Hotels in Europe seem to require (or at least want to see) your passport when you check in.

What happens if I cannot (or don't wish to) give this information? For example, if I am traveling without my passport, or just wish to limit the number of places which have access to my information?

Can I show a different form of identification instead? I'm not looking to be completely anonymous here, just understand what forms of ID are required to check in.

  • 1
    A national ID card probably (don't remember all the details but I travelled extensively in Europe without even holding a passport at all, although I have one now), but is that what your question is about? Also, Europe is large, even the EU has 28 countries all with different rules.
    – Relaxed
    Feb 6, 2016 at 10:04
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    I believe this is actually country-dependent. Those who ask for ID, however, would take any ID, including national ID cards, residency permits, or in some instances a driver's licence.
    – jcaron
    Feb 6, 2016 at 10:05
  • Yes, essentially. Knowing what exactly is required in terms of identification would be helpful. @Relaxed
    – Felix
    Feb 6, 2016 at 10:05
  • Depends entirely on the country and their rules, so I fear this question is too broad. Pick one country of interest and ask for that
    – Gagravarr
    Feb 6, 2016 at 10:14
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    I disagree that this is a duplicate question: I do not wish to remain anonymous. I'm happy to provide ID, just wondering what happens if the ID is not a passport.
    – Felix
    Feb 6, 2016 at 21:02

1 Answer 1


As jcaron pointed out, details vary from country to country. Some general remarks:

In some European countries, residents are required to register with the municipal authorities of their primary place of residence. But that's really a detail for the Expatriates site.

It becomes relevant to the Travel site when you consider that hotels would be an obvious loophole -- there are places where one can rent rooms for months or even years. For this reason, hotels are required to identify their guests from the first day and to pass that identification on in certain cases.

Very broadly, driver's licenses or social insurance cards are less likely to be accepted in Europe than in the US. There is a tradition of issuing national ID cards, so there is less need to use other documents for this purpose. But any ID which is sufficient to cross borders should be sufficient in a hotel as well. (Many people forget that Schengen isn't about free travel without documents; it is merely about travel without document checks at the border.)

  • +1 also for the mention of Schengen as still needing documents.
    – Willeke
    Feb 6, 2016 at 10:31
  • Note that in reality some hotels might ignore the local legislation, especially less formal places like hostels or Airbnb.
    – JonathanReez
    Feb 6, 2016 at 10:37
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    @JonathanReez, hostels should follow the law. Airbnb is a really interesting case -- if they are not legally hotels, then after a couple of days or weeks of grace period the visitor would be required to register with the city administration. Failure to do so could be a misdemeanor. Again, details will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
    – o.m.
    Feb 6, 2016 at 10:41
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    The answer contains several inaccuracies and a lot of speculation. Hotels registration requirements are just plain old-school surveillance rules, not particularly linked to concerns about tax evasion or loophole in registration requirements. As a matter of fact, in most European countries, even those with mandatory registration, registering is not required if you are just staying for a few weeks in another type of accommodation. Conversely, rules about guests (or sometimes foreigners) having to be registered with the police also exist in places with no mandatory registration for residents.
    – Relaxed
    Feb 6, 2016 at 11:14
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    @Relaxed whatever the reason, many countries require tourists to register with the police. The typical deadline is within three days of arrival. I infer that Austria no longer applies this rule to EU citizens: in December 2014 i stayed in Vienna and the request for my passport was withdrawn when I began to produce an EU document. I don't know about Italy; I haven't stayed in an Italian hotel for a few years, but as far as I remember I've always had to give my passport.
    – phoog
    Feb 6, 2016 at 15:31

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