Essentially looking for confirmation of my understanding of travel in and out of the Netherlands, to France (or Austria) for a week, for an EU Citizen (Italian) with an expired (by 2 months) Italian passport. Person is my girlfriend.

Born in South Africa, but with Italian citizenship. Resident in Netherlands for less than 3 months so do not yet have Dutch residents permit. Was permitted to enter the Netherlands from the UK (where she lived for 9 years), despite only having a few weeks of validity on the passport.

Europa.eu search of what is possible on an expired passport, in and out of the Netherlands:

Whatever your nationality, an expired passport is not accepted as a valid travel document to enter or leave the Netherlands. europa.eu expired passport

Seems very cut and dried. Is there some other valid travel document that would be proof? Only other currently held ID is a UK Driving License, or a South African passport with no Schengen visa, in her married name, She has marriage certificate if the dots need to be joined...

But looking on IATA for the possibilities of travel, when all the details are entered, it appears to show that travel IS possible to France - when I fill in the details (i.e. Italian, passport dates, depart from Netherlands, fly to France for a week, resident in Netherlands, Alien Passport as proof), I see that

Yes, The documentation you hold is sufficient based on your details and the itinerary provided.

Is Europa.eu the safest source of information? Does the Netherlands have stricter requirements?

Air travel is the preferred option - but train or driving could be done, if that makes any difference. Can she leave and re-enter the Netherlands with what she's got?

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    As a non-EU citizen, I recently traveled Amsterdam - Zurich - Malaga (and back) - the only time I used my passport was to scan it at the kiosk to print my boarding passes. It was not requested once; except as a proof of ID at Malaga during boarding on my final leg; but there you could have gotten by with any kind of government ID. – Burhan Khalid Dec 2 '15 at 14:25
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    @BurhanKhalid, when you cross borders within the Schengen zone you have to carry travel documents and present them during random checks. These random checks are supposed to be very unlikely, so that the average traveler is not bothered. – o.m. Dec 2 '15 at 15:51
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    She has to prove her identity and her citizenship. Does she have any documents to prove the citizenship? – o.m. Dec 2 '15 at 15:54
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    @Gordonjackson, can the Italian embassy help with emergency travel documents? That should go faster than a new "regular" passport. – o.m. Dec 2 '15 at 17:32
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    @Gordonjackson, I cannot give a definite answer on this, so I'm sticking to comments and not an answer. As an EU citizen she is allowed to enter France and the Netherlands, but she is required to carry the documents to prove that she is allowed to do so. Usually that is a passport or national ID card. – o.m. Dec 2 '15 at 18:43

For later readers...

We travelled from Amsterdam Central, on the train, to St. Anton am Alberg in Austria, via Koln in Germany.

There were no passport checks along the way, and no ID required apart from my girlfriend had to present the credit card she bought the international train tickets with, on the DB (German trains).

Thanks for everyone's input. Your mileage may vary, and I understand that there can be passport/ID checks along the way, just that we did not experience any.

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Technically your girlfriend has no proof that she is allowed to be in the Schengen zone, and some countries (such as France) have a law that states you must always be able to identify youself. So in these countries, according to the rules, no you are not allowed.

I can imagine though that if you are travelling over land this will probably be less of an issue and you are unlikely to be stopped. If your girlfriend has dark skin, you may be much more likely to be checked than if she is white. I've seen this many times when taking trains across the Swiss German/French border (even though all are within the Schengen zone).

Even if you are stop I would consider it likely that your expired Italian passport may help you, but technically it shouldn't be accepted.

Since what you are doing is not technically allowed, I would advise against it as the results can get ugly. Especially after the Paris attacks everybody is very security conscious (paranoid), so I would try to get an official document that proves you are allowed to travel in the Schengen zone before you go.

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    That's not quite how the rules work. Any EU citizen definitely has a right to be in the Schengen area, passport or no passport. There is no notion of being “allowed” to enter or not. What can happen is the following (1) time lost and general hassle while the police tries to establish that you are in fact an EU citizen and (2) a fine. Both can also happen within a country, even your own country in some cases, not only at the border. Crossing an internal border merely increases the likelihood that you have to interact with the police (and consequently face all this trouble). – Relaxed Dec 10 '15 at 10:25
  • Also, some airlines might refuse boarding. – Relaxed Dec 10 '15 at 10:25
  • I'm pretty sure every EU country has a rule that you must be able to identify yourself at any time, which goes hand in hand with you must be able to show that you are allowed to be there. – fishlein Dec 10 '15 at 10:40
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    Actually, that's not true. In France for example there is absolutely no obligation to even hold an ID, let alone carry it with you, ditto in the UK which does not even issue ID cards (only passports, which are obviously not mandatory for citizens that do not want to leave the country). But you're right that many countries do, my point is that such an obligation is not comparable to the rules that govern external border crossing. – Relaxed Dec 10 '15 at 11:13
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    Many people think it's mandatory to hold an ID in France so you will find countless webpages pretending that it is, but it's not. I wrote a lengthy explanation of all this in expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/994/… Most importantly, failing to have an ID, even where and when it's mandatory, and having no right to be in a country are not the same. – Relaxed Dec 10 '15 at 12:40

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