My passport is in the hands of an embassy right now, because of a visa application. I paid more to expedite the process but, just in case the passport doesn't make it back to my hands in time, I would like to know if I can go from France to Spain (short stay) without the passport with me.

I have seen this question and I've read the answer but it seems to conflict with the following quote in the EU website:

Going to another EU country during my short-term visit – less than 90 days

If you have entered an EU country with a Schengen visa, you can travel throughout the Schengen area for as long as your visa is valid, and for a maximum of 90 days during an 180 day period. You will not need a separate visa for each Schengen area country and you will not need to show your passport at each internal border.

I have a photocopy of my passport biometrics page, if that helps.


4 Answers 4


As has been noted in the other question, no you cannot travel in the Schengen Area without a passport. Free movement using ID cards within the Schengen Area is reserved for EU citizens. (This doesn't mean you can't cross without one, ie. talk your way past or not be stopped in the first place as has been noted by the other answers and comments).

This FAQ (Question 17 on the EU website) says what I have seen printed on some french websites before (can't find the links right now): for non-EU citizens, the passport PLUS the residence card is the visa. Neither seems to work alone.

From experience, I have been asked to present my passport to border security after offering them my residence permit (not all the time but enough times to not be an anomaly. I have also seen the same request for a passport being put to some Americans sitting next to me in the bus who had offered just their residence cards).

  • Thanks. Because of this, I decided not to go. It's a bummer but I'd rather not risk getting in trouble.
    – Pepe Smith
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 18:56

One issue is that in Spain you are required to carry identification with you at all times, and for non-EU citizens the only identification accepted is a passport (or a certified copy [copia compulsada]). Did the embassy stamp your photocopy to prove that it is a valid copy?

How are you planning to cross the border?

  • 2
    "How are you planning to cross the border?" There are no border checks over there
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 20:53
  • There is if you travel by air
    – gdrt
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 21:05
  • 1
    @gdrt Usually not. But some airlines do check IDs for their own purpose and might refuse to carry someone without a passport and/or way to justify their status in Spain and in France.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 21:13
  • 1
    The main point is "How are you planning to cross the border?" is an appropriate question as there's a chance of pass control depending on modes of transport and @Crazydre actually mentioned it in his own answer. However, it's also true that an answer should be self-contained.
    – gdrt
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 21:20
  • 1
    @Relaxed The Spanish are pretty keen on checking ID cards and passports on all intra-Schengen departures.
    – Calchas
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 1:40

Officially you're required to hold a passport and residence permit in order to visit another Schengen country.

However, while there are internal Schengen borders where spot border checks are carried out, the French-Spanish border is not one of them. Which means that, in practice, you can cross it without a passport.

If travelling by air, you will definitely need your passport to check in luggage, however if only travelling with hand luggage and staying away from Ryanair and easyJet, you will most likely not be asked for any ID at all (although it might happen more often in Spain). Even if you are, a residence permit will usually be enough, as they only need to establish that you're the person on the ticket.

  • 1
    The Spanish airport authorities have a reputation for being hyper vigilant about checking ID cards and passports for departing intra-Schengen flights, even for domestic flights within Spain. That is also my personal experience (all my Spanish flights are on Iberia).
    – Calchas
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 1:36
  • @Calchas never had my passport checked by airport authorities. But the airline did insist once on seeing the passport rather than the residency card
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 13:34

I'm a Non-EU citizen with British Residency Permit(BRP) and valid Schengen visa.

Here are my observations while traveling in Schengen area:

  • If you traveling by air, passport/visa will most certainly be checked while departing and arriving at respective airports even if you traveling within Schengen area.

  • If you are traveling by bus/car/ferry, passport/visa will be checked by Border Control at PoE. If you leave Schengen area in between your travel, you will need a multi-entry visa to get in again.

    (While traveling from Dover(UK) to Amsterdam(Netherlands), my passport/visa was checked before getting on the ferry in Dover(UK) to Dunkirk(France). Then I traveled to Belgium and Netherlands by bus with no border control or document checks.)

  • If you are traveling by train, it can vary from country to country, there may or may not be any passport/visa checks.

    (While traveling from Copenhagen(Denmark) to Malmo(Sweden) by train, I was asked to show my passport/visa or any EU member state residency permit. No stamps were put on the passport in this case. I later found out that this check was introduced to keep inflows of refugees/asylum seekers to Sweden in check as Sweden have taken in more asylum seekers per capita than any other European country.)

With 26 member countries in Schengen area, the rules vary greatly from place to place, so it is always advisable to carry some kind of document that can prove your citizenship status/nationality. A passport or an EU member state residency permit is an acceptable document.

  • 1
    If you travel by air within the Schengen Area your passport is not checked by border authorities upon departure and arrival, contrary to your point #1. The airline may or may not ask to see your passport at check-in and/or the gate, but that depends on the airline's policy. Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 6:15
  • This answer is 2 years old and I have travelled a bit more in past couple of years (in pre-covid19 era). All I can say is any form of passport or idenfication check is just arbiraty within EU.
    – user56748
    Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 10:05
  • It is about who does the check. I have in the last couple of years never encountered border police when travelling within the Schengen Area. Except in one case: In Basel Airport (which is actually located in France) for a while the French had everyone go through passport control, regardless of where they came from. That was the last time I flew to Basel... ID checkes by airline staff of course sometimes happen, but those have nothing to do with immigration if it is on intra Schengen flights. Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 11:41

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