My son (age 21 and a half years) and I (63) wanted to visit a bar in Utah near Salt Lake City. The first time my son was rejected because he had "only" the German ID card. O.K., no problem, we returned to our hotel (0.7 miles away, by walking) and brought the German international passport (Reisepass), which we also used on the border to enter the US. However, he was rejected again. We will avoid visiting the state of Utah in the future. Does anybody have an idea if this could also happen in a different state?

  • 4
    You have a law which prohibits alcohol for minors. Then you got a company which tells the employees how to avoid breaking that law. Do you expect a barkeeper to recognize 180+ passports worldwide? A border official might, or he might call a supervisor who can help. A barkeeper could either be ordered to play it safe or to take risks (risks for the company, which might lose the license). Guess which one ... – o.m. Oct 5 '18 at 4:42
  • 4
    Oh, well, the INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT is an agreed document which is reqired for entry into the US. It is accepted there and the INTERNATIONAL PASSPORTS look similar in every country (At least UK, US, France, Austria, Germany, Swizzerland...). So why should a barkeeper not recognize it and find the date of birth? – trebla Oct 5 '18 at 5:02
  • 4
    @trebla No. If you read the link, the US Passport, like most passports, does not have a physical description: traits like hair color, height, weight, etc. The law in California was written to require such a description, which is found on driver's licenses/state ID cards. Federal immigration laws do not have bearing on a state's rights to make their own alcohol laws, which is actually given to the states explicitly by the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. – user71659 Oct 5 '18 at 5:17
  • 2
    "if they don't even accept the US Passport in CA then this may be the end of all nightlive in the US": considering the small percentage of US residents who have a US passport, probably not. – phoog Oct 5 '18 at 8:05
  • 3
    It's Utah. They don't even like to admit that alcohol exists, let alone sell it to anyone. – Michael Hampton Oct 5 '18 at 14:11

Varies from bar to bar; the ones I've been to in New York and LA never had any issue with my Swedish equivalent of your Personalausweis, but I've read that many places won't even accept driving licences not issued in their state. Effectively meaning many places are only open to local residents in practice.

  • 2
    @trebla Not really. What I mean is that a Texan bar may not accept a driving licence from Arizona, for example – Crazydre Oct 5 '18 at 5:40
  • 5
    @trebla No, it's a rational business decision: the consequences of getting busted serving minors are huge in the US. – lambshaanxy Oct 5 '18 at 8:07
  • 1
    It's not just a business decision... in most states, including Utah, the penalty for somebody serving or selling alcohol to a minor is the same as giving, and is a criminal misdemeanor. In Utah, this is up to 6 months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and of course a permanent criminal history. Therefore it is a personal decision by the server whether they want to accept your ID or not. – user71659 Oct 6 '18 at 8:48
  • 2
    Also, Utah alcohol laws have historically always been wonky due to the overwhelming influence of the LDS religion, which is strongly anti-alcohol. – Robert Columbia Oct 9 '18 at 14:28
  • 2
    The bar was erring on the side of caution because the penalties are so severe and he probably does not know that Reisepass means passport. Losing one customer is better than risking his alcohol vendor's license. Even if he sees 02.09.1997 on it, he might not know how dates are written in Europe. If he looked at that and asked when your birthday was, he would assume it was a fake story if you responded "September 2, 1997" which we write as 09/02/1997. – Bruce Dimon Oct 9 '18 at 16:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.