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Do I need to carry my passport with me in Germany?

Do I need to carry my passport with me in Germany?

Old May 6, 18, 2:59 pm
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Do I need to carry my passport with me in Germany?

Once I check into my hotel I usually keep my passport in the hotel safe and keep a photo copy of it in my wallet while I'm out and about. I've never been asked for my passport but I'm wondering if the photo copy will be ok in the event that I'm involved in a car accident or other incident where I'm asked for ID. Anyone ever have any experience with this?
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Old May 6, 18, 3:11 pm
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30 years ago when I was there for a year as a student I didn't carry my passport all the time within Germany. I probably always had my student ID, and once when we had to talk to some police about a drunk who was being disorderly all I had in my pocket was a US drivers license. They were amused that it was so simple, because Germans like (or liked) ID that's fancy and folds, but they didn't have a problem with it. I did carry my passport when I visited other countries, but I usually wasn't anyplace very long and wasn't generally staying in nice places with hotel safes (and that was back when there were border controls within the EU and everybody had different currencies).
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Old May 6, 18, 3:12 pm
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My understanding is that there is no specific requirement to carry your passport, but you are required to show an identification document upon the request of a police officer. A driver's licence is not officially acceptable, as it is not proof of citizenship, but may be accepted depending on the individual officer.

I don't know the official position on photocopies, but I think most police officers would accept it. Personally, I carry my Irish passport card - credit card size, valid for travel within Europe - if your country of citizenship offers this, it is the perfect solution.

It is true that identification checks are becoming more widespread, although I have only been checked 3 times in 5 years - once when I was pulled over for a motoring offence, once while riding a train at 1am chatting to a foreign tourist in French, and once at a border station while getting of a train from Austria visibly drunk.

The truth is that unless you are behaving in a manner that can be construed as suspicious, or you belong to...er...certain unofficially profiled groups, you are very unlikely to be checked.

That said, I do recommend carrying it, in case of situations like you described - car accidents, motoring offences, etc.
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Old May 6, 18, 3:17 pm
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From my understanding, unless you're crossing a border, you don't need to have your passport on your person, but you need to be able to show it to a police officer within some amount of time of being asked
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Old May 6, 18, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by chrisl137 View Post
30 years ago when I was there for a year as a student I didn't carry my passport all the time within Germany. I probably always had my student ID, and once when we had to talk to some police about a drunk who was being disorderly all I had in my pocket was a US drivers license. They were amused that it was so simple, because Germans like (or liked) ID that's fancy and folds, but they didn't have a problem with it. I did carry my passport when I visited other countries, but I usually wasn't anyplace very long and wasn't generally staying in nice places with hotel safes (and that was back when there were border controls within the EU and everybody had different currencies).
30 Years ago I lived in Berlin while working as a contractor for the U.S. Military. As a U.S. contractor in Berlin which at the time was an occupied city all I needed to carry was my U.S. contractor ID card. It was like having diplomatic immunity.
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Old May 6, 18, 6:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Uh Clem View Post
30 Years ago I lived in Berlin while working as a contractor for the U.S. Military. As a U.S. contractor in Berlin which at the time was an occupied city all I needed to carry was my U.S. contractor ID card. It was like having diplomatic immunity.
Berlin was a lot of fun 30 years ago - I went a couple times for a week each when I was there, but haven't been back since. Once turned out to be during Reagan's visit, so I have lots of pictures of demonstrators, police lines, and armored cars with water cannon. IIRC they brought in 30K extra police for that event. I'll probably go for a conference this fall - a friend who was my undergrad german instructor in the US way back then goes pretty regularly still and says it's better than ever.
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Old May 6, 18, 6:34 pm
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You probably don't need to but you should. When in a foreign country other than the U.S.A. my passport is on my person unless I'm in my hotel room. It's come in handy for a variety of everyday events such as going to a casino, roadside checkpoints, changing money, using a credit card and was very handy to have on a couple of more exciting occasions. A folded photocopy might have worked as well but I have no intention of finding out. A photocopy is kept at the hotel in the event I need to replace my passport.
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Old May 6, 18, 6:43 pm
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It's why I got a passport card the last time around. I've got my GE and passport cards in my wallet. The passport is in the safe. Don't think I need both, but it really isn't a big deal to carry them.
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Old May 6, 18, 6:43 pm
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I take a picture of my passport on my phone. I keep the original safe back at the hotel. I’ve never been asked to produce a passport while in Germany. But if needed, I have my phone even when I don’t have my wallet
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Old May 6, 18, 7:04 pm
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit View Post
I take a picture of my passport on my phone. I keep the original safe back at the hotel. I’ve never been asked to produce a passport while in Germany. But if needed, I have my phone even when I don’t have my wallet
I'm surprised by the number of poster saying that the passport is stored in the safe. FWIW, I don't consider a hotel room safe to be a safe place. I keep my passport on my person.

Re: Germany, I've never been controlled in Germany, but i'd still advise against leaving the hotel without any ID. It just takes bad luck to be in a situation where you are asked to produce a passport (e.g. car accident).
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Old May 6, 18, 8:44 pm
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There might be a debate where passport is more safe - at hotel's safe or when in one's possession.

I belong to the group which leaves passport in safe because I do not consider it wise to carry it with me when I go in places like night markets in Asia or for rafting for example. And I never was asked to show my passport or any other ID when making credit card purchases in any country except US.
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Old May 6, 18, 9:10 pm
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Moving thread to FT Germany Forum
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Old May 6, 18, 11:24 pm
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I'll take my chances with a hotel safe vs. lugging around my passport all day. Especially in Germany...
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Old May 6, 18, 11:54 pm
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A fairly recent development is that railway conductors in Germany no longer accept a credit card to verify a self-printed ticket and now require to see a passport (or official ID card) to verify the ticket owner's identity. It's so recent that at the time of viewing when I last bought a ticket, the web site nor the ticket instructions had caught up.
Caught me on the hop a month or so ago when I proffered my CC as normal, but fortunately was able to produce my passport.
I'm guessing the change is due to DBahn now accepting Paypal
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Old May 7, 18, 12:09 am
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Originally Posted by Carnforth View Post
A fairly recent development is that railway conductors in Germany no longer accept a credit card to verify a self-printed ticket and now require to see a passport (or official ID card) to verify the ticket owner's identity. It's so recent that at the time of viewing when I last bought a ticket, the web site nor the ticket instructions had caught up.
Caught me on the hop a month or so ago when I proffered my CC as normal, but fortunately was able to produce my passport.
I'm guessing the change is due to DBahn now accepting Paypal
I'm from the US, so I use my Driver's License in these situations and it has never failed me. Like when you enter offices and need to get a visitor's tag they take the Driver's License in lieu of other ID. Easy to keep in my wallet, and not a massive hassle to deal with losing, worse case.
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