I am a dual US-Italian citizen with passports from both countries, as well as a US passport card, a US birth certificate, a US NEXUS card, a US drivers license, and an Italian national ID card. I currently live in the US and travel around the US.

If an emergency arises and I need to travel to the Schengen Area without my passports (but with my DL, Birth Certificate, Nexus card, and Italian ID card, which I carry with me), would I practically be able to travel from the US to say, Germany, and back to the US without a passport?

So far, I've found this from research on Timatic:

  • Getting from the US to Europe would be a matter of convincing airline officials that my Italian ID card is authentic, as Timatic says that I should be allowed to board with an Italian ID card. I have passed TSA with a drivers license on international flights, so this should not be a problem.
  • Getting back to the US would be another matter. From my understanding, the only route which fully works with Timatic is to enter Canada with a US birth certificate (Although Timatic's notation is confusing). I could then take a flight (booked separately) into the US using my NEXUS card.
  • I could also enter Ireland with my Italian ID card, then go through US preclearence at DUB, getting some extra scrutiny for lack of a passport. This may become less ridiculous as KEF is considered for preclearence. Although I don't think it is Timatic clean, the airline may be more lax since they won't be on the hook if I am not allowed into the US due to lack of documents.

Has anyone attempted one of these methods, or have other relevant experience?

  • 5
    This all seems highly inconvenient (and potentially expensive if you need to use a non-optimal flight routing), compared to simply carrying your passports with you. Mar 8, 2019 at 3:02
  • 10
    That seems like giving yourself a large amount of inconvenience in order to possibly save yourself a small amount of inconvenience. Mar 8, 2019 at 3:09
  • 1
    Timatic says no, only from Canada. Also, the reason for this is that I need to be able to leave the US and get to the EU at any time, as I have to deal with a fairly volatile situation.
    – artemist
    Mar 8, 2019 at 3:14
  • 4
    If you truly might have to leave at a moment's notice, you should have your travel documents already ready to go with your travel bag. This question seems pointless to me. Mar 8, 2019 at 4:48
  • 6
    The whole purpose of a passport is to facilitate travel. This strikes me as akin to asking how to bake bread without using your oven, because making the dough is time-consuming and you've burned it before in the oven. Just use the oven already, that's why it's there.
    – choster
    Mar 9, 2019 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


Having either passport with you is sufficient both ways, I have done that.

No passport lead to problems as the airline personnel didn't even care to look in Timatic or discuss with me, they said 'passport or bye'. [even the German employee of the German airline Lufthansa, who certainly knows how a German ID looks, didn't accept it]

Landing in Europe, local country ID is perfectly sufficient.
Landing in the US, NEXUS or Global Entry is also sufficient (or Birth certfifcate, but I wouldn't want to carry that around).

So the remaining issue is getting on board, as airline personnel often doesn't know the rules and can't be bothered to look them up. You can always start a discussion and they might call a collegue or a manager and it might work, but you could as well be out of luck.

  • 2
    "Airline personnel often don't know the rules": I believe that they also sometimes enforce rules that the travelers don't know about, such as the US rule that requires people flying to Europe to have a valid passport.
    – phoog
    Apr 17, 2019 at 3:56
  • I have never heard of that rule. Why would the US care what you have or not have when flying to Europe, if the airline and the target country allows without??
    – Aganju
    Apr 17, 2019 at 3:58
  • I coudl nto find any such rule or reference to it either. Googling only talkes about 'Americans must ahve a passport when tavellig to europe'. Obviously. But what about European citizens?
    – Aganju
    Apr 17, 2019 at 4:02
  • 1
    See for example cbp.gov/travel/travel-industry-personnel/apis/…. It seems to be part of a disturbing trend for CBP to make up rules without statutory authorization, which probably accounts for their vague willingness to countenance exceptions, but airlines will for the most part just comply.
    – phoog
    Apr 17, 2019 at 5:41

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