I am a British national living in Spain and my passport is either lost or stolen. I noticed this two days ago when I was intending to take a trip to Salzburg. As it happens, I managed to travel using my UK Driver's Licence. I think a severe mistake was made, as was pointed out to me in Austria, but as they were Schengen Countries, apparently all that is needed is a proof of identity, not a 'travel document'.

My question, therefore, is this. I have business trips over the next three weeks taking me from Spain to Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, and Italy, then back to Germany, and then to the UK. If I obtain an Emergency Passport from the Consulate here in Barcelona, would this be valid as an identity document within Schengen, before I eventually 'cash it in', so to speak, as a travel document when I make my trip from Germany to the UK?

I am hoping so, as I don't fancy my chances of getting back to the UK in time to secure an appointment for a fast-track passport. I am going to call the consulate tomorrow, but would appreciate any advice or prior experience.

  • I wouldn't call it a severe mistake, you can sometimes fly in the Schengen area without showing any ID. But you can't count on it either, so getting an emergency passport is indeed the right solution.
    – Relaxed
    Jun 15, 2014 at 20:18
  • An emergency passport is a passport, it just has a shorter validity period. For instance, one from the US is valid for up to one year instead of 10 years. Aug 17, 2015 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


Yes, that's more-or-less what emergency passports are for, even outside the EU or the Schengen area. An emergency passport is in fact a travel document, unlike national ID cards (which are however perfectly valid within the EU as well) or driver's licenses (which are not intended to be used for that). (I write “more-or-less” because emergency passports are primarily used to come back to your country of origin, not necessarily to roam the world but they are valid travel documents; a travel document that's only valid for a specific trip is typically called a “laissez-passer”).

There are some restrictions like not being eligible for the US visa waiver program or not fulfilling minimum validity rules in many countries but none of this is relevant within the EU. I once had the occasion to leave and re-enter Germany with a French emergency passport issued by the embassy in Berlin. I recall that the border guards seemed to look at it a little more carefully than usual (the threads binding it were a bit loose) but that's it, no problem whatsoever.

(Another time, I also managed to fly with a driver's license and a good story but I wouldn't count on it working every time. If you have some form of Spanish residence card, you might want to take that with you. While it's not supposed to replace a passport, it can be helpful to reassure any airline employee who might be nervous about letting you board your flight.)

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