So, France and Italy require travelers to leave their passports at the front desk. I had heard of Germany doing this, but I was unaware of other countries doing it. Do other countries, besides France and Italy, now require this?

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7429 posts

I have never had to leave my passport at the front desk in any of those countries. It's was more common in the past, but in the last 10 years or so the practice has dried-up.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3248 posts

I have not had that happen in a long time and it was usually really small hotels that would require it. I was always uncomfortable with it , but as I was a new traveler I would leave it. Now, I would not. They can either write down the number, make a copy, or whatever, but I won't leave it.

Posted by H J
LaGrange, Ga, USA
1107 posts

In Spain my experience has been that they keep the passport and make a photocopy (or fax/email etc. a copy to the authorities, whomever they are) and then return it to you, usually within an hour or so at the most. At a small establishment, I was advised by the personnel that the civ guard ( I think) did in fact come by and check this process each day to see who was in the inn.

Posted by Marie
San Diego, CA, United States
862 posts

Many countries have required this for ages but since it's a non-issue there's no reason to be concerned about what country does or doesn't have this requirement to notify the police (or whoever it is they need to notify). In Italy they keep my passport for an hour or so and return it. Ditto France (well Paris anyway). I've never encountered a hotel which held on to my passport for the duration of my stay and B&B's don't seem to ask for it at all. Leaving your passport unnerves a lot of travelers when they first encounter it but again, it's a non-issue. As a side issue there has been discussion on this site re always having your passport with you (I do not as I feel it's safe in my hotel/B&B room). I do however always carry my driver's license and a photo copy of my passport. The driver's license works for leaving ID when renting audio guides etc. and the photo copy would help in case I ever needed to replace my passport.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12948 posts

Since 2000, I've stayed in two places in Austria, one in the Czech Rep, and probably 40 some in Germany. Most have been small pensions and private rooms. I have never had to leave my passport at the front desk (a lot of places I've stayed didn't even have a front desk). I have read that it is require by law in Italy that the hotels report to the police the passport numbers of anyone staying there and that they take the passport because they are too busy at the time to copy down the number. However, that seems to me somewhat of a ruse to keep you from leaving without paying. Up_date: Also, I can not remember ever having to show my passport. I've filled out forms with my name and address (including country) but cannot recall entering my passport number on a form. Certainly, if I did enter a number, it was not verified.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12661 posts

I have frequently left my passport with the front desk when asked. Especially true in Italy when it was common for overnight but with cheap copy machines the passport may be left for a few minutes and at most a couple of hours. For me it has never been an issue in nearly 40 years of travel.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2374 posts

Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Austria are among countries that require lodge business to report to some authority who's staying there for how long. However, these days they don't need to copy data from passport, usually they have your contacts from your reservation. Some hotels will make a copy of your passport or scan the ID page. I'd never let my national ID card or passport, overnight, with a reception desk, let alone leave the hotel for a day-trip without it.

Posted by Rose
922 posts

What Andre said... I would never leave my Passport overnight, just as I would never give anyone my U.S. Driver's License and let them keep it overnight. If it is requested I stand and wait for it to be returned. If they say they need to make a copy I offer to give them the copy I brought with me. I've never had to do that; hotel Reception typically just copies some details from it and returns it within a few minutes.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1705 posts

In another part of the world, I was required to leave my passport at the hotel desk in Llasa, Tibet and Chengdu, China for the duration of my stay in those cities. There was no option.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8720 posts

I am on same page as Frank,,, I leave it if asked, and have for decades( its not a "new" thing) and don't care really.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8325 posts

I have never had to leave it, even in very small hotels. They would take a few minutes at check-in to write down some information, but it only took a couple of minutes and they handed it back.

Posted by Mark
Berlin, Germany
330 posts

All Schengen countries require hotels, hostels and the like to keep passport verified data of non-Schengen guests. That is actually part of the Schengen agreement. But in my experience it's a matter of handing the passport over for a couple minutes, not leaving it there.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
1714 posts

Article 45 requires identity documents to be presented by one member of a family party even if he/she is a national of another Schengen contracting country or other EC national. The Immigration (Hotel Records) Order 1972 in the UK requires accommodation managers to obtain from guests the passport numbers and the address of their next destination, for all non-UK, Irish, or Commonwealth nationals. Neither of these require retention of passports though.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8720 posts

They only ask to keep it sometimes, usually cause they are busy checking people in and out and then they do the paperwork later and return it, its really not a black market scam. Small hotels may only have 10 rooms so are less likely to be too busy to just do it then, but also, they may not have a photocopier to copy them so it can go either way. I really still don't know why this worries some people so much, I have never heard of a hotel ever losing a passport.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2374 posts

pat, we live in 2013. I expect every single business engaged on lodging to have at least a computer and, if they need so, a scanner (cost: € 40) or one of those multifunctional printer/scanners devices. The passport is THE most important document an international traveler has. There is no reason to leave it with third-parties.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3912 posts

Hi, No, when you stay in Germany anywhere from inexpensive Pensionen to 3 and 4 star hotels, you don't turn in your Passport, never experienced this. You indicate your Passport number and nationality on the Meldeschein, that form you're required to fill out at check in. I recall having to turn in the Passport in France. That was in the 1980s.

Posted by Bets
2782 posts

Haven't turned in a passport in France since divorce was legalized in the late 1970s. They used to know if you were married to each other or not. Nowadays all that counts is your credit card imprint.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8720 posts

andre you may expect that but too bad , some small places may not have a scanner or copier.. its not about what you expect its about what to really expect and there are still small places that are in the dark ages. I stay at a hotel in Paris that does not even take a credit card number when you reserve, they do it on the "honor" system... and that's pretty odd in this day and age too.. but hey , its reality. Your passport is important, but mostly to you, most thieves throw it away if they get your purse and only take the cash.. its really not the big black market item some imagine it to be. And I have never ever heard of someone giving their passport to a desk clerk and then said clerk losing it or not returning it, so why does everyone worry about that.. as noted, 99.9% of passports are lost by the owner , or stolen as collateral damage when a purse or wallet is taken.. not by desk clerks at hotels .

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5379 posts

Have been in 4 hotels in Germany the past week and none of them has asked to see my passport.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7866 posts

Jo experience is different than mine, maybe she shows a German drivers license when she checks in? I've always had to show my passport at check-in, much the same as I have to show ID (and a credit card) when I check in here in the U.S. I was in Canada last week and all the hotels I stayed at were happy with my drivers license. I only needed my passport when crossing into Canada, and back, at the border. Most of the big hotels now take about a second to scan or swipe your passport so they hand it right back to you. Small hotels may still do paperwork by hand and might take a little longer.

Posted by shirley
Toronto, Canada
341 posts

I"ve had to leave my passport at the front desk in Greece for an overnight stay.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5379 posts

@ Brad - I don't have a German drivers license, nor an American one. To be honest, they haven't asked for any ID at all, let alone a passport. I paid with my EC bank card and that was it.

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
762 posts

From what memory serves, I am pretty sure that I had to show them my passport at almost all places I have ever checked in so that they could "log me in with the authorities per law". This happened at a Marriott in London, a hotel in Paris/Venice/CT, a small B&B in Florence, and a rental in Rome. The places that did not ask for it already had the information ahead of time. All they did was write down my passport number (and expiration date) and then handed it back to me. If you aren't comfortable given out your passport, make some photocopies ahead of time and give that to them while they quickly verify it against your passport. In Jo's case, perhaps they saw that she did not have a foreign address while in the German hotels, and thus, they were not by law required to ask.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1235 posts

The only time I ever remember leaving my passport at a front desk was in a hotel in Milan a few years back (a good sized one)...and I've had people take down our passport numbers, and I've had places not even ask (in Italy)

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2092 posts

I spent the last month in Europe staying in several countries. In both Frankfurt (Ibis) and in Zagreb (hotel ?) I was asked to leave my passport at the front desk when checking in. In both situations I left it there while moving into my room and retrieved it a short time later. Later, I joined up with a RS tour (Adriatic) and did not have to leave my passport again. We go to Europe every summer and have experience this numerous times so it comes as no surprise to us.

Posted by terry
44 posts

I have never had to do this. Now they do look at your passport when you check into the hotel. Still they should not need to keep it.