Does an Irish citizen need a passport to travel to Spain?
May 14, 2009 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Does an EU citizen need a passport to travel between EU countries?

The BF and I are planning a trip to Spain in late July. He has an expired Irish passport (yes he's a twit). He has a driver's license, but not a national ID card that I know of. Will he need a passport to go between the UK (he lives in Northern Ireland) and Spain? If he can't get his passport renewed before we travel, will his license be enough ID?

Also, how long does it take to get a passport renewed in Ireland?

posted by aelish to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Need a passport to travel between EU countries? No.

How long to get an Irish passport renewed? No idea.
posted by Beardman at 7:16 PM on May 14, 2009

Nope. That's the magic of the Schengen Agreement.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:22 PM on May 14, 2009

The UK isn't part of the Schengen zone. He'll need a passport to fly to Spain or enter the Schengen area through another route, and he'll also need it for ID purposes in Spain.
posted by holgate at 7:31 PM on May 14, 2009

On, and there's a ten-day express renewal through a load of post offices in NI. Six quid on top of the standard fee.
posted by holgate at 7:35 PM on May 14, 2009

From previous experience, you don't need a passport to exit the UK, and all the Schengen countries don't mind you entering without a passport. But he will need a valid passport to get back into the UK at the end of the trip. I managed to get back in without my passport, but had to be questioned first. I wasn't bad, but I don't recommend it just for the stress.
posted by Joh at 8:42 PM on May 14, 2009

The Timatic database used by airlines to determine entry requirements says, among other things:
National Ireland (Republic of) (IE)
Residence United Kingdom (Great Britain) (GB)
Destination Spain (ES)

Passport required.
- Passport and/or passport replacing documents must be valid for the period of intended stay.
- Nationals of Ireland (Republic of) can enter holding passports valid upon arrival.


- Non-compliance with entry/transit regulations may result in fines between EUR 6.025.-, and EUR 60.240.-.
You should note that regardless of what the Spanish immigration authorities will put up with, your transportation providers may insist on a currently valid passport, not wanting to be hit with a hefty fine themselves. Once EasyJet rejected my UK government issued identification for an internal flight not crossing any international borders, saying they would accept only a passport.

In short, I think attempting this is foolhardy. I am gobsmacked by those who suggest that you can travel from outside the Schengen zone to inside it without an unexpired passport or national identity card. If you really want to do it I suggest confirming with the Spanish consulate and your transportation carrier in writing. It'd probably be less hassle just to get the express passport renewal.
posted by grouse at 11:15 PM on May 14, 2009

Yes he will need a passport or identity card, no a drivers license is not enough!

Even if travelling between Schengen countries by land you can be checked for passport/identity card (seriously ... I got checked on a train between the Netherlands and Germany this year)


posted by jannw at 12:43 AM on May 15, 2009

I agree with grouse. The airline will require a passport.

And he has enough time before end of july to renew his.
posted by motdiem2 at 12:45 AM on May 15, 2009

He will need a passport. The only other valid form of ID is a national ID card, which the UK does not have yet for the general public. Driving licences are not accepted, not least because non-nationals can get them.

Travelling by land between schengen countries? You may not need to show your ID, but you need to have it - schengen rules only apply to EU nationals, so though you do not need a passport to go between schengen countries, you do need to show you're an EU national - which is a passport or ID card. Most EU nationals have to carry an ID card at all times anyway, so that's the preferred option. Ive had my passport checked when crossing from spain to france, for example.

Since the UK doesn't have ID cards, the only ID they'll let him on the plane with is a valid passport, since he definitely wouldn't be getting back in the country without it.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:11 AM on May 15, 2009

He really shouldn't have any trouble getting it renewed if he uses Passport Express and does it soon. Even the normal service would probably do although that would be more risky.
posted by serak at 2:20 AM on May 15, 2009

The Spanish authorities require advance information about air travellers from the UK and Ireland (APIS):
the airline will need his passport number when you buy the ticket.

see this previous question
posted by doiheartwentyone at 5:31 AM on May 15, 2009

As others have said, you will need passports. You can get them renewed very quickly; I had mine within four days by dropping into the IPS office in London. The process was fast and slick.

You can find details here:
posted by Lleyam at 6:44 AM on May 15, 2009

I had mine within four days by dropping into the IPS office in London.

That's for UK passports, not Irish ones.
posted by holgate at 9:19 AM on May 15, 2009

I have never managed to do any kind of air travel into/out of the UK to an EU country that did not involve showing my passport at check-in and entering the other country on the other side - you may get a separate queue at immigrations that says EU nationals but you still have to show your passport to them and they do check them over carefully. Travelling into the UK it used to be more a causual glance but that has changed drastically in recent years....get a passport!
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:34 AM on May 17, 2009

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