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Correct ID

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Buffalo, New York
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922 posts
19 reviews
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Correct ID

I'd like ti use my driver's license which has a photo and a xerox copy of my passport for ID around Rome. My thinking is the DL is smaller and I can keep the passport in the room safe. Do you think this will be OK, especially for the Vatican?

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16 reviews
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1. Re: Correct ID

Hi Maliboo - my wife and I are leaving this week. I have been reading TA for the last 6 months and this captivating topic has come up numerous times, so let me leap in with my learning's.

It is undoubtedly the law that non Euro zone visitors have their passports with them at all times.

It is also a fact that many visitors , for obvious reasons , feel uncomfortable walking around with their passports and ignore this law. The majority of respondents on this question have indicated they have never been asked for ID anywhere by anyone.

I'm afraid you'll have to weigh the facts and make your own call. If it helps, we've decided to leave the passports in the safe.

Have a great trip.


Buffalo, New York
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922 posts
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2. Re: Correct ID

My husband and I are leaving this week, too.

Wow, this is a tough call since I tend to be a rule follower. I'm going to have to think about this some more.


Denver, Colorado
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67 reviews
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3. Re: Correct ID

Interesting ... we were in Rome from April 24th - April 30th. Didn't even know this rule existed so we kept our passports locked up in the hotel safe. Outside of our initial check-in at the hotel, we were not asked for identification at all.

Rather than carrying a paper photo copy of our passports, we scanned them to email. We could have logged into our email from our phone to show our passports I guess.

We did just about every major tourist site in Rome (including the Vatican) and were never asked for any proof of ID ...

Destination Expert
for Rome
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30,740 posts
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4. Re: Correct ID

Your drivers license should be enough if you plan on renting audio guides or the like. It is the law to carry your passport but you'll need to make that decision for yourself. Just remember the police can stop you at any time and ask for it. Just because it doesn't happen often doesn't mean it doesn't happen.


New York City, New...
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5. Re: Correct ID

I always carry a photocopy of my passport. In the days when I used internet cafes, this was required ---- and sufficient --- for I.D. I just make a few copies, leave one at home, take two with me, and use it for I.d. Passport stays in hotel or apartment, preferably in a safe

Brussels, Belgium
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30,828 posts
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6. Re: Correct ID

It's not "non-euro-zone" visitors that are supposed to carry their passports at all times! It is also a requirement for EU visitors, whether from the euro-zone or not (this means the countries that use the euro!) who do not have a national ID card, issued by the EU Member State of which they are a citizen. This means for example that Danes and Swedes, who are outside the euro-zone but DO have national ID cards, may carry their national ID card instead of a passport. Brits, on the other hand, have (legally) to carry their passports - not because they come from outside the euro-zone (although they do) but because the UK doesn't issue national ID cards, and the requirement is to carry a document issued by the national/federal authorities of the COUNTRY (not State as I believe is the case with drivers' licenses) of which you are a citizen. Italians also have to carry their national ID cards, and foreign residents of Italy, their residence permits (in Italy: ID cards/passport when they travel to another EU/EEA Member State - and also for walking around in most of them; though I know the UK is an exception, surprise, surprise).

Of course, you probably wouldn't have to produce this level of ID (other than on checking into your hotel) unless you happen to have any dealings with the police. For example, I guess you wouldn't be opening a bank account or picking up registered mail from the post office...

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
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37,409 posts
26 reviews
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7. Re: Correct ID

My husband and I carry our Italian indentity cards with us at all times, as do most Italians I know. If you drive, it's not rare at all to be stopped for a random check and asked to show ID. My daughters, who are both US citizens, always carry their passports with them at all times when they're here in Italy.

US citizens can now get an official plastic credit-card-sized summary of their passport information, with a photo. This should be sufficient to satisfy the law, and it costs only $15, I think. If you want to leave your passport in the hotel safe, maybe you should get one of these. One of my daughters has now got one of these.

United States
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9,565 posts
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8. Re: Correct ID

The passport card is more that $15. Here is the link to the government site which explains it.



Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Correct ID

when I renew my passport in a year or so I plan to get a passport card -- that seems like the obvious solution to not wanting to carry the full passport but having the ID.

I always use my drivers license when Id is required and carry a copy of the passport for detax purchases etc. no way I would ever leave my passport as security for an audio guide or whatever -- but they have always accepted the driver's license

the passport card would be perfect for the ID purpose

Norwich, United...
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10. Re: Correct ID

The different requirements when some form of ID is needed go something like this:

- least demanding, the simple commercial ones. As with the €2 or £2 coin that unchains a supermarket trolley, "don't want to lose" documents - or a credit card sometimes - will suffice as a hostage.... where the aim is to discourage you from walking off with a hired bicycle, audioguide etc, or just dumping it rather than bothering with the returns queue! In such cases suitability will be decided usually by the individual employee.

- then there's the obligatory registration of all guests at hotels, B&Bs, apartments etc, where a clerk, the owner or a standin gathers their details, which then go to the police. With standardised passport layouts, well-organised places can scan documents in a few seconds, but - at the risk of a load of grief if transcribed wrongly - others may accept a photocopy (with or without seeing the originals) or even a JPG or PDF by email.... which is what, for a crim or terrorist, might be the best way to evade detection?

- most rigorous of all are the proper security checks, and times when ID is demanded officially - such as when caught transgressing the ticket rules on public transport and the like.... For these there's a much more limited definition of what you have to provide, and penalties if you don't! Check what's required of those from your own country.


The British would be better ignoring the advice offered by a previous poster - and relying instead on this, from our Embassy in Rome... "In Italy it is obligatory to carry some form of photo-ID with you at all times (passport, EU drivers' license with a photo etc.)."



PS: Before spending $30 or more on anything like that US passport card, I'd personally want assurance of its recognition by the Italian authorities - as, in Holland for example, it's clearly of no value: