I will be travelling in Switzerland, and I am planning to leave my passport in the hotel. How often are random passport/visa checks in Swiss trains? Thank you in advance.

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    I've lived in Switzerland for a couple of years, close to the french border, taking the train quite often, and (other than while crossing the border, especially since it was pre-Schengen), I never had my ID checked. I did however have my ID checked a few times while travelling by car (random checks). As a general rule, if you "look" foreign (and as we all know it, sadly, your skin tone is the most commonly used factor), your chances of having your ID checked increase quite dramatically. – jcaron Sep 24 '18 at 10:18
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    @jcaron Since Schengen, they've increased in-country checks. In fact, the municipal police where I live once did a raid of the blocks of flats in my vicinity, checking residence papers of all foreigners. They took my ID card and residence permit away for 15 minutes for verification. – Crazydre Sep 24 '18 at 23:06

It sometimes happens near borders (for example on the Zurich-Milan train, I was once checked between Lugano and Chiasso, both in Switzerland), but it's not a general phenomenon.

So if you want, you can keep your passport at the hotel, but do carry a laminated copy just in case (ID page and, if applicable, pages with the entry stamp and visa)

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    Do you have any evidence that this is legally valid (or more valid than a photo on a phone?). I thought the only benefit of a copy is to have the numbers, expiration date, etc. handy. Anybody can manipulate a picture. – o.m. Sep 24 '18 at 5:02
  • Swiss officials are keen to accept a copy as long as they have you in their system, I wouldn't count on the same from their Italian collegues. – Rg7x gW6a cQ3g Sep 24 '18 at 11:46
  • @Rg7xgW6acQ3g Switzerland doesn't electronically record entries and exits (hence the recommendation to make a copy of the entry stamp). And Italy has nothing to do with this question – Crazydre Sep 24 '18 at 12:10
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    I never leave my passport in the hotel. I always carry it with me when travelling, in a neck wallet. I wonder why it is that people actually want to leave it in the hotel. – Krist van Besien Feb 20 '19 at 7:50
  • @KristvanBesien I usually do, since I have alternative photo ID on me (which, for everyday purposes, is accepted even in countries such as the US, though it isn't a sufficient document for entry) – Crazydre Feb 20 '19 at 13:50

Please be careful when it comes to making copies of official documents. They may be considered an attempt to counterfeit.

In Switzerland you are not required to carry any ID with you. But practically, this may make you loose some time if a policeman thinks he / she has a reason to check your identity.

Any other official document issued by your home country; preferably with a picture on it (driving license?) may serve as a replacement ID.


If you travel using a Swiss Pass, or a Half Fare Card you will be asked to show a photo ID by the ticket inspector. That means you may have to show your passport.

So I would suggest you keep it with you.

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