I have a passport, but I left it in my embassy to renew. I would like to travel shortly to Austria and back. I have a German Aufenthaltstitel, due to having a "Blue Karte EU", and it says on the card Pass(ersatz) bis 09 09 2022

As far as I understood Aufenthaltstitel is only valid in Germany (Can I take a flight within Germany on my Blue card if I do not have a passport), but it says Pass(ersatz) - does it mean I can use it to travel within the EU?

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    Pass(ersatz) is a concept of German law, so that notation has no meaning outside of Germany. Austria, however, might tolerate visitors from Schengen countries who have only their residence permits and not their passports, though I doubt it. Are you flying, taking a train or bus, or making your own way across the border?
    – phoog
    May 10, 2022 at 10:55
  • Traveling by train. Last time I traveled to Vienna, I was asked for my documents on the border crossing back to Germany. As far as I remember, Aufenthaltstitel was enough for them
    – romand
    May 10, 2022 at 13:07
  • @Traveller that page is focused on people entering from outside the Schengen area. As romand's experience shows, it's often possible to cross the interior border with only a residence permit, even if that document is technically insufficient by itself. The more critical question for romand is what would happen if the Austrians check on the way in?
    – phoog
    May 10, 2022 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


The notation Pass(Ersatz) shows that the Aufenthaltstitel is an identity document.

It is not listed as an acceptable replacement for a passport to enter Germany.

The Schengen acquis also states that a valid travel document together with the residence permit is required:

Article 21: 1. 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)...

When the new Entry/Exit System (EES) is introduced, the Schengen Border Code will have to be changed in many parts.
Unfortunately, there has been no hint as to whether a residence permit will be re-classified as a valid travel document within the Schengen Area.

The German word Pass is (legally) not the same a Passport (in German: Reisepass).

It is an identity document that everyone over 15 must in some form have. A Passport is the main form of a Pass.

An ID-Card (Personalausweis) is a Passersatz (Pass replacement) that fulfills the Pass requirement.

An Aufenthaltstitel is, a Passersatz that fulfills the Pass requirement so that it can be used as an identity document for 3rd country nationals.
It is not listed in the §3,4 AufenthV as an acceptable Passersatz to enter Germany:

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    Yet romand was able to enter Germany from Austria by train after showing only the residence permit to the officers who checked. How do you explain that? I think the more likely problem with this plan is the possibility of being checked by Austrian officers.
    – phoog
    May 10, 2022 at 15:15
  • @phoog, it would be an example of the officer either being unaware of the fine points of the law (yes, that happens), or willing to make a judgement call to accept the German document for this purpose (that should have come with a verbal reminder to bring a passport next time). Government officials overlook minor infractions quite often, one just shouldn't rely on it happening every time.
    – o.m.
    May 10, 2022 at 15:21
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    @o.m. Yes, §3(2): In justified individual cases, the Federal Ministry of the Interior or the body designated by it may permit exemptions from the passport requirement for the purpose of crossing the border before the foreigner enters the federal territory, and for a subsequent stay of up to six months. May 10, 2022 at 16:13
  • @MarkJohnson, that would then have to be documented. The comment talked about an intra-Schengen border, and simply overlooking a minor issue.
    – o.m.
    May 10, 2022 at 16:26
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    Intra-Schengen checks a lot of times are superficial and they accept anything seemingly official, especially if you are returning to your "home" country. One of my friends was allowed to pass a border check with just a bad quality photocopy of his German residence permit. This doesn't mean that this is valid and that you will always be let go, so it's better to be on the safe side of the law and have everything required with you.
    – SztupY
    May 10, 2022 at 23:40

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