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Passport ID for travel on trains

I was wondering if passport ID is required for travel on trains and if it is checked when boarding. I am aware that train tickets require you to include the passport number when purchasing. Does this get checked routinely? Wondering if this will be required during travel from Madrid Atocha station.
Thank you

Posted by
23430 posts

It has been a couple years since we rode any Spanish trains. The Spanish trains do have slightly different protocol for their trains. Access to the platforms is limited to ticket holders just prior to train arrival. There is a light security check of luggage and person at the head of the platform in addition to checking ticket and id. This is not the ticket check that a conductor does when you are in your seat and on the train. More like a US airport security check. We used our passport as we do for all checks in Europe. I don't remember the train ticket requiring a passport number. Could have but I don't remember that. We were using the senior discount card and buying tickets at the ticket window just prior to departure or the day before.

The whole process was maybe a three minute delay.

Posted by
7654 posts

We were in Spain in September, took a half dozen trains or so, and it was a mix. We had to show our passports maybe once.

Same with security and baggage check, but that was most of the time, smaller stations not likely.

But if you are leaving Madrid for a day trip, or taking a train, have your passport with you.

Posted by
6728 posts

I’ve only used trains in Spain once, in 2019, and nobody checked my passport; just the ticket.

Posted by
993 posts

In March 2022, I showed my passport when I gave the employees my train tickets. I forgot whether they asked first or whether I just assumed they needed to see it.

Posted by
2267 posts

I’ve taken about 10 medium and long distance training in Spain in the last couple of years and never been asked for my passport.

A caviat on a previous post about the light security check to access the platform- at some of the larger stations, the check is prior to the waiting area for the applicable trains.

Posted by
979 posts

We are in Spain now and have been since mid February. Have traveled on many trains (AVE, ALVIA, Avlo, intercity, Regional Express, Media Distancia, Cercanías, Iryo) and the only thing that has ever been checked is our ticket. We have them on our smartphone and the ticket inspectors just scan the QR code.

We have now been in and out of Atocha three times and it's just a scan of the ticket QR code to allow access to the platform. There is an X-ray of luggage for all high speed trains to get into the train waiting area but this is pretty fast. Whether your jacket needs to be scanned or not seems pretty arbitrary. Luggage X-ray has only ever taken a couple of minutes.

Posted by
557 posts

I'll be a dissenting voice and confirm that while I've also taken several trains in Spain without having ID checked, it has happened -- upon boarding a Renfe high-speed train at Málaga en route to Madrid, I was asked to produce ID after showing my ticket. I showed my (US) passport.

I'd note that Renfe has an official policy on this -- for AVE, Intercity, Euromed or Alvia trains (i.e. long-distance or high-speed services), Renfe can ask for ID because tickets are issued to and in the name of a specific person.

Posted by
697 posts

We were in Spain in January 2022 and had to show our passports for two different trains. I can’t remember without looking it up in my notes which ones, but we used trains for: