Travel documents

In principle, you will not need to show any ID document to cross a border between Schengen countries.

Schengen countries are all the countries of the EU apart from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania, plus the four non-EU countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

If you are traveling to or from a non-Schengen EU country, the police will ask you to present a valid ID card or a passport at the border.

Schengen countries can decide to suspend Schengen temporarily or to perform random identity checks at the border for security reasons. In this case, you may also be asked to present an ID card or passport at the border.

Nevertheless, mind that in most EU countries (maybe even yours) you are always supposed to carry a valid ID card or passport with you.

Finally, airlines are obliged to verify the identity of their passengers against an ID card or passport at boarding and luggage drop-off. This applies also to flights within the same country.

documents travel ID ID card passport Schengen countries

Your driving licence is not a valid ID document and it will not be accepted by airlines and at eventual border checks.

ID ID card border checks

No, your residence card, even if called ID card, cannot be used as a travel document. To cross internal EU borders, you need to present either your national ID card or a passport.

EU Member State residence card travel

If your country doesn’t have a diplomatic representation in a third country, as an EU citizen, you have the right to be protected by the diplomatic or consular authorities of any EU Member State, on the same conditions as the nationals of that Member State. This is enshrined in article 46 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Therefore, you can contact a consulate or an embassy of any EU Member State and they should be able to help you.

travel passport non-EU country embassy consulate

The same identification requirements described above (see question 1) apply to children.

Member States may require additional documents, in particular if the child travels alone or without both parents. There are no EU rules on this matter, therefore, you should check with the authorities of the countries of origin, destination and transit. Mind also that airlines may impose additional requirements for the identification and travel authorisation of minors and some have their own forms. Check with your airline before you go to the airport.

child travel document airport

According to EU rules, non-EU family members can benefit from the same rights as family members who are EU nationals. This means they can travel with you to another EU country. Your non-EU family members must always have a valid passport and may be also requested to show visa and/or residence document. It is however always advisable to contact the consulate or embassy of the country you are planning to go in order to know which documents your non-EU family member will be asked to present at the border.

Please check this EC website to know whether your non-EU family needs to get an entry visa before going with you to another EU Member State:

Please bear in mind: If you have a residence card as an EU national family member and are travelling to another EU country without your EU family member, you must apply for a visa to enter that country.

EU citizen non-EU spouse travel
Passenger rights

In case of flight cancellation, you have the right to reimbursement, re-routing or return. You have also the right to compensation if you were informed about the cancellation less than 14 days prior to the scheduled departure date.

Please bear in mind: Compensation is not due if the airline can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken (e.g. weather conditions or strikes).

flight cancellation reimbursement Compensation

If your flight is delayed at departure, you have the right to assistance, to reimbursement and a return flight, depending on the duration of the delay and the distance of the flight. If due to the delay you arrived at your final destination at least 3 hours later than expected, you are entitled to compensation.

Please bear in mind: Compensation is not due if the airline can prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken (e.g. weather conditions).

delay flight reimbursement

You should always send your complaint to the airline first. They have 2 months to provide you with their response. If they don’t or if you are not satisfied with the reply, you can make a complaint with the relevant national authority. The list of all national contact authorities is available here. You can also use the Alternative Dispute Resolution entity (ADR) or the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform (if you bought your ticket online). Finally, you can go on a legal action and present a claim for compensation under EU rules using the European Small Claims procedure.

Please bear in mind: You can always contact your local European Consumer Centre for help and advice on problems related to air passenger rights.

If you want to know more on the above options, please check the following EC’s website:

delay flight complaint
Travelling with animals

You can freely travel with your dog if it has a European pet passport. Any authorised veterinarian will be able to provide you with such a document. To be able to travel with your pet, the European pet passport must show that the pet has been vaccinated against rabies and, if travelling to Finland, Ireland, Malta or the United Kingdom, also treated against the tapeworm Echinococcus. The passport must also bear the number of your pet’s identification microchip

travel dog pet passport

The EU pet passport is only available for dogs, cats and ferrets. Other animals are covered by national rules which you should check prior to departure in order to make sure you can bring your animal with you. You can find more information on national rules here.

pet passport animal travel
Healthcare and emergencies when traveling

Before you leave, you need to make sure that you have your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It is usually delivered by the social security institution in your home country. If you get sick or have an accident, you need to present your EHIC card to a doctor or a hospital affiliated to the public health sector in order to be covered by the social security in your home country. If you don't have the EHIC card, you can't be refused treatment, but you might have to pay for your treatment upfront and claim reimbursement once you get home.

Please bear in mind: The EHIC will not cover the rescue and repatriation costs. Before you leave, please consider whether you would need an extra insurance for travel risks. In particular, the extra insurance cover would be advisable if you plan to practice action sports, e.g. skiing, scuba diving, mountain biking, parachuting, rafting, etc.

family European Health Insurance Card medical treatment

You cannot rely on your EHIC if the reason for traveling abroad is to receive a treatment. You need a prior authorisation from a competent institution in your home country to access a specialised treatment abroad.

medical treatment EHIC travel

112 is the European emergency number you can use free of charge from fixed and mobile phones in any EU Member State. It will connect you to the emergency services – police, ambulance, fire fighters. Each Member State has also its own national emergency numbers, but it may be troublesome to learn them by heart every time you go to another EU country. Therefore, keep in mind 112 as a number you can use to access the emergency services in all EU countries.

emergency number travel
Bringing goods from another EU country

As a private individual you can bring alcohol or tobacco for your own use. The maximum amounts are as follows:

  • 800 cigarettes
  • 400 cigarillos
  • 200 cigars
  • 1 kg of tobacco
  • 10 litres of spirits
  • 20 litres of fortified wine
  • 90 litres of wine (including a maximum of 60 litres of sparkling wines)
  • 110 litres of beer

Those are the minimum limits, but each Member State has a right to establish higher limits if it wishes so.

travel wine alcohol
Driving in another EU Member State

If your licence was issued in one of the 28 EU Member States, Iceland, Lichtenstein or Norway, you can use it anywhere in the EU. Once your licence expires, you will have to renew it in the country where you reside (live there for at least 185 days in each calendar year because of personal or work-related ties). Mind that if your driving licence has already expired, the authorities of your host country will not be able to renew it. Get in touch with them within a reasonable period of time before the expiry date to be sure everything goes smoothly.

driving licence EU

No, you cannot, unless you plan to stay in your host country less than six months. For periods above 6 months you are obliged to register your car in the country where you reside.

However, there is an exception for students. If you move to another EU country to study (you are enrolled in an educational establishment and possess a valid enrolment certificate), you can drive your car without having to register it in your host country. Once you start working during your studies, you will have to register your car in that country.

move car drive

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I am moving to another EU Member State for a two-month student exchange programme. Do I need to report my presence to anyone in the host country?

During the first 3 months of your stay, your host country cannot require you to register your residence. However, you can do so if you wish. You will be asked to present the following documents:

  • proof of enrolment at an approved educational establishment
  • proof of comprehensive health insurance
  • declaration that you have sufficient resources to support yourself during your stay abroad
host country register residence
I moved to another EU Member State to look for a job 3 months ago. I am still looking but recently a police officer told me to register my residence at the town hall and to prove I have sufficient financial resources. Is it necessary?

As a jobseeker, you don't need to register as a resident for the first 6 months. However, some EU countries may require you to report your presence to the relevant authorities, usually a town hall or a police station, within a reasonable period after arrival. All you need to report your presence as EU national is your identity card or passport, no other documents should be required.

job register residence
I have been looking for job in another Member State for 6 months, but I haven’t found anything yet. Can I stay longer and continue my job search?

The national authorities may want to assess your right to stay if you haven’t managed to find a job within the first 6 months of your stay. They may ask you to prove that you are actively looking for a job and have a good chance of finding one. Therefore, it is always advisable to keep any documents that can serve as a proof, e.g. copies of your job applications, responses from potential employers, invitations for interviews. You may also be required to register as a job seeker at the unemployment services of the host country.

job residence
I lost my job in my home country and I would like to try my chances in another EU Member State. I am currently receiving unemployment benefits. Can I continue receiving them once I leave?

Yes, you can continue receiving your unemployment benefit for at least 3 months from the EU country where you were last working - and up to a maximum of 6 months, depending on the country paying your benefits. Please remember that you need to be registered as unemployed jobseeker with the employment services in your home country for at least 4 weeks. Before you leave, remember to request a U2 form from the unemployment services in your country. This document is an authorisation to export your unemployment benefits. Upon arrival in your host country, please follow these steps:

  • register as a jobseeker with the employment services in your host country within 7 days from the date on which you ceased to be available to the employment services in the country you left
  • submit your U2 form when you register

Be aware that employment services in your host country can undertake checks on the progress of your job search as if you were receiving unemployment benefits from them. Remember to inform yourself on your rights and duties as a job seeker in the host country.

unemployment benefits job jobseeker
I am doing a one-year university exchange programme abroad. After 6 months of stay I wanted to register as a resident, but my local town hall requires that I present a proof of having 10 000 euro on my bank account. Are they allowed to ask for that?

As a student, you have the right to live in an EU country where you are studying for the duration of your studies if you:

  • are enrolled in an approved educational establishment
  • have sufficient financial resources
  • have comprehensive health insurance cover there.

Member States have, however, no right to fix amount of resources that they consider “sufficient”.They should consider your personal situation. However, you satisfy this condition if the resources you possess are higher than the threshold below which the nationals of the host country become eligible for social assistance, or higher than the minimum social security pension paid by that country. For students it is usually enough to make a simple declaration stating that you have sufficient resources not to become a burden on the host social assistance scheme.

student live EU
I moved to another Member State for work. Can my non-EU spouse join me here?

Yes, EU citizens have the right to be accompanied or joined there by their family members, even if they are not EU citizens.

work non-EU spouse
We are a same-sex couple who would like to move to another EU Member State. I am an EU citizen, while my spouse comes from a third country. We have recently found out that the country we are moving to does not recognise same-sex marriages. Will my spouse be able to join me anyway?

If you are in a same-sex marriage and you move to another EU country, your host country must recognise yours and your non-EU spouse’s residence rights. This rule applies even if same-sex marriages are not recognised in the host country.

same-sex marriage residence rights
My non-EU partner would like to live with me in my home country. Can she join me following EU rules?

No, if he/she wants to join you in your country of origin and you haven't lived together in another EU country before, only national rules will apply to your situation.

non-EU spouse live home country
My partner and I are planning to spend our retirement years in another EU country. Are there any conditions we need to satisfy in order to register as residents?

Yes, as economically inactive EU citizens, you need to prove that you have comprehensive health insurance cover in your host country, and you possess sufficient resources to live there without needing income support.

retirement EU residence
I have been living in my host country for 5 years. I wanted to apply for permanent residence, but the national authorities requested me to prove that I am employed and have sufficient resources. Can they do that?

No. After 5 years’ continuous legal residence, you automatically have the right to permanent residence. Your host country can verify the continuity of your residence, but it should not ask you for a proof of employment or sufficient resources.

permanent residence home country
I have been living in my host country for 5 years. In the second year of my stay I left for a two-month holiday. Does this break affect my right to permanent residence?

No, the continuity of your residence in your host country is not affected by temporary absences not exceeding a total of 6 months per year. Longer absences of up to one year do not affect the continuity of your residence if they are justified by compulsory military service or for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, work, vocational training or a posting to another country.

home country residence

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I am working in a host Member State, while my partner, who does not work, and my kids remained in my home country. Where should I claim child benefits?

If family members do not live in the same Member State, they could be entitled to family benefits from different countries. In principle, the primary country responsible for providing the benefits is the country where your family's right is based on work. As you are the only family member working, it would be therefore your host country to be responsible for the payment of family benefits.

work EU child benefits
I am working in another EU Member State, while my partner, who is also employed, and my kids remained in our home country. Where should I claim child benefits?

If family members do not live in the same Member State, they could be entitled to family benefits from different countries. In principle, the primary country responsible for providing the benefits is the country where your family's right is based on work. If both parents work, as it is in your case, then the country where your children live is responsible for the payment of the benefits. In your case, it should be therefore your home country to pay. If the benefits in your home country are lower than in your host country, then the difference should be paid by the secondary country (host country in your case) to make sure you receive maximum amount to which you are entitled.

family benefits work kids

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I have been living and working in another EU Member State for serval years. I am coming back to my home country. Can I somehow recuperate the contributions I paid for my future pension?

You cannot recuperate the contributions paid, but you will not lose them. Once you reach the retirement age, you will get a separate pension from each EU country where you have worked or contributed.

pension EU work
I have worked in several EU Member States, but I haven’t kept all my payslips. Is there an institution which keeps track of my employment records for the purposes of my future pension?

In each Member State there is a social security institution responsible for keeping track of your records and contributions. Once you reach the retirement age, you should make the pension claim in the country of your residence, while the competent institution will liaise with the institutions in the other countries where you worked and establish a portable document ‘P1’, which will give you an overview of the decisions made by each country on your pension claim.

EU payslips employment records
I have recently retired in my home country and would like to spend my retirement years in another EU Member State. Will I continue receiving my pension?

Yes, the pension from your home country will be paid to you regardless of the place of your residence without any reduction, modification or suspension.

retire pension residence

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I bought a phone online 20 months ago. The phone stopped working, but the seller says that my warranty expired after the first 12 months. Is he right?

No, in the EU, you always have the right to a 2-year guarantee free of charge. The shop or the retailer can offer a longer period of guarantee, but it can never be shorter than 2 years.

warranty buy guarantee
I bought a PC in an online shop 30 months ago. The computer broke recently. Do I have the right to a guarantee?

Under the EU rules your right to guarantee expired after two years. However, it is always worth to contact the seller or check the national rules, as some shops and/or countries can offer longer legal guarantees.

guarantee online shop
My phone, which I bought online, broke before the guarantee expired. Under EU rules, can I ask immediately for a refund?

The retailer should give you the choice between having the product repaired or replaced. Only in case both solutions are not feasible (e.g. it would be too costly too repair, the product is not available anymore on the market, etc.), then you can ask to be refunded.

refund guarantee repair phone
I bought a laptop from an online retailer located in another EU Member State. After it arrived, I found out it was broken. I tried to contact the seller, but he doesn’t want to take his responsibility. What should I do?

You can contact a European Consumer Centre in your country. They will tell you what your consumer rights are and advise you on how to proceed with the problematic seller. The list of the European Consumer Centres is available here

online shop damaged product broken

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I have been living in another EU Member State. I would like to vote in the EU elections. Do I need to come back to my home country to vote?

No, EU citizens can choose whether to vote in their home or in their host country. If you decide to vote in your host country, you will have to register on the electoral roll. Please check the deadlines for the registration procedures, as they tend to close well in advance of the elections.

vote EU elections home country
I would like to vote in the European elections from my host country. Can I choose whether to vote for the candidates from my home or host country?

Yes, you can choose whether to vote for candidates in your host country (by registering on the roll in your host municipality) or home country (in this case you should check if you are still registered to vote in your home country or if you need to re-register). Different EU countries provide different options for their citizens living abroad: postal voting, voting from an embassy or a consulate.

vote EU elections host country
Do I have the right to vote in the local elections in my host country?

Yes, any EU citizen who is not a national of the EU country in which they live has the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections in that country under the same conditions as the nationals of that country. In order to participate, you will have to apply to be put on the electoral roll, as registration is automatic only in 13 EU countries, e.g. Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary (see link - access on 17 Dec. 19)

vote local elections municipal elections
I have just learnt that voting is compulsory in my host country. Will I be obliged to vote if I register on the roll for the local elections or the obligation is valid only for the nationals of that country?

If voting in local elections is compulsory in your host country and, following registration, you were included on the electoral roll of that country, you will have to vote. Voting is compulsory in Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, and Luxembourg.

Please bear in mind: Obligation to vote may discourage many mobile EU citizens from registering for the local elections. However, in some countries, e.g. Belgium, if you are not able to vote, you can designate a proxy, who will vote on your behalf.

register roll local elections
I wanted to vote in the local elections in my host country, but I was told by a public official that I need to be a resident of this country for more than five years in order to be eligible. Is he right?

He is rights if you are currently living in Luxembourg. Special rules can apply in those EU countries, where non-nationals make up more than 20 % of the total electorate. In such cases, the host country can require an additional period of residence before allowing you to participate in municipal elections. Today the only such country is Luxembourg, which requires mobile EU citizens to be resident for more than 5 years before giving them the right to vote.

vote host country residence
I would like to know how to register to vote in the local elections in my country. Whom should I contact?

You will receive most up to date information on deadlines if you contact your local municipality. The European Commission has also a dedicated website on voting in local elections, where you can select your country of residence to know more about the procedures. The website is available here.

vote local elections contact
I would like to stand as candidate in the local elections in my host country. Am I allowed to become a mayor?

Any EU citizen who is not a national of the EU country in which they live has the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections in that country under the same conditions as the nationals of that country. However, some Member State allow only their nationals to become mayors. This is the case for Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovenia.

candidate local elections host country
I have been living abroad in another EU Member State for several years. My home country is having national elections this year. Am I allowed to vote?

There are no EU rules on your rights to participate in your home country's elections if you live abroad. Each country is free to decide whether and how you can vote from abroad. You should contact an your country’s embassy or a consulate in your country of residence to get more information on your rights.

vote national elections home country

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My wife, who is a non-EU national, would like to join me in my host country, where I have been living for 5 years. Is she allowed to join me? Is there any EU service which I could contact to know our rights?

If you have a question regarding your EU rights or the rights of your family members, you can contact Your Europe Advice. It is a free advice service consisting of a team of legal experts who can provide advice in all official EU languages. You can submit your question by clicking on the following link

EU service rights
I have a problem with public authorities in my host country. My non-EU spouse applied for a residence document almost a year ago but hasn’t received any answer so far. We were supposed to travel together but she cannot join me without the required documents. Whom should I contact in this case?

If the authorities are failing to comply with their obligations under EU law, SOLVIT might be able to assist. SOLVIT can help if you are facing difficulties with residence rights, getting professional qualifications recognised, obtaining health insurance and so on. You can use SOLVIT for free, and their website can be found here.

residence document contact
I am looking for some information on the funding opportunities available for SMEs. The information I found online seems uncomplete and I have a few more concrete questions. Is there an EU service I can contact?

You can contact the Europe Direct Contact Centre which answers any question from the public about the European Union, via phone or email, free of charge. You can contact Europe Direct anywhere in the EU, for free at 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or submit your question online.

EU service
I believe that my country is breaching EU law. Can I contact the European Commission directly?

You can contact the European Commission about any measure (law, regulation or administrative action) or practice of your country that you believe is against Union law. To submit a complaint, please follow the steps on this website.

breaching EU law
I believe my complaint to the European Commission hasn’t been handled properly. I have also been treated in a very unprofessional way by a civil servant from the European Commission. Is there a specific EU body which could help me?

You can submit a complaint to the European Ombudsman. It is an independent and impartial body that holds the EU’s institutions and agencies to account and promotes good administration. To make a complaint, please follow this link.

complaint European Commission

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Belgium, Brussels
  • Europe Direct Bulgaria is an information and documentation center on the European Union allowing direct contact between the European Union and the citizens of all Bulgarian Regions:
  • Ministry of Interior - Migration Directorate in charge of issuing documents: Long-Term and Permanent Residence in Bulgaria for EU Citizens and Their Family Members. Long-Term Residence Permit provide support and information via their INFORMATION CENTRE. INFORMATION ABOUT FOREIGNERS AND EU CITIZENS:
  • Regional information centres on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria provide a variety of information, services and support to the citizens of the country as well as to the temporary residents of the respective territory. INFORMATION CENTRE
  • Centres for adult and continuous learning offering free Italian language courses:
    • The Provincial Centers of Adult Education (CPIA) - Centri Provinciali di Istruzione per gli Adulti. They offer free literacy and learning courses of the Italian language, which are part of the Adult Education system and also include elements concerning active citizenship. The list of CPIAs can be consulted at:
    • - the portal of the Italian language created by the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) and Rai Educational to help foreigners learn Italian as a second language (L2), as well as to understand the various aspects of civil life and to get closer to the principles of the Constitution:
  • “MyEU. Portal for young people on the move to promote active citizenship in the European Union". The Portal provides information to young people (18-35 years old) who live, study, work abroad or intend to do so:

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