I'm a US citizen with a 10 year French resident card (carte de séjour) and I'd like to fly to Spain. My US passport expires in a few weeks and it seems that Spain is one of those countries that requires the passport to be valid for at least 3 months beyond the travel dates. Is it possible to travel using my resident card instead? If I drove into Spain or took the train, I wouldn't be asked to show ID at all.
Despite the alarmist comment and answer, you can complete this trip if you leave Spain before your passport expires. The three-month requirement applies when crossing the external Schengen border, not for internal Schengen travel.
If you intend to go to Spain after your passport expires, you should renew it now.
As long as your passport is valid (and you bring it with you on your trip), it is allowed to visit other Schengen states with a valid residence permit. The three-month rule does not apply to persons holding a valid Schengen residence permit travelling in another Schengen state.
Validity of travel documents of third-country nationals (non EU/EFTA)
Regardless of their visa obligation status, third-country nationals (non EU/EFTA1) wishing to enter Switzerland for a short-term stay not exceeding 90 days per period of 180-day[s] must be in possession of a travel document that:
- will remain valid for at least three months after the intended date of departure from the Schengen area; and
- has been issued within the previous ten years (the date of issue concerns only entry into the Schengen area).
The date of issuance of the travel document shall be the determining factor, notwithstanding any decision by the authorities to extend the period of validity of the travel document.
The aforementioned provisions on the validity of travel documents do not apply to travel documents of third-country nationals who hold a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen country (List of Residence Permits issued by the Member States) or who have been issued a valid category D visa for a long-term stay in a Schengen country. In such cases, the travel document must be valid at the time of entry and remain valid for the entire duration of the planned stay in Switzerland or in another Schengen country.
If the airlines and/or Spanish officials correctly apply the EU Regulation 2016/399 Schengen Borders Code from 2016 (Somebody here quoted Schengen agreement from 1985 which is no longer valid) then a french resident card should be sufficient to enter Spain from France because border controls have been abolished at internal Schengen Borders by Articles 22-23 of EU 2016/399. Within the Schengen area we have checks within the territory according to Article 23 which are in general much weaker than a proper border control. Schengen states may impose "the possibility for a Member State to provide by law for an obligation to hold or carry papers and documents" according to Article 23/c of EU 2016/399. The details on the "papers and documents" are in Notification according to Article 42 of EU 2016/399 found here:
Even these days when we talk about temporal reintroduction of border controls according to Article 25 of EU 2016/399 these border controls are not equivalent to external Schengen border controls.
However, the airlines and member states officials do not really know what I just wrote so it is highly possible that you will run into problems without a passport. I am currently dealing with 2 cases on this topic, I am in talk with European Commission on this topic and I raised couple of criminal charges against German police.
A residence card is not considered a valid travel document to cross internal EU borders (Artical 21 Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement) . A residence card, togeather with a valid travel document (passport), shows you are legally in the Schengen Area.
A valid travel document is defined as:
- valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting
You should rid yourself of the notion that just because there are no regular border checks does not mean you can travel without required travel papers.
Spain has the strictest requirements in the EU: you must carry required documentation at all times (as apposed to others where you are required to only to have them).
Any check that shows that your passport has expired will lead to problems, since you don't even have a valid travel document.
Therefore allowing your passport to expire and then go to the country with the strictes rules is truly a very foolish thing to consider.
The Schengen acquis - Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders
- Aliens who hold valid residence permits issued by one of the Contracting Parties may, on the basis of that permit and a valid travel document, move freely for up to three months within the territories of the other Contracting Parties, provided that they fulfil the entry conditions referred to in Article 5(1)(a), (c) and (e) and are not on the national list of alerts of the Contracting Party concerned.
Passport and visa requirements
If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a passport:
- valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting,
- which was issued within the previous 10 years,
and possibly a visa.
If you have a valid residence permit from one of those Schengen countries, it is equivalent to a visa.
This statement is based on Article 6 - Entry conditions for third-country nationals of the Schengen Border Code.
The Schengen Border Code does not specify anywhere that Article 6 (1)(a)(i) does not apply for residence permit holders visiting other Schengen Countries.
The German residence law AufenthG § 15 (2)(3) quotes Article 6 directly as a reason for Refusal of entry.
- Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement - EUR-Lex - 42000A0922(02) - EN
- Travel documents for non-EU nationals – Your Europe - Your Europe
- AufenthG § 15 Zurückweisung
- AufenthG Section 15 Refusal of entry
- the english version states Article 5 instead of Article 6
- AufenthG Section 15 Refusal of entry