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My 89-year old grandmother is a Bulgarian citizen and a US green card holder. She wants to travel from the US to Bulgaria, connecting in Austria, but her Bulgarian passport has expired. Her Bulgarian ID card is permanent and valid. Will Austrian Airlines allow her to board her flight? Would she be allowed to enter Bulgaria with an expired passport but a valid ID card? Thank you in advance!

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    Wikipedia says "Since 1 January 2007, the Bulgarian identity card can be used for travel within the European Union and the Schengen Area instead of a Bulgarian passport." which seems to imply it can not be used outside of Schengen, such as when boarding a flight from the US. – Tomas By Jul 18 '18 at 21:31
  • @TomasBy Rubbish: firstly Wiki isn't an authoritative source, and secondly you're loosely interpreting what it says. The Bulgarian ID can be used to enter and Exit any EU or Schengen Country regardless of where you fly to/from; that's a simple fact and I do that all the time with my Swedish ID! Check-in staff in the US will see that if they check their database and are obliged to let you board. – Crazydre Jul 18 '18 at 23:04
  • @TomasBy it's specifically because the Person has a European national iD AND a green Card. The Bulgarian ID is accepted for Austria and Bulgaria, while the Green Card is accepted for the US. And yes, not too many People realise it, but it doesn't make it any less true. – Crazydre Jul 19 '18 at 8:15
  • @Coke, please remember our nr 1 rule here, "Be nice". I will delete comments, you can introduce that information into your answer but please keep your tone neutral or nice. The tone of your comments was not that bad but the huge number of them was 'not nice'. – Willeke Jul 19 '18 at 14:03
  • @Willeke That's fine; I've always been known to be a bit too blunt (including IRL) – Crazydre Jul 19 '18 at 14:11
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According to Timatic, the database used by airlines:

Passport required.

Travel without passport is possible for:

Nationals of Bulgaria with a national ID card.

Document validity rules:

Passports and other documents accepted for entry issued to nationals of Bulgaria must be valid on arrival.

So she should be OK to enter Bulgaria with just her national ID card. Transiting Austria will not involve immigration checks, so there is no problem there. She can use her green card to clear TSA identity checks in the US.

  • " She can use her green card to clear TSA identity checks in the US." And to re-enter the US. You may wish to add that Timatic section as well. – Crazydre Jul 19 '18 at 8:16
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She doesn't need a passport at all, only a valid ID card.

To return to the US, she only needs her Green Card

So yes, she can fly there and back without a passport.

SOURCE (since Tomas By spreads false info based on loose interpretations of non-authoritative info):

Timatic, the IATA database used by Airlines, says:

Bulgaria: Passport Exemptions: Nationals of Bulgaria with a national ID card.

US: Passport Exemptions: Passengers with a Permanent Resident/Resident Alien Card (Form I-551).

So again, the simple answer is she does not need any passport at all whatsoever.

She should Show her green Card and Bulgarian ID when checking in for the flight to Bulgaria, then the Bulgarian ID when entering/exiting Bulgaria. When checking in for the flight to the US, as well as entering the US, she should Show her green Card.

  • Will tsa let her past the security check point with just that, though? – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Jul 19 '18 at 1:10
  • @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas With the Green Card, yes – Crazydre Jul 19 '18 at 8:14

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