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I know that there is always a passport check when traveling by air. Is that the same case when traveling by train, bus, and car?

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I'm especially interested in hearing from someone who has recently made this border crossing. –  johndbritton Apr 27 '12 at 16:37

5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Poland is now in the Schengen border-free zone so there should not be any border check at all.

As noted in the comments, you will still need a valid ID to fly, but that is generally true even on domestic flights in Europe. It is purely for the sake of air security. That said, it is always best to have your passport when flying within Schengen as it is the most reliable form of identification in terms of being accepted as such.

As for travel by train or car, there should be no checkpoint (although some Schengen members have begun reinstating some checkpoints, Denmark for example). I've traveled between Prague and Berlin by train and there was no border check.

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You will still require some form of valid ID to fly but that's it. –  Stuart Apr 27 '12 at 12:52
    
This is a valid answer. Just to clarify: during land-crossing the border you may be stopped by border guard for control which does not differ much from the random control by police. This has never happened to me, though - chances are low. –  Krizz May 3 '12 at 19:13
    
I've heard recently of a border control in the bus crossing the border between Germany and Czech, but the bus was from Holland. Well, you know what they were looking for... –  Donaudampfschifffreizeitfahrt Jul 22 '13 at 20:36
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+1 Just to make another small detail explicit: The ID check is conducted by ground handling personnel, not by the police. You shouldn't have to interact with law enforcement or see your name checked against official databases like you would in a border check. –  Relaxed May 16 at 13:27

I travelled from Berlin to Poland (Krakow) by train. I had to provide ID when purchasing the ticket (it was for a Eurail pass), but nothing after that. At the border station (Szczecin), however, I had to switch trains - and there were a few transport police doing spot checks on people. I don't really know why or what they were looking for, but they stopped the Brazilian girl I was travelling with, and not myself - so it seemed fairly random.

Personally if I'm travelling in a country which isn't my own, I always carry my passport.

You can read my blog post on the journey if you want a bit more detail.

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I traveled from Berlin to Warsaw by bus with Ecolines in july 2012.

The bus departures around at 22:00 and it arrives to Warsaw at 6:00 (and it goes on to Lithuania or Kaliningrad).

At around 23:30 we were crossing the German-Polish border. There was nothing. I could see there are still offices or customs point. But no one there.

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There's nothing special when crossing border between Poland and Germany. In facts, it may be even hard to notice if you are only a passenger. Nothing special happens on the border.

However, the police controls are intensified near the border. The police can hold you anywhere and control your documents, so you must have your passport (or personal ID, if your'e the EU citizen) with you always when you leave home. But near the border, the controls are more often, and often look like they are made on purpose (the police is expecting someone suspected to travel with given bus - you must give your personal data when buying ticket).

Once I've got 2 police controls for the same bus, middle in the night! All passengers were woken and had to give passports / ID-cards. However, it's hard to give any rule, you can travel 10 times and be never controlled. The bus driver has reacted as if it was nothing special.

Please note, it's not a border control. It's exactly the same as the routine police control when you go to the nearest shop to buy sandwitches.

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I think you mean "passport" and not "passsword"? –  Michael Hampton May 26 at 17:47
    
And...do you really have to show your passport to the police to go buy food from a shop? –  Michael Hampton May 26 at 17:48
    
@MichaelHampton if they stop you, of course you must show it. –  Donaudampfschifffreizeitfahrt May 26 at 19:16
    
Yes, if you are stopped by police. But the way that you wrote it, it sounds as if it is normal to have to show your passport to buy a sandwich! Do they have police in every shop, or is it random shops on different days? –  Michael Hampton May 26 at 19:17
    
@MichaelHampton no, I've written, when you go for the sandwitch. Inside you're usually safe ;) Actually, I haven't noticed it in Germany, but in Poland, before afternoon, the police often stop random people, they have probably a kind of number of people to control on daily basis... –  Donaudampfschifffreizeitfahrt May 26 at 19:21

The police checks have been mentioned. It is also possible that Customs do check, but they are not interested per se in you as a person, but more what goods you bring along. Custom checks are still "legal" and possible within the Schengen area.

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The distinction usually comes up with respect to Switzerland and its implementation of the Schengen agreement. All other Schengen countries were also part of the common market long before Schengen so that controls were already exceedingly rare. The main things customs could be looking for are illegal drugs, weapons and the like as you can import virtually anything for your own use (as opposed to commercial purposes) without duties or declaration. –  Relaxed May 26 at 22:07
    
Yeah, by thinking of it, that makes sense; which means I revealed which intra-Schengen border I mostly cross… –  Max Wyss May 27 at 6:48

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