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I'm a non-EU citizen, and I'm studying in Italy.

I traveled to Hungary last week with Ryanair from Italy. I showed them my passport, residence permit and Italian identity card. Everything was OK. But after a week when I wanted to come back to Italy I found that I lost my residence permit. But still I have the passport and identity card (paper).

Now I'm afraid they don't let me get back to Italy at the Hungarian airport. What should I do now?

I have a picture from my residence permit (Permesso di soggiorno).

UPDATE: Fortunately, I found my card in the house, YaaaaY.

  • By permission of permit you mean permesso di soggiorno i.e. residence permit? – JoErNanO Mar 1 '15 at 14:07
  • Yes, permesso di soggiorno. Now I only have passport and carta di identita, and I have a picture from my permesso di soggiorno card – Behrooz A Mar 1 '15 at 14:21
  • I think the proper answer to this question is "call the Italian consulate in Hungary to ask about replacing your lost permit." Whether that is a practical answer, however, I would have no idea. – phoog Mar 2 '15 at 16:58
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There are no border controls for travel between the Schengen countries, so you shouldn't have to show your residence permit at all at any permanent routine checkpoints just for flying between two Schengen countries.

The airline will still want to see a passport or other ID at check-in and/or boarding -- but that's not for verifying that you have a right to travel, merely to check that you're the person a ticket was bought for. Airlines do this to maximize their revenue by making sure everyone who wants to travel has to pay them money, rather than buy a ticket off someone else who changed his travel plans. But they shouldn't be concerned with visas or residence permits.

That's in principle, at least. In practice there's a risk of running into an airline agent who has misunderstood what they're supposed to check and does insist on seeing an original visa or residence permit. If that happens, your immediate ways of recourse are very limited. Ryanair is not exactly famous for going above and beyond for customer satisfaction, and since they can probably get away with turning you away (after all you're supposed to have the residence permit with you so you can show it to the police if they randomly stop you in the street), they might do so. You've already paid anyway, and they would save some fuel ...

Still, they might not turn you away (especially when you have a photocopy of the permit), so your Plan A should be to try to travel home on the Ryanair booking as if nothing had happened.

However note that here is an answer claiming that Ryanair in particular has a company policy of checking visas even for intra-Schengen flights. It doesn't say anything specifically about photocopies, so plan A might still be viable.

Plan B: If that fails, buy a train ticket and go overland. There's no airline-style rigmarole when boarding a train, and the conductor won't think he's supposed to play immigration police.

(Afterwards, good luck with getting the Italian authorities to reissue your residence permit!)

  • I would recommend strongly against the train approach. Passengers on international trains within the Schengen area are far more likely to be asked to show their documents than passengers on international flights within the area. Also, shouldn't the first course of action be to ask the Italian consulate to replace the lost permit? – phoog Mar 2 '15 at 16:56
  • @phoog: What do you base that on? My personal experience is that I've never been asked for ID on a train journey within Schengen, whereas that is routine for air travel. Who is it you assert would ask for documents on a train? – Henning Makholm Mar 2 '15 at 17:24
  • Whenever I have taken a train across an international border in the Schengen area, a team of border officers has walked the length of the train while it passed from the last station in one country to the first station in the next. Sometimes they asked nearly everyone for papers; sometimes they concentrated on those with darker skin. Policies and procedures may have changed, however, since the journeys I mention took place between 1999 and 2005. – phoog Mar 2 '15 at 17:27
  • @phoog: I'm pretty sure such a thing has been illegal ever since the first version of the Schengen Convention. It requires the member states to abolish border controls, and what you're describing flies right in the face of that. – Henning Makholm Mar 2 '15 at 17:37
  • It may be illegal, but it was common practice at least for many years. It seems to be going on still; see jonworth.eu/if-youre-a-rail-passenger-schengen-is-a-myth. The reasoning is thus: while systematic border controls are to be abolished, countries can still ask people to identify themselves and show they have a right to be in the country. In some countries at least, these checks can be made more easily within a certain distance from the border. – phoog Mar 2 '15 at 17:43

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