.. Just be aware of were it is and keep it near!!!
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May 3rd, 2013, 08:18 PM
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Thank you all for your information and input. It sounds like only the SIM card purchase will require the passport.
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May 4th, 2013, 01:13 AM
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Note that if borrowing/hiring audioguides and the like, here in Italy you'll often be asked to surrender something of "worth" - mostly in the sense of items that are a considerable pain to replace!

Not a profit-making scam, nor so they can track you down... but simply so you bother to return the equipment when unransoming your credit card, driving licence or passport - and a photocopy will rarely be adequate!

But as said several times already, everybody has to present the appropriate documentation when buying SIM cards - including we residents, and native Italians...

Peter
http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde
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May 4th, 2013, 12:15 PM
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"In the event that we don't get a Navigo card, which metro passes in Paris will require an ID?" NONE, you would most likely just by a carnet of tickets and simply use one as needed.

Well, as I said, you do indeed have to put your name on a Mobilis card and therefore, in theory, a transit policeman could ask you to prove it was yours by showing your ID. That is the only one like that other than the Navigo. You have to understand the reasoning, it is that for passes they are giving a big discount for unlimited use. Therefore, they want to make sure several people don't pass it around amongst them, that's all. They don't care who you are in terms of age or nationality.

I don't think you understand that it's just like the museum pass, you can be challenged as it is just for you, but the odds are very slim you would be questioned. But you never have to show ID to board a metro or bus, of course. YOu don't even have to show ID to buy the Mobilis all-day ticket, that isn't the point. The point is that it is personal to one person, it cannot be used by several, and that is the way they regulate that (in theory, as I said, I imagine they don't challenge it except in the case of riff-raff they suspect of something illegal).

So other than the Navigo and Mobilis, no individual ticket is that way, although I suspect the tourist pass Paris Visite might be, actually, as it is unlimited use, also, that is the key factor. I've never bought one and wouldn't advise it, anyway.

Museums are the same in Paris in regards to perhaps having to lave something of value if you take an audioguide. It isn't really a matter of ID, but something you really want back and won't leave without. They do take driver's licenses, credit cards, etc.

I think a driver's license is accepted as "offical ID" a lot because it is, actually, it is issued by a US governmental body and is not like a health insurance card which doesn't usually have any personal info on it nor photo. I suspect there is no universal definition of "official ID", it depends on the purpose, of course. If you are in legal trouble, of course, your passport would be required. However, if you are stopped on the highway in France, you would be asked to show your driver's license, obviously.
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May 4th, 2013, 12:21 PM
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In the Netherlands for most purposes a driving licence is accepted as ID, provided it had a photo and your name and date of birth.
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