The InterRail site states that InterRail pass is not valid in my country of residence. How do they determine my country of residency?

I'm working in Germany, so from Germany's view I'm a German resident. But I have a permanent registration (meldunek) in Poland and that's the address that is on my personal ID. So if I'd have to proof my permanent residence in the other country, it would by Poland.

So in which countries can I use InterRail? Can they forbid me using it in both Germany, claiming I work there, and Poland, where I'm registered? Or I can 'choose' my country of residence, because I could proof my residency in both countries?

Just to make it clear: I could prove my residency in Germany by having with me the German registration, the work contract, the health insurance etc. and make my life complicated to be granted a right to pay extra for the trains in Germany, but it's not my point. I ask, what documents I am required to prove my country of residence? What is the minimal subset?

Is the country of residence where I have permanent registration? If so, it's Poland, because it's on my personal ID.

Is it the country of shipment of InterRail? Seems to be very simple rule to check. Then it's Germany where I live.

The problem is, the FAQ gives no clue how the 'country of residence' is applied for expatriates, in context of InterRail internal regulations (not the EU civil law etc.).

  • 3
    It's not about lawyering. It's about how InterRail interpret their own rules about it. People constantly forget expatriates are a special case where not everything is obvious. Aug 1, 2014 at 7:57

4 Answers 4


It's been a long time since I used an InterRail pass, but in practice, the basic assumption is that your country of citizenship is your country of residence.

If you think about it, there's no other feasible option: if Lukasz shows up in Germany and buys an IR pass with his Polish passport, there's no possible way for the DB ticket office, or any DB ticket conductor, to know that, in addition to his Polish passport, he happens to be resident in Germany. (No, DB is not hooked up to the immigration computers!)

As a personal data point, I once used my Finnish passport to get an IR pass that included Hungary in Budapest. No questions were asked, and they didn't even ask if I was a resident of Hungary (which I wasn't, but I could well have been!).

Now as Dirty-flow's answer states, buying a pass for a country where you live is against the terms and conditions, although calling it "fraud" is (IMHO) a bit much. I presume the rule exists to stop people from using IR passes for long-distance commuting or something in the country where they live, so as long as you're not obviously abusing the system, I wouldn't worry too much. YMMV.

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    'against the terms and conditions, although calling it "fraud" is (IMHO) a bit much' - isn't knowingly violating the terms and conditions while pretending not to the very definition of 'fraud'? Aug 1, 2014 at 13:32
  • That said, I think there are two angles to look at this. 1) How can the railroad company find out about the actual country of residence? (Here, your statement "there's no possible way (...) to know that (...) he happens to be resident in Germany") 2) How can the OP prove his actual country of residence? (e.g. for using the IR pass within Poland - in which case official documents such as the Meldebescheinigung might indeed help). Aug 1, 2014 at 13:35
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    @O.R.Mapper: Fraud is a crime. Violating a vendor's T&Cs is (usually) not. Aug 2, 2014 at 6:06
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    At least in Germany, violating the terms and conditions of a contract itself is not a crime, but signing a contract (buying + using a ticket) when it is already clear that the terms and conditions are not going to be fulfiled is a criminal offence. I don't know whether the same applies to Poland. Aug 2, 2014 at 8:25
  • It would be very hard to prove that Lukasz correctly understood the terms and conditions and knowingly intended to violate the contract he signed. Remember that criminal proceedings require a very rigorous standard of proof.
    – JonathanReez
    Aug 3, 2014 at 11:02

As you live and work in Germany (I assume you're in Germany for more than 180 days/year) you cannot use the InterRail pass in Germany. Claiming to reside in Poland while you actually live in Germany would be a fraud.

Take your proof of residence (Meldebescheinigung) with you on the trip to prove your current adress (if asked by a conductor). It should be more than enough to prove that you're German resident.

From interrail.eu:

Travellers may be asked to prove their current adress at any time during the trip.


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    your country of residence is Germany as you live there and also pay your taxes there. You could claim to be resident of Poland and have no problems, but that would be a fraud!
    – Dirty-flow
    Aug 1, 2014 at 8:38
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    when you live in Germany, you have some documents that will proof you live there (Meldebescheinigung)
    – Dirty-flow
    Aug 1, 2014 at 8:44
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    I've edited the screenshot. It's written that you may be asked to prove your current adress at any time during the trip, so you're required to take your proof of residence!
    – Dirty-flow
    Aug 1, 2014 at 8:55
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    Hmmm it's a bit helpful, but still answers my concerns, I could prove both addresses. Polish one is more obvious, because I have it on my ID card. If they check my identity, they have my Polish address of registration. It could appear from your answer, I can freely choose before German and Polish residence, but Polish will be easier to prove, but it's not clear if they would want me to give as my address the shipping address... Sorry for prolonged discussion in comments Aug 1, 2014 at 9:09
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    The answer is clearly Germany but it sounds like you want to say that it is Poland. You might get away with that but it would be fraud and your travel patterns could be very likely to give you away.
    – JamesRyan
    Aug 1, 2014 at 14:58

The current country of residence counts. It is the one where you are registered as a resident, work, pay your taxes, even if your citizenship is different.

You probably have some kind of residency permit / ID that may prove it.

Passports emitted by a foreign consulate can also have the address mentioned with the other country specified. But it can be outdated as those documents are valid for 10 years.

I am an expatriate too, and occasionally use Interrail passes to travel back to my country of citizenship. Very convenient to see relatives who live far away from each other, in a large country!

  • "You probably have some kind of residency permit / ID that may prove it." if you're European working in a European country, that's far from obvious
    – njzk2
    Apr 21, 2023 at 20:34

As Interrail is ment for travellers going sightseeing or on vacation, the country of recidency is probably the one from where you start your trip (and where your trip ends) among the countries of which you are resident. This should be the couyntry where you buy the ticket. For this country you should keep a proof of residency with you.

If the rules didn't change in the last few years, you have to write down every train that you take for interrail. Further more you can prove every flight with your tickets. So your trip should start at a border station or at a city with airport/ sea port. In the latter case you should have a ticket that proves how you arrived there.

Usually, no ticket inspector will look at your itinary, but they are allowed to do so.

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    There is no need to start your InterRail travels at home, many people fly to start, specially if they live in a big country where their InterRail is not valid and even most so when they live on an island like the UK.
    – Willeke
    Jul 3, 2015 at 16:23
  • That's why I explicitely mentioned the airport in my post. Jul 3, 2015 at 22:11
  • "the countries of which you are resident" how does that work?
    – njzk2
    Apr 21, 2023 at 20:35

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