Should You Carry Your Passport in Italy?

Blue U.S. passpord inside a leather suitcase

Many tourists wonder if it is needed to carry a passport while traveling in Italy. For someone who never visited it before, it can be hard to understand the laws. So, I did some research to help you solve all your doubts about carrying your passport.

So, should you carry your passport in Italy? According to the law of DLGS, 25 July 1998, N.286, you are always required to carry with you the original passport in Italy. It isn’t legally valid to carry a photocopy, but it should be enough. You are unlikely to get stopped by police, but be careful.

There are many mistakes that tourists do with their passport in Italy. I will share with you valuable information to help you avoid legal issues during your trip.

Should You Carry Your Passport All The Times in Italy?

You may have a lot of reasons to be afraid of carrying your passport in public. There is always a risk of lose it or being robbed, no matter where you are. But the problem comes when you expect that something bad will happen to you.

The reality is that you should always carry your passport all the time, even if it is risky. By doing this, you could avoid bills worth thousands of Euros and a bad moment. So, it is always a good idea to keep all your identification with you. Something can happen when you don’t expect it anywhere.

Should You Walk Around With Your Passport?.

As a tourist, you shouldn’t face any problems with the police or Carabinieri at all. There is a high chance that authorities will never check you. They won’t stop every tourist in the streets, but it is best to stay on the rule. I would definitely carry identification in any place I go, you never know.

In case a cop stops you, just be honest and do everything they say. Usually, they do it to prevent any illegal or terrorist activities. So, there is nothing to be afraid of being arrested as long as you are not a criminal.

If you are an Italian citizen, you will need to carry your ID or Carta D’Identità in public. However, you are not required to show any document to the police. You will only need to provide your name, surname, residence, etc. But if you have nothing to hide, why would you do that? The Art. 651 of the Italian Penalty Code says that you could be arrested if you fail to give your identity.

Can You Carry a Copy of Your Passport in Italy?

There is a lot of confusion with this question, including Italians as well. Probably, you heard a lot of people saying it is legal to carry a copy, and others not. Legally speaking, it is wrong to bring a copy of the passport. But it should be tolerable in most situations, even because you are a tourist.

Obviously, there is always a chance to find overly strict police or cops. If that happens, just clarify that you are worried about losing it or get robbed. Also, try to stay calm and don’t get nervous if they ask you a lot of questions. This is the main reason why I like to carry my passport with me all the time.

Back of a carabinieri wearing a shirt with a text

Where Do You Need to Carry Your Passport?

It is crucial to take identification with you every time you go to a public place. There is the possibility of getting checked in any place randomly, even in the park. The cops and police will ask you to prove your identity, and you must give them credible information.

Sometimes you will need to show your passport while entering in some places as well. For example, it is required to carry identification to enter the Colosseum. Also, you must have the actual one if you plan to contract a service or buy something expensive.

I will tell you a story. A couple of years ago, my sister got stopped by a policeman in Bari. She didn’t expect that because police rarely stop you without reason. Then, he asked her a lot of questions to find a problem. But thankfully, she always carries all her identification while walking around. The policeman couldn’t find any issue and had to let her go. 

Do You Need to Carry Your Passport On Trains?

According to ItaliaRail, it is always recommended to carry your passport while traveling with trains. You will need your passport to validate your ticket for the first time. Also, a train conductor could ask you to verify your identity. The same happens with Trenitalia.

My father always tells me to carry my passport or my ID while I am aboard, even if it isn’t strictly needed. I would definitely take the original one with me or at least a photocopy. Many people got into trouble for traveling without any identification.

Do Italian Hotels Take Your Passport?

All hotels will take your passport in order to register your information as a client. They will ask for it as soon as you enter the reception for check-in. Many hotels will keep your passport until you check-out and leave the room. Although, you have the right to request it whenever you want without breaking any rule.

According to Art. 109 of TULPS, it is necessary to have at least one of these documents for check-in and complete your registration:

  • Identity Card
  • Passport and a photocopy of it
  • Driving license
  • Boat license
  • Pension Booklet
  • Valid identification with your photo

Make sure to claim the passport at check-out

Should You Leave Your Passport In a Hotel?

You could safely leave your passport in the hotel and bring a photocopy with you. But from my experience, it is better to always keep it with you. While photocopies should be enough for the most part, there are some situations where it is better to carry the original document with you.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing terrible will happen if you leave it in the hotel. And if you are a distracted person, then it is better to leave it in the room. Just put it in a security box or lock it in a suitcase with a padlock. Never leave it in an obvious place like under the bed or in view. If you feel that the hotel is unsafe, then bring it with you or just change the hotel.

An easy way to never forget your valuable things is to put one shoe in the safe along with your valuables. Make sure you will need to wear that shoe again in the morning. 

How Can You Keep Your Passport Safe in Italy?

There are many ways to keep your passport safe with ease. But the most important thing I want to mention is to use your common sense. Believe me, all you need to do is to follow your instinct and your intuition, that’s it. Anyway, these are some tips to help you do it:

  1. Take a picture of your passport. Remember to take photos of all your documents, including your passport. This will help you to have all the times your identifications if you need them. Also, send the images by email or upload them on cloud storage. It is so much easier to replace the passport with a picture if you lose it.
  2. Wear a money belt. Probably, this is the easiest way to keep your passport safe. Just wear it under your clothes and you are ready to go. You can find money belts on Amazon for a relatively cheap price using this link.
  3. Don’t put your passport in a backpack. You should never wear backpacks if you are traveling. But if you do, make sure you always wear it in front of you. Don’t worry if you look silly.
  4. Don’t get distracted: Most people who lose their passport is because of their negligence. They just forget to take it at check-out or don’t remember where they leave it. If you don’t care about your stuff, nobody will.
  5. Take inventory of your documents. I know it can be stressful, but you should check if you still have your passport with you. A good idea to do it is to set the alarm every hour with the message: “Hey (your name)! Do you still have your passport?”
  6. Keep several photocopies. I recommend you to make a bunch of photocopies before you leave your home. It is best to make colored ones and separate them with the original one.
  7. Never keep your passport in your pocket. You shouldn’t ever carry a document or your wallet in your pocket. There are pickpockets everywhere in Italy, and if you do that, you will be an easy target. Also, it could slip out of your pocket and lose it.

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