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A German citizen, resident in Switzerland, got robbed of his wallet in Venice today, which contained his ID card.

Tomorrow, at 19:20, he's taking the Thello night train to Paris, which runs non-stop through Switzerland, and is not unlikely to be stopped in Brig for a Swiss border check.

What exactly would happen if the train is checked and the person has no ID (but has an Italian police report and knows his Swiss alien registration number)?

Essentially:

  • Could they somehow identify him through their database (if it contains a facial image of him) and let him go?
  • If he's kicked off the train and not allowed to continue, would he get sent back to Italy, or be allowed to somehow get home to Zurich where he lives?

If it matters, whenever the train does stop at Brig, it's around 01:30 in the night.

  • 3
    Does this person have papers from the police from when he reported his wallet gone? – Willeke Feb 27 '17 at 20:58
  • @Willeke He's going in early tomorrow to report it, as it literally just happened and he needs to sleep to regain energy. To clarify, what good specifically will this report do? – Crazydre Feb 27 '17 at 21:00
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    It will explain why he tries to cross the border without his ID card. – Willeke Feb 27 '17 at 21:08
  • Does this person look Caucasian? – JonathanReez Feb 28 '17 at 7:51
  • @JonathanReez Well, he's half Maltese. This bloke looks a lot like him s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/44/c9/67/… – Crazydre Feb 28 '17 at 9:45
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So, this is what the concerned person told me:

Unfortunately his train was stopped at Brig, whereby he was kicked off. The Swiss spent about 2.5 hours interrogating and fingerprinting him.

In the end, he was issued an emergency identity certificate confirming his status, as well as an onward ticket to Paris via Lausanne.

On the way back from Paris to Zurich, he was again checked between Mulhouse and Basel, and went through fine with the identity certificate.

UPDATE: I tried going the same route myself without showing ID yesterday as an experiment (I'm Swedish with Swiss residency, but do not look Nordic). At Brig, an Italophone Swiss officer (who thankfully knew German as well) hauled me off and led me into the building where I was made to fill out and sign a form containing my name, date of birth, nationality, address, occupation and contact details. Another officer then tapped stuff into their computer and wished me a pleasant onward journey. All of this taking 5 minutes at the most.

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