Should I carry my passport in Italy?
When we are outside our original country, our passport is the most important document we have. It will allow you to enter and leave countries, it will serve as your identity and it will be asked if something happens to you during your trip. A question that always arises among travelers is “do I always need to carry my passport in Italy?” Today we are going to learn everything about the subject! Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
A fully stamped, well cared-for passport, with visas from different countries! This is the dream of those who love to travel, isn’t it? But this document still causes some doubts in some travelers: should I always have my passport? It is not dangerous? What if I lose it? Let’s take one step at a time!
The passport, when we are outside our country of origin, is the document that identifies us as a citizen. When we are traveling abroad, where a passport is required, this small document will certify to the authorities that you are you, and that everything is fine for you to be there. See all you need about documents in What documents do I need to enter Italy?
For start, do you know when and how the passport came about?
As incredible as it may seem, the first record of a passport-like document appears in the Bible! What? Yes! The year? 450 BC! This record comes when the story of Nehemiah is cited, who was an official of the Persian Empire, and needed to go to Judea. So that he could travel safely, King Artaxerxes handed him a document signed by him, requesting that Nehemiah could safely cross the borders, that is, he gave him an authorization, which today would be the visa or stamp of the immigration. Evidently, what we know today is far from what Nehemiah received.
The passport we have today was born around 1920, at the request of the UN that wanted to “organize” the way people traveled; the idea was that countries could have more control over who entered and left their borders.
Initially, 42 countries adhered to the passport ‘standard’: a small book, 15.5 cm high and 10 cm wide, containing personal data such as name, date and place of birth, identification photo, 32 pages and written in the local language and in an international language – which at the time was French. Today there is even a sort of ‘ranking’ that ‘measures’ the ‘strength’ of each country’s passport. First of all? UNITED ARAB EMIRATES’s passport; the Italian passport appears on the list in second place! What ‘measures’ this strength? No need/obligation for a visa for other countries in the world. If you are curious and want to take a look at the total ranking, which changes every year, you can click here!
Let’s get to the point! “Do I really need to carry my passport in Italy at all times?”
Not necessarily, but yes! Hahaha… Confused? I’ll explain to you! According to the law DLGS N.286 of July 25th, 1998, it is mandatory that you always carry an international identification document (your passport) whenever you are in Italy, BUT, it doesn’t have to be the original document, it can be a copy.
Does it need to be a certified copy?
No! A simple copy is enough; however, it is always important to remember that a certified copy ends up being much more ‘safe’ if something happens to you. Better safe than sorry, isn’t it? Why complicate things if we can make it easier?
Another important thing
Always have the copy of ALL your scanned documents saved in your email, so you have easy access to them. In addition, always leave a copy of your documents with a person you trust in your country of origin, as well as a power of attorney so that, in case something happens, you can ask for their assistance, even if you are in Italy! That goes for passport, international card, ID, IDP, Taxpayer number… in short, all the identification documents you have. Also read I lost my passport in Italy. What to do?
Who can ask for my passport in Italy?
Any Italian authority. Include in this list also personnel at the airport, ports, hotel, train and metro stations, as well as other bodies, such as employees of monuments, public offices, etc. Of course, it is worth bearing in mind that this is the only international document that identifies you, so it is even normal that, in some situations, you may be asked for your passport.
- Always remember to politely request identification from whoever is requesting to see your passport, and why, if you are in a situation where you believe there is no need to present the document. People, it’s almost impossible for a police officer to stop you and ask for your identification in the middle of the street, for example, but it can happen. We’ll see more about this below.
Am I obliged to present my document in case of request?
Another question that I get asked a lot: “Am I obliged to present my document in case of request?” No! But you have to identify yourself and inform your name, surname, country of origin and place of accommodation. But if you don’t have anything to hide, it’s okay to present your documentation if asked, right?
Good to know…
If you refuse to identify yourself, you can be arrested: Art. 651 of the Italian Penal Code is valid for citizens and tourists and gives the authorities the power to imprison people who refuse to identify themselves in case of request. Therefore, show your passport in Italy.
It’s unusual for a police officer to ask for your ID while you’re strolling?
Yes, but it’s not impossible! If that happens, know that it’s nothing personal, that the policeman didn’t ‘picture’ you and that, turn and move, they can ask anyone! After all, they’re working, they’re not doing anything wrong, so it can happen that, by chance, the authorities choose a few people to check documents and, if you’re one of the ‘luckies’, rest assured, present your documents and when they’re done analyzing, go on your way.
- We hope nothing bad happens during a vacation trip, but we know it’s possible, so ALWAYS have an ID with you! Ever! Even if you only go for a walk around the block after dinner, take your document, ok?
I am an Italian citizen, which document do I need to take with me on a tour of Italy?
If you are an Italian citizen and have the Carta D’Identità, you do not need to carry either your passport or a copy of it, an ID card is sufficient.
- Always, always, always take with you, written on paper and in a safe place, (not only on your cell phone) some important data such as: the name of your hotel, the address, the telephone number, your full name, the number of your passport and your nationality. Also take notes such as your blood type, if you have a chronic illness, an allergy to any medications, and/or if you take any medications that you use continuously.
- Why not on mobile? Because if you lose your cell phone, or if something happens to you and you don’t have the device (maybe it ran out of battery!), when they call for help, the rescuers will need some data, especially in case they need to medicate or do you a blood transfusion, so it’s important that you always have such information with you. People, it may sound silly, but it could literally save your life! Unfortunately, anything can happen, so always be ready for the unexpected!
Can the hotel retain my passport in Italy upon check-in?
Yes! They can hold your passport and return it to you at check out. It is no longer such a common practice (although it is still used by some hotels), and you can apply for the original passport for them when you need it, but they are allowed to retain your passport at reception during your stay.
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Should I carry my passport in Italy? Our passport is our most precious possession during a trip and, therefore, it is important to take care of it as you take care of your own life, as we take care of a child, because it is this document that tells the world who you are as a citizen! Take good care of it and of you! Have a nice trip!
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