I am a foreign national having a German residence permit. I have to catch a domestic flight operated by Lufthansa to Munich from Hamburg and back. Unfortunately, my passport is with the UK consulate for a tourist visa processing.

I would like to know if a Aufenthaltserlaubnis (German residence card) is sufficient to take the domestic flight or should I have my passport with me even if the travel is within Germany.

  • 2
    I know from experience that you can fly LH from MUC within Schengen without ever having to show ID, if you have already checked in online. Not sure about HAM. I would try it, check in online before and bring your Aufenthaltserlaubnis along in case anyone asks, plus maybe photocopies of your passport that you will surely have and any other form of ID (license) that you might find.
    – mts
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 12:36
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    @JoeBlow in some countries foreigners need a passport to go to the corner store.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 14:33
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    Your Aufenthaltserlaubnis is only valid together with your passport. Auslaenderbehoerde in Berlin recently told me that carrying that card without the passport is not enough. It's like a visa on a separate card. A regular visa wouldn't be valid if you ripped it out of your passport. Just having the card with you is not enough for the police (as discussed in below answers).
    – simbabque
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 15:18
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    @JoeBlow: "It's hard to believe you'd need a passport for a flight entirely within Germany." - no, it's not, actually. It may not be the case, but given that any German citizen is obliged to have at least either a passport or an ID card, and likewise, any foreigner within Germany is obliged to have a passport (or an ID card for some EU countries), it would be absolutely not a big deal to require anyone flying within Germany to bring their passport/ID card. It's not like anyone would be required to suddenly have a form of document they otherwise wouldn't. Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 15:46
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    @O.R.Mapper That's completely accurate... but still hard to believe when you haven't been raised there or in another country that kind of requirement!
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 17:18

4 Answers 4


I've flown many times on Schengen flights and no one (except Ryanair) has ever demanded to see my passport when I presented my residence permit. Likewise I've sometimes managed to enter on board without showing any identification, but this has been the exception. You should also be able to use the automatic boarding gates at both airports:

When you are travelling with etix® - Lufthansa’s electronic ticket - and have received a boarding pass with a barcode, you have the option of boarding your aircraft quickly and conveniently with this boarding pass. Just use our Quick Boarding machines at selected gates at Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Hanover, Hamburg and Bremen!

Even Ryanair has an extremely lenient policy for intra-German flights:

Any photo ID which matches the passenger name in the booking.

So the answer is: yes, they will let you on board.


There is an FAQ on the federal ministery of the Interior about residence permits. Unfortunately, one can not simply switch to english, and I didn't find it on the english site.

It states:

Muss ich immer meinen Pass oder Passersatz mit mir führen?

Nein, aber Sie müssen auf Verlangen den Ausländer- und Polizeibehörden Ihren Pass bzw. Passersatz und Ihren Aufenthaltstitel vorlegen.


  • Wenn Sie keinen Pass besitzen, diesen auch nicht zumutbar erhalten können oder Ihren Pass vorübergehend einer deutschen Behörde überlassen haben, müssen Sie umgehend einen Ausweisersatz beantragen.

which translates to

Do I always have to have my passport or replacement with me?

No, but upon request of police or aliens authorites, you have to present your passport or replacement and your residence permit


  • If you do not have an ID, you can not get it with reasonable effort, or have passed it temporary to a German authority, you must apply for a replacement passport.

So, it boils down to: You don't need to have your passport with you, but if police asks, you have to present it...

ID card and passport are the only official documents to confirm your identity, the residence permit is only a supplement.

There is no general passport control for flights within the Schengen area and you can often board an aircraft without showing your passport anywhere. Airline staff may be fine with anything looking official, like residence permit or drivers license. But it is still possible that police asks you for your passport. Maybe, you get away with your story, maybe, not.

(Within this context, it is interesting how a consulate can take your passport, leaving you without any official ID. As German, you can easily get a replacement as requested by the last paragraph of the quote, but for others... hmmm)

Sorry, I don't have a solution for your particular problem, this is just the law.

  • 8
    This is about the general ID requirement in Germany and that's a slightly different question. And you don't need to present it to the police on the spot (that's why they say you don't have to carry it with you) so there is no reason for this law to be used to prevent you from boarding a plane.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 13:46
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    As to why consulate do it that way, the fact is that in many other countries, carrying an ID is not required and/or a local residence permit is the only thing foreigners need. There is no reason for consulates to bend over backwards to accommodate this German peculiarity.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 13:48
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    @Relaxed: This is all true. But: If police stops you somewhere on the airport, they can prevent you to board the plane. The chance for being asked to provide ID is high at an airport. And even if you don't have to not show ID on the spot, how much time do you have to show it? Can you say "in two weeks, when I'm back from Hamburg"?
    – sweber
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 13:53
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    @Maurice It's not a criticism, just a minor nuance, this answer, unlike yours, is precise and useful. In fact, when I wrote my comment, I did not realize you would see it as a vindication because it says something completely different than what you are trying to read into it. You really should educated yourself about all this before commenting any further.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 13:54
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    @sweber don't bother arguing with Relaxed, this is just a loss of time... looks like he has a bad day today...
    – Laurent
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 13:55

On intra-Schengen flights, there is no systematic, police-performed checking of identity documents which would require a passport or ID card or similar. And moreso for truly domestic flights (crossing a Schengen border you are de jure required to have ID with you even if it isn’t checked. Within Germany you are typically not required to have an ID on you all the time).

However, either the airline or the airport may want to confirm that you are indeed the traveller that should be travelling on the ticket in question. For that, they may want to see some form of identification.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything definite on Lufthansa’s website as to which documents are accepted for domestic flights (they only go into detail for international flights). It is entirely possible that given your circumstances your residence permit (which is government-issued) or a driving license (with a picture) would suffice.

The definite answer can only be given by the airline, though.


My girlfriend is a foreigner with german residence card, and while I advise her to take her passport on all our trips, she almost never needs to show it unless we cross a non-Schengen border.

On flights within the EU, passports or ID cards are rarely checked at all. Even less so on national flights. At HAM, which I've used regularily, ID is rarely requested for national flights, but I've seen it happen (not to individuals, rather a "please show your passport and boarding pass when boarding" announcement).

So practically, you should be fine. That doesn't mean the airline can not cause you trouble, either legally or illegally. Many people have been denied entry into Schengen countries, sued and won. So to be certain, you should ask the airline, in writing, and get a written response that you carry with you.

  • I typically ignore please show your passport and boarding pass announcements and show my boarding pass only. Only on one occasion to date (leaving Amman airport bound for Munich) has this been a problem.
    – Jan
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 19:08

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