When travelling between two Schengen states, one in the EU and one outside, such as from France to Switzerland or Sweden to Norway, do you go through passport control? This question assumes land (or sea) travel.

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    In theory you can be asked for ID at any time in Schengen, border or no border, flying or not, even judt in a city. ID could be anything which confirms you are lawfully in Schengen, i.e. Visa, Residency card etc. Schengen EU to Schengen Non EU, you will sure go through customs, but there might not be a formal Immigration desk, because intra Schengen travel is considered as domestic travel.
    – DavChana
    Nov 17 '16 at 11:39
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    @DavChana That is generally wrong. Some countries in the Schengen area requires you to be able to present, ot at least any time be in posession of an id, but that is based on national law and not on Schengen regulations. In Norway, Sweden and Iceland, most residents don't have any kind of official id at all and there are no requirements to be able to present something you don't have. Even at the Swedish/Norwegian border, you cannot generally be required to present any kind of id. Nov 17 '16 at 11:50
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo "not on Schengen regulations": The Schengen code is explicit about not pre-empting national law in this regard, however.
    – phoog
    Nov 17 '16 at 14:17
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    Four people have voted to close this as unclear. The question may seem elementary to seasoned users of the site, but it is certainly not unclear.
    – phoog
    Nov 17 '16 at 14:19
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    @Relaxed: DavChana wrote 'In theory you can be asked for ID at any time in Schengen, border or no borderr, flying or not, even judt in a city'. No, you can not. Nov 17 '16 at 19:16

A central principle of the Schengen system is the abolition of immigration controls between its members. That principle continues to hold even for members that are not also EU states.

Because non-EU Schengen members are not part of the European Union, travelers entering or leaving these countries can be subjected to customs control even when traveling from or to another Schengen country. The probability of being stopped for a check, much less inspected, is low.

  • The trade agreements between EU and EFTA (EEA) is in most cases irrelevant for tourists and can not be compared to a customs union. Travelling between Iceland, Norway and the other Schengen countries, you are just as much subject to customs checks as when you are travelling to Switzerland. Nov 17 '16 at 15:35
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Thanks for your comment. I've changed the second paragraph.
    – phoog
    Nov 17 '16 at 17:43

By the book, it doesn't matter whether it's in the EU: the Schengen Area is the single "country" for immigration (as opposed to customs) purposes. Therefore, there should not be any border checks for such trips.

Switzerland is a special case, however. Not being in the EU, they frequently perform "customs" checks at major land border crossings (notably at Chiasso, St Louis, Rheinfelden-Autobahn, Au SG and Kreuzlingen, and on TGV trains Paris-Zurich), although in practice, these are often "abused" into passport checks, with actual customs checks not always being performed. Random cars and train passengers are checked, and selected buses are boarded whereby everyone is checked. Those not holding documents required for entering the Schengen Area will be refused entry to Switzerland and turned around.

Norway and Iceland also perform customs checks, as they're both outside the EU; however at most crossings you drive to the side yourself if having anything to declare, and they do not perform passport checks as part of customs control.

Also, given the migrant crisis, several member states have temporarily set up passport checks at selected land border crossings, notably France, Denmark and Sweden. Norway has also introduced them at ferry ports. These checks are, in my experience, not systematic, but (like in Switzerland) particularly frequent for bus passengers.

During any of the aforementioned checks, passports will not be stamped; they'll simply look whether you have a stamp and thus are in Schengen legally.

  • Funny that they would perform ‘systematic’ checks at Au (SG) but not at St. Margarethen (SG) even though the two are so close. (At least, I never experienced any in St. Margarethen after Switzerland joined Schengen, but that could simply be due to a low n).
    – Jan
    Nov 17 '16 at 18:45
  • Reacting to Tor-Einar Jarnbjo's comment on my answer, I looked into the border between Norway and Sweden, and apparently they have customs checks there, too.
    – phoog
    Nov 17 '16 at 19:12
  • @Jan It's not systematic at Au SG, or anywhere, but it happens. At Kreuzlingen (coming from Konstanz) I dare say it's common, at least for buses (they often have cones to allow cars to drive straight through but force buses to the side)
    – Crazydre
    Nov 17 '16 at 20:11
  • @phoog Of course, Norway's not in the EU; however at most crossings customs doesn't "block off" the road, instead an honour system applies whereby you drive to the side if having anything to declare
    – Crazydre
    Nov 17 '16 at 20:14


These are still international borders, and spot checks can happen. Those would not be styled like a passport control at other borders, but if there is e.g. a check for illegal drugs they start with who are you, where are you from, where are you going to determine if closer inspection is warranted.

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