Carry ID in Europe

Römerberg ("Town Hall Square") in Frankfurt

Römerberg (“Town Hall Square”) in Frankfurt, as written here

Yesterday’s tip was about how you’ll get fined for running out of gas on the Autobahn, a tip drawn from an insightful Afar post called 7 Surprisingly Illegal Things to Avoid in Europe. Another interesting tidbit from that post: “In European countries such as Germany, Hungary, Russia, Cyprus, Ukraine, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, and Spain, you are required by law to carry official identification on your person at all times. If you’re a non-European resident, that means your original passport, not a photocopy. This is especially important in places where you’re obviously a tourist, either because of the language you’re speaking or your appearance—you don’t want police doing random checks to have an excuse to fine you or come with you to your accommodations to verify your identity.”

I found this surprising because I’ve been to Europe dozens of times and I’ve rarely had my passport on me. However, I always carry my driver’s license and though I’ve never had any trouble, I’ve also never been asked for my ID by police. You can read the full post here.

 

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Johnny Jet

I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

4 Comments on "Carry ID in Europe"

  1. We took a cruise and went to Belgium. The cruise ship held our passports and made us a copy to keep with us on our shore excursion. (Only for Non-European travelers). I found that kind odd.

  2. On tour in a bus in Austria, the driver got fined 200 Euro for going 1 KPH over the speed limit, he had just came off the highway and was entering a small town with a low speed limit, he was slowing down and got clocked by photo radar at 1 KPH over the 50 limit and pulled over and had to pay the fine on the spot. The police said they were sorry but once the photo is taken, it registers the plate number and is in the system and they have no lee way even if it’s only 1 KPH over. I normally think that most places give a 5 KPH window for errors but not so in Austria apparently.

  3. I was driving our rental car between Balboa and San Sebastián, Spain after dinner, without incident. Several weeks after returning home to California, we received a piece of mail from Spain addressed to my husband. From what we could tell, it was a speeding ticket from the night I was driving between the two cities. I hadn’t been pulled over, but a detector had caught my speed (3 kph over) and a camera had taken a photo of our plate and of me driving, the car company gave them our info. I wasn’t even aware that they did this! The ticket was written
    in the Basque language, with some Spanish sprinkled throughout, so we had to use Google Translate to figure out what to do about the ticket…it wasn’t cheap! So, even if you don’t see the policia in Spain, they are always watching!

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