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I am 15 years old and travelling by train from Netherlands to Germany. Do I need a letter of consent from my parents or can I just buy a ticket and go? I will have my passport.

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    One of my sons used to live in Kleve, Germany and often went to the neighboring Nijmegen, Netherlands by bus. There were occasionally border checks on the bus: primarily the cops looking for weed. So checks can happen and its definitely a good idea to bring your passport.
    – Hilmar
    Nov 28, 2023 at 12:29
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    @deceze You are required to have some form of recognised ID to cross a Schengen border, even if there are no systematic checks. Not necessarily a passport, national ID cards are fine. No idea about the parental consent though. In France it used to be that a passport was automatic parental consent (when an ID card wasn't) but I have no idea if that's still the case, nor whether the same rule applied in other countries, and even less whether any parental consent is required.
    – jcaron
    Nov 28, 2023 at 16:04
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    @Hilmar, but most people just carry an ID card, I often leave my passport at home even when flying. These days it is common to suddenly realize one's passport is about to expire only when planing a trip to a different continent. It just lies on the bottom of the shelf. Nov 29, 2023 at 6:28
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    In case you or any future readers/searchers are running away from an unsafe situation, +318002000 (call for free) veiligthuis.nl Nov 29, 2023 at 7:08
  • @jcaron the documents required to enter a Schengen country via an internal border are not specified in the Schengen Borders Code; they are left to national law. In practice they don't tend to address the question specifically so many fall back on the documents required to enter via an external border, and in practice they don't check. But some countries have fairly strict requirements about documents you must posses, without regard to border crossing, so ...
    – phoog
    Nov 29, 2023 at 22:26

3 Answers 3

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You don't need any paperwork from your parents, but you are required (it is not just a good idea) to carry an official id card or a passport.

I am not sure about Dutch law, but you are required by German law to carry a recognized id card (e.g. an identiteitskaart if you are a Dutch citizen) or a passport. Customs checks or police looking for drugs are not uncommon at the Dutch/German border, also on public transport, and you will likely be fined by the German police if you do not carry an id or a passport.

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    @npst You are wrong. When crossing the German border (not in general), you are required to carry a recognized id. Nov 28, 2023 at 13:32
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    The Netherlands is actually stricter than Germany, it's in fact required to carry ID there, even within the country and outside of any border crossing (making any special requirement related to border crossing kind of moot).
    – Relaxed
    Nov 28, 2023 at 13:32
  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Travel Meta, or in Travel Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Willeke
    Dec 1, 2023 at 13:53
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Too long, didn't read: ID is strictly required, letter is recommended.


There are no formal border controls at the internal borders of the Schengen Area, to which both the Netherlands and Germany belong. Chances are you won't meet an official at all.

But in order to control illegal immigration there are more customs and immigration officers around, sometimes quite far from the actual border, who are looking for suspicious activities. If you are not Caucasian, if it is obvious that you are a minor, if you look as if you might smuggle dope from the Netherlands to Germany (bad idea!) or attract their attention in any other way, they may stop and question you. In fact, it is their job to look out for minors because it is not uncommon that a separated and alienated parent tries to take the child away from the other parent. Society in general thinks that 15 year olds need special protection ;-).

There is a website from the German government detailing the regulations. It contains a link to REGULATION (EU) 2016/399 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL. That regulation says about minors in Annex VII, Special rules for certain categories of persons (all emphasis in the following quotes by me):

6.3. In the case of minors travelling unaccompanied, border guards shall ensure, by means of thorough checks on travel documents and supporting documents, that the minors do not leave the territory against the wishes of the person(s) having parental care over them.

The German document then lists the requirements for border crossings.

  • The hard requirement, not only for minors, is that EU citizens traveling within the EU need a passport or ID card.
  • For minors, they say:

    To facilitate travel, minors travelling alone and entering or leaving Germany - although not required by law - should carry a declaration of consent signed by the persons with legal custody of the child, in addition to their own valid travel document (passport, children's passport or identity card). Where possible, such declaration should be issued in the languages of the home country and of the country of destination.

    It should specify:

    • that the minor may travel alone
    • the contact details of the parents with custody
    • the route being travelled
    • the contact details of the accompanying adult(s), if applicable

There is some additional talk about power of attorney documents which I think is a bit overkill, given that you'll likely need no documents whatsoever. The advice to carry copies of your ID card or passport is good though in general. These days, you'd simply take pictures of the relevant pages with your phone (and keep the phone separate).

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You did not directly ask for it, but both on the way out of Germany and the way in you should have a written consent from all your legal guardians. So the best idea is to have it mention the whole trip.

Here the content of the letter is described, and also that it should be carried rather than must be carried. The lack of such a letter is no immigration offense, but there may be questions of a minor absconding or one parent taking a child away from joint custody. The letter with contact details can minimize delays from suspicious police officers.

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  • Does Germany too issue ID cards "not valid for travel abroad" where parents fail to provide both consent to travel abroad to their child? Nov 29, 2023 at 9:13
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    The page you link to advises having such a letter both on entering and on leaving Germany, though neither is required by law. Nov 29, 2023 at 9:23
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    I don't know. My now 17 year old child has been leaving/entering Germany by herself on occasion since she was 12 (yes, 12) and no one ever has asked her for a letter (or tried to verify with her parents what she was doing). And she has to go through passport control at an airport, so she's checked every single time. Nov 29, 2023 at 16:48
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    @Peter-ReinstateMonica What past ? This has all happened in the last 5 years (she's still a minor) - even in the Covid years all immigration was interested in was the Covid paperwork (and FRA airport was very pedantic in that regard) and not any letters from any parents. They always ask her where she's travelling to, but they never tried to verify anything. Nov 29, 2023 at 22:22
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    @o.m. How is 'being able to articulate what you are doing' a criterion of racial profiling?
    – user140937
    Nov 30, 2023 at 7:12

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