Can you travel without a passport?

Flying abroad requires preparation time. First, from an administrative point of view since the airlines ask for identity papers. Passport, national identity card, driving licence, visa… It is sometimes difficult to navigate between all these supporting documents and the requirements of each country. Under what conditions can one travel without a passport or with an expired passport? Is this possible in the European Union? And what about other countries in the world? Discover all the subtleties to know before going abroad for holidays or work. Everything you need to know to avoid disappointments and not be blocked at the border.

Steps to get a passport

Even if your trip abroad does not require a passport, it is always useful to have one, in case you have to fly in an emergency.

On the other hand, it is better not to wait until your current passport has expired to renew it. Given the waiting time, sometimes several months, it is better to anticipate your request.

To do this, go to the town hall. No need to go to the prefecture. However, the town hall will need to be equipped with a station to process your passport application.

Regarding the supporting documents to be provided, you will be asked:

  • your valid identity card (the original and a copy);
  • An identity photo ;
  • tax stamps up to 86 euros;
  • a proof of residence (the original and a copy);
  • and the Cerfa form n°12100*02 duly completed.
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Lost or expired passport: how to travel abroad?

First, let’s look at the first scenario. You have lost your passport or it has expired.

Know that you have the right to go abroad without your passport under several conditions:

  • your stay does not exceed three months;
  • you have French nationality;
  • the country of destination has signed and ratified the European Agreement on regulations governing the movement of persons between member countries of the Council of Europe;
  • and your passport has not been expired for more than five years.

To note : a temporary passport can be issued to you if you are a French citizen provided that it is a medical or humanitarian order, or for professional reasons.

Can you travel without a passport in the European Union?

Then, if you plan a short stay or vacation in a European country, know that it is not mandatory to present a passport.

Indeed, you can go to an EU country with a simple national identity card. No need therefore to be in possession of a valid or expired passport.

However, make sure your national identity card is valid. Nevertheless, some countries take into account the increase in the period of validity of the national identity card from 10 to 15 years. But this only concerns adults, not minors. Find the list of countries concerned on the website of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Do you need a passport to travel abroad?

Do you want to fly to a distant destination, far from the European Union? In this case, the situation turns out to be different in terms of administrative formalities.

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Indeed, outside the European Union, you will be required to present a valid passport to travel legally. Most countries in the world require the presentation of a passport to enter their territory, and possibly a visa.

On the other hand, some states also require the expiry date of the passport to exceed the date of return by several months. It is therefore advisable before packing your bags to know the requirements of the country of destination. For this, get information from the official website You can also get information from the embassy or consulate of the country you are going to.

Summary of identity documents required for air travel

In the European Union

First, if you are traveling in Europe, in the Schengen Area, you can present either:

  • a valid national identity card;
  • a valid passport;
  • a driving license.

And if you are going to a country outside the Schengen Area, but still in Europe, you will have to present either your identity card or your passport. Driving license is not accepted.

In a country of the world outside the EU

Then, if your stay is to take place abroad, in a country outside the European Union, know that the identity card will not be sufficient, and even less the driving license.

You will need to have a valid passport. And some countries will also ask you for a visa. In any case, it will be impossible for you to travel without a passport.

To note : a minor has the right to travel without his parents, provided he also presents an authorization to leave the territory. The document must be signed by one of the parents, whether it is a trip to Europe or elsewhere.

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What to do before going abroad

Whether you have decided to travel without a passport or not, there are precautions to take to avoid disappointment in the territory of destination.

Check the documents required by the host country

Before packing your luggage, check the travel documents required for entry and stay in the country of destination. To do this, contact the embassy or consulate of the country concerned in France. Some countries require a minimum passport validity.

Store your identity documents in a safe place

Of course, during your stay on the other side of the world, be vigilant. You should take care of your luggage (suitcases, handbags, backpacks, etc.). The loss or theft of his identity papers is problematic.

To protect yourself against future problems, keep a copy of each of your identity documents taken with you at home. And also bring two passport photos. Abroad, it is always important to be able to prove your identity.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends storing identity documents on the website. In a few clicks, you create your free and confidential storage space. The service is available continuously, 24 hours a day. Once abroad, you can access it to prove your identity in case of loss or theft.

Report the loss or theft of your identity documents

Finally, if despite all your precautions, you have lost your identity documents, national card or passport, do not wait a minute. Go to the local police authorities to report the loss or theft.

In this case, subject to payment and a waiting period, the French embassy or consulate will issue an emergency passport or laissez-passer. You will be able to return to France.

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