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This is my first booking using the Airbnb app and when I signed up I had to take pictures of me and my government ID. I invited all my friends who are staying with me and they went through the same signup process.

Today I got a message in the app from the host saying that I need to send pictures of all ids of the guests to an email they provided (@gmail.com).

They say if I don't do that I won't get details like where the keys to the apartment are, etc. Is it OK to provide those pictures or is it a problem?


Edit: Country is Italy and the property is an apartment. Not a single room in a property.

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    In some countries it’s mandatory for hosts to obtain guest details including eg passport number. Hosts can specify ‘government-issued ID required’ as a booking condition, but I’m not sure they can ask to see it before you arrive. If I were you, I’d contact the AirBnb Support Team for advice. They will be able to see the message from your host and liaise with them if needed to resolve this. – Traveller Aug 8 '19 at 12:17
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    I have used airbnb over 20 times and never had to send my ID before the trip. I also don't understand why you have to send them to an email when you can upload pictures to the messages in the airbnb-system. Does the host have any reviews? As already suggested I would contact AirBnB-Support. – Dirty-flow Aug 8 '19 at 12:36
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    @IvankaTodorova in this case I would say that's pretty safe that the host will not abuse your personal information. But it's still not GDPR conform. Успех :) – Dirty-flow Aug 8 '19 at 13:13
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    Even though there might be genuine reasons (???) I don't see why you can't do it via the AirBnb platform and are going via email (which means AirBnb won't see or know what's happening, and they are quite useful in aiding you when something goes wrong with the property, so not seeing a good reason for avoiding the official AirBnb channel of communication and switching to email). – kiradotee Aug 8 '19 at 14:31
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    You can always block out part of the document such as the photo or the machine readable section. This will make the document harder to use to for nefarious purposes – JonathanReez Aug 10 '19 at 18:39
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In Italy, there is a legal requirement that all guests of hotels, B&Bs, rooms, etc. (including Airbnb) must be registered with the local police, so I guess it's not a matter of tourist tax but they are asking it because of this registration.

In the most recent version of the law, the host must fill in an online form to register the guests. From what I read (I don't have a hotel/airbnb myself, so maybe others with first-hand knowledge can confirm), the host must provide name, surname, gender, birth date and place, nationality of all occupants, but document details are required only for one of the guests (the "group leader").

This registration must happen before the guests can enter their room (although in my experience this part is not always respected).

Reference (in Italian): https://www.laleggepertutti.it/283994_cosa-registra-lhotel

So, from what I understand, they don't need IDs for all occupants, but they need some personal information. Probably they are asking for IDs just for their convenience: it's easier for them to read all the required information from a document, rather than asking about them and dealing with all the language issues and "how do you spell it?".

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  • Spain has a similar law. In fact, when GDPR became effective, I pointed out that the registration they required of us was no longer legal. Didn’t help. But no images were required, just info in text. So the suggestion to blur the photos is a good one. – WGroleau Mar 3 at 20:07
  • @WGroleau GDPR lists as one of the six possible legal bases for data treatment "processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject". So the fact that this registration is mandated by the local laws makes it automatically GDPR-compliant. (On the other hand, the part where they ask you to send them to a Gmail address could be illegal by itself). – Federico Poloni Mar 3 at 20:14
  • As I understand GDPR, it is non-compliant in that neither we nor the Guardía Civil gave any explanation to the person giving up their personal info, nor asked for their permission. The poorly programmed input form is still the same as it was in 2015 (the first time I used it). Ironically, if a pilgrim was reported missing, the Guardía Civil would call us on the phone asking whether they had stayed with us (instead of just checking their database). – WGroleau Mar 3 at 23:46
  • @WGroleau All true, but, as far as I understand, if you are the host, then it is up to you to draft a GDPR consent form and show it to the user, not the Guardia Civil. You are the data controller. – Federico Poloni Mar 4 at 7:07
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I contacted the Airbnb support before replying to my host.

They called me within an hour, confirming that I need to provide copies of our IDs as the host needs to file for tourist tax with them in the local police department or something like that.

They assured me that it's needed and there's no way around it. Especially if I am not meeting the host in person.

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    I used an AirBnb flat rental in Naples, Italy two years ago. The host didn’t ask us to provide ID in advance, she came to see us in the flat shortly after we picked up the keys from the concierge. So I guess the request from your host is more to do with them not meeting you in person than having to file for tourist tax before you actually arrive. I’d be unhappy about sending my ID documents by email, don’t know if you could use the AirBnb app instead? – Traveller Aug 9 '19 at 8:06
  • I am not an expert (far from it) but this sounds to me like a violation of GDPR. I spent some time in hospitality in ____ where the government required us to input data into an online database. When GDPR made it illegal, we never received any message from the government about it, nor did a couple of websites saying we had to do it get updated. – WGroleau Aug 13 '19 at 17:14
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    They answered the part about whether you need to provide the ID, what about the part of having to use email as a means to provide it instead of AirBnb chat which is more secure? – kiradotee Aug 13 '19 at 19:47
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Just adding some extra context.

Hosts must register guests to "Guests portal" in the official Police website https://alloggiatiweb.poliziadistato.it/PortaleAlloggiati/ so guests information is required. Hosts should check your ID upon arrival and insert those information in the "Guests portal".

It is illegal to ask for documents through email or photograph/scan/copy them unless they make you sign some kind of privacy consensus form. https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Supporto/come-richiedere-i-documenti-agli-ospiti/td-p/584782

It's pretty common for hosts to ask documents by email though, as it makes their life easier. Hosts who comply with the law must deal with several public administration websites to input guests information.

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