I watched a RS video where he was saying that you may be requited hand over your passport when you check into a hotel for a time? Has anyone experienced this? If so, how long will they keep it? Also, will I be required to show my passport when I arrive in Italy (at the airport or anywhere else)? I plan on keeping it in my moneybelt, of course, whenever I can. Thanks, Meggan
You are requuired to register with the local police, the hotel does this for you by taking your passport and copying the pertinent information (photocopy or on a form). It can take any time from ten seconds to overnight.
You will show you passport to the immigration officer when you first touch down in a European country. If a direct flight from US you will go through both immigrations - chat with the officer and he may ask a few questions about your travel plans and stamp you passport and customs. Customs is just a walk through the door, "Nothing to ." You will also show your passport to the airline personal before you board in the US. It common in Italy when checking into a hotel for the hotel to take the passport for a few minutes to overnight. Don't worry about it. Everyone does it. I will give it to them and pick it up later when leaving the hotel unless then make a copy while I wait. Varies from hotel to hotel. Don't act like they are taking your first born.
Meggan, All of us here have probably experienced that. I've found that some hotels copy or photocopy the information at check-in and return the Passport right away. Others keep it for awhile (especially if the Clerk is busy with other guests at the time). In most cases, they'll be able to return it within about half an hour (or so). When moving from one location to another, I usually keep my Passport in a secure pocket rather than my Money Belt, as I'd rather not have to access the Belt and reveal it's location when checking-in to hotels. Happy travels!
Thank you all so much! You answered my questions perfectly! - Meggan
You are required to "inform the police" of your stay but my caribinieri friends tell me that getting your passport stamped by the immigration desk takes care of that requirement. I wouldn't worry about it. It's also law here that you need your passport to check in to a hotel (I assume this is just for non residents) so don't worry about that either, it's normal and you get it back.
Italy is part of the Schengen Zone. This is a group of countries that have abolished routine border checks. You show your passport upon entering the zone, and then can move freely between the countries (similar to moving between different US states). Note that this is not the same as the EU; England and Ireland are EU, but not Schengen, while Norway and Switzerland are Schengen, but not EU. Details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area. So, if you fly nonstop from the US to Italy, you show your passport on arrival at the Italian airport. If you fly via a city in another Schengen country (such as Amsterdam, Paris, or Frankfurt), you show your passport in that city, and don't have to show it again in the Italian airport (your flight from Amsterdam, etc to Italy is like a "domestic" flight). If you are connecting in Dublin or London, you can usually do so as a "transit" passenger, so you don't show your passport there, but when you land in Italy. Regardless of where you show your passport or what your connections are, if you are going from the US to Italy on a single ticket, you will go through customs in Italy (as stated above, normally you just walk through the "Green Channel - Nothing To Declare" line or door). You have to show your passport to check in to an Italian hotel, so they can register you as they are legally required to do. In the "olden days" the hotel often kept the passport for a few hours or overnight, so they could do it during a slack time. Now that almost every hotel has a copier/printer/scanner/fax at the desk, they usually copy it and hand it right back to you. You also have to show a passport in Italy to use an Internet point or to buy a SIM card for the phone (Italian law to catch terrorists and Internet predators).
If you are going to Naples, you can just walk out without a customs person's caring. I share that the first time, I thought I was finding a customs line, and I found the sidewalk. I didn't register that time (nor did I drive). Now I take the time to seek out the official and get the stamp. The passport needs to be stamped if you are going to register at the police station.
When the hotel returns your passport just do a quick check to make sure they gave the CORRECT passport back to you. I've been given the wrong passport at a Venice hotel. It was just an honest mistake but could have been a HUGE problem if I hadn't noticed it straight away.
All four of the hotels I used on my recent trip took my passport, made a copy and gave it back to me immediately.
Thanks again everyone! - Meggan