I'm Chinese and currently waiting for my residence permit here in France. I'm not sure if my residence permit will be released before my scheduled trip in Europe. I'm planning to go to Belgium, Amsterdam, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. There is a chance that I will only have my temporary residence permit during my Europe trip. I will travel only by bus and by train. Do they usually check the passport and residence permit in buses/trains? By the way, the visa in my passport is already expired.

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    I am also aware of random checks of travel documents of travelers on trains and buses within Germany. Do not make this trip unless you have the proper documents!
    – mts
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 11:58
  • @mts Happened to me in France on the Paris-Mulhouse TGV as well, between Besancon and Belfort. That said, I had no ID on me back then and just declared my name, date of birth, address and nationality.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 13:02
  • @Coke but you're an EU citizen, aren't you? The stakes are higher for someone with a residence permit.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 12:13
  • @phoog Definitely, was more of a response to mts's comment. See my answer and you'll see I agree with your comment.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


There will be occasional checks at least when entering Switzerland, or Germany from Austria/Switzerland, or France from Germany/Switzerland/Italy. However, it's less common on trains than buses.

When entering Switzerland by bus, checks are very common, though not systematic.

I would not recommend you to do this trip if you don't receive your residence permit in time.

  • +1 I've seen the checks every time I took a train from Salzburg to Munich (which was only three times though).
    – George Y.
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 22:05
  • @GeorgeY. When, an was it on a railjet or local Train? They aren't systematic
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 22:12
  • Always on Railjet, always in Salzburg before departure.
    – George Y.
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 22:38
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    Yes, I will have to move our trip just to make sure that I already have my residence permit by that time. Though a lot of money will be wasted, since I already booked our trains, buses and hotels. I will just charge it to experience. Mistakes happen, lessons learned. We'll just do the right thing.It's really frustrating with prefecture. I submitted my application for residency last Oct 2017 and until now, they haven't released even my temporary residence permit. Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 12:52
  • @KathleenLao you could also rent a car instead. The odds of a checks are much lower then.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 23:41

There are random checks on both buses and trains. I've had my passport checked when traveling by train from Germany to France and when traveling by bus from Austria to Germany. I also had my passport checked almost every time when traveling to Switzerland, but the last time I went there was 8 years ago.

These checks are seemingly random, and (other than Switzerland) they happened to me less than 5% of the times I traveled across borders within the EU. I suspect checks are more common on trains and buses that are suspected of carrying passengers coming from eastern Europe, but I don't know that for sure.

If you have a temporary residence permit that is valid the entire time you are traveling, then that should be good enough. It shows that you have permission to be there.

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    There are exceptions, but most temporary residence permits issued by Schengen countries are only valid within the issuing country and not in other Schengen states. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 7:56
  • Yes, we're advised not to leave France with the temporary residence permit. Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 12:53

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