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Don't Travel to the Schengen region with a temporary US passport

My wife and I flew from the US to Paris last week. She had her regular 10-yr validity passport while I carried my one-year, limited validity U.S passport.

I obtained my one-year passport in July 2018 after losing my regular passport while visiting the ruins in Teotihuacan, Mexico.

When I arrived in Paris, I was not allowed to go past the passport control booth, detained overnight and sent back to the US. Apparently, the Schengen zone countries now require regular 10-yr validity passports before granting you access. My wife was able to stay and I encouraged her to do so for three days so as not to waste our lodging reservations, entertainment & museum tickets.

The french airport police informed me that given the wave of terror attacks in Europe, they now have strict rules regarding passport requirements. Fortunately for me, Delta agreed to reimburse the full cost of our airfare.

Live and learn I guess.

Posted by
21346 posts

If you lost your passport in July 18, have a temporary passport (primarily to get home), why had you not obtained a regular passport prior to your trip? The reason Delta reimbursed you had nothing to do with being nice. They should have caught it at your check-in in the US. If entry is denied they are required to take you back. How long did you think you could use your temporary passport? Temporary does have a meaning.

Posted by
19474 posts

I'm sorry this happened, but it could have been so much worse. You might have been heading for a 3-week guided tour. And I'm glad you encouraged your wife to get some use out of the prepaid trip elements that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Posted by
65 posts

Ouch.

We traveled thru GAS this summer with a different tour company. While criss-crossing the borders we were forewarned to have our passports on us, and NOT in our luggage under the bus. Apparently random thorough checks are being made at borders. We were told with all the immigration problems in Europe in the past year or two, passports are being checked even when going from one Schengen zone country to the next. So, not surprised you were not admitted into France after our experience this summer. We also saw police with machine guns outside airport in Switzerland stopping every vehicle, when going to Departures gates.

Posted by
2314 posts

Add to the "sorry this happened to you" -but...

Again, it is a first time poster telling us what terrible thing happened and letting the community know how we we should avoid this and not let this happen - yet just a minimal amount of time on this site (or on the US CPB site) beforehand, where this has been covered so often, and the whole issue could have been avoided

Posted by
5 posts

In early September, my wife and I flew on American Airlines to the colonial town of Antigua Guatemala and flew back on United. I used the same temporary passport to fly there and back without any issues. Didn't have any reason to think it wouldn't work anywhere else. Besides being valid for a year, added a false sense of security.

My wife was glad to stay in France for 3 days since my sister who lives in Milan had flown in to meet us there for 3 days.

Larry, had no idea this forum existed before, but I do now.

Posted by
5 posts

Google. Watched Rick Steves show on PBS a few years ago. Been to RS store in Edmonds, WA when I lived in Seattle > 10 yrs ago.

Posted by
1036 posts

Although I've used this site for years, I have never seen a post warning about the use of a temporary passport. I've read plenty that warn that you need more than 6 months of validity on a passport to gain entry to most countries, but that's not exactly the same thing. If one doesn't know the question they need to ask, one doesn't know to conduct a search. Also, it sometimes seems that even many long time users appear like they don't know how to do a search, or at least a search that yields meaningful results. Consequently, I appreciate this new user's post. I now know something I didn't know before.

Posted by
2913 posts

Guatemala probably isn't worried about terrorism and is happy for Americans to spend money there. Once when I was on a group trip the customs officials piled our luggage on carts without investigating it at all and took them to the exit for us.

Posted by
527 posts

I definitely learned something from your post, openate. I was not aware of temporary passports, but now I am. Thank you for sharing the info.

Posted by
5697 posts

I also learned something -- if I lose my passport overseas, I will apply for a full 10-year passport as soon as I get home. But what happens if I lose it IN the Schengen area ?

Posted by
8889 posts

I don't know about US passports, but if you get a British temporary/emergency passport that is "get you home" only. Only valid for one trip back to your country.
I am surprised the airline let you on the plane with a temporary passport.

And yes, you should always have your passport with you (not in bags) when you cross borders. Though rare, there is always the possibility of the police doing a random ID check. Especially if you look like a penny less refugee with a nervous look as if they don't regularly cross borders.

Posted by
4538 posts

You can get an emergency British passport if you live abroad for a return visit to the UK. But yes if it is simply because you have lost it or had it stolen etc whilst away then the emergency one is valid only back to the UK (although you are allowed to follow all of an itinerary even if it involves travelling through a few countries). Indeed it will be taken off you at the UK Border.

Posted by
4538 posts

In early September, my wife and I flew on American Airlines to the colonial town of Antigua Guatemala and flew back on United. I used the same temporary passport to fly there and back without any issues

You were OK there because all they require is 6 months validity left at the end.

Put the country into https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go.html, and look under 'Entry, Exit, and Visa Requirements'.

"The Government of France does not recognize the 12-page U.S. emergency passport, issued by U.S. embassies and consulates overseas, as a valid travel document for visa-free travel, and, if traveling on this emergency passport, you may be refused boarding and/or entry by immigration officials. "

This isn't a Schengen thing as entry into other countries in the area is permitted

Posted by
8889 posts

You can get an emergency British passport if you live abroad for a return visit to the UK. But yes if it is simply because you have lost it or had it stolen etc whilst away then the emergency one is valid only back to the UK

Yes Marco, that is why for me it would be an expensive PIA. I live in country B, I am in country A and I loose my British passport. I already have my travel back home to B booked and paid for. But if I get a British emergency passport, that is only valid back to the UK (via any intermediate countries), I cannot use it to go home to B. So, I would have to pay for travel to the UK, stay overnight and get an "express" passport (higher charge) from the passport office, and then travel back home to B (more extra cost).

Posted by
1259 posts

ChrisF - Actually, I know from the experience of a colleague that British consulates will issue an emergency document that allows travel where the final country is also foreign, it doesn't have to be back to Britain. Though you may need to justify this, such as being legally resident in that country.

Posted by
5 posts

Marco,

Thank you for that link and the clarification. I will use it from now on. At Charles de Gaulle airport someone suggested I fly to London and then take the train across the English channel to Paris.

I decided against it since my final and only destination was Paris and I wasn't sure whether there was French passport control checks prior to boarding the train in London.

Posted by
8889 posts

Yes, French passport officers check you at London St Pancras station before you get on the Eurostar train. So you would get equally refused there.

If this is, as others say, a restriction only applied by the French; you could, in theory: fly to London, fly (not train) to Brussels and then get the train to Paris. That way it is the Belgians who check you into the Schengen Area, and no checks between Belgium and France. You could not fly directly to Brussels from Paris, because that would require you to get inside the Schengen Area first.

Posted by
3477 posts

If you lose your US passport in Schengen, you have the option of getting a standard replacement that is good for the full 10 years, or if you are leaving in a short period of time, you can get the limited validity passport also referred to as an "emergency" passport(there is nothing actually called a "temporary" passport issued by the US). Leaving Schengen with the limited passport is not an issue.

The State Department web page states the limited validity passport is "to allow you to continue travel on your way home" and it "should be replaced with a standard passport as soon as you return to the US". And you apply the cost of the temporary passport to that of the standard passport so it doesn't end up costing twice.

This is where the OP got caught. Even though some countries will accept your limited passport as valid for entry (the continuing your travel on your way home part), it is still a limited passport and as found out many countries do not accept it especially if you are coming from the US with it.

Basically, any government document that has the words "limited" or "temporary" on it really should be replaced with the unlimited one as soon as you possibly can.

Posted by
21346 posts

Personally my understanding of the lost passport situation was that it would get you home and I would have instantly replaced it but that is also because I can be very paranoid about government documents. We had a local incident recently when a family was denied boarding by the airline for an international flight because the husband's passport had a damaged back cover. Don't know how much damage but there apparently is a requirement that the passport "not be damaged or altered in any manner." So keep you passport in good shape. One aspect of the American culture is that "the customer is always right." but that doesn't count when if you passport is judged unacceptable.

Posted by
14454 posts

Openate - thanks for posting this. I don't remember seeing this issue discussed on the forum and I've been here for about 10 years.

My story is a little different. I was visiting Chicago, my home town, and my passport got lost (2 years later it was found and it was not my fault :-). I discovered the loss the day before my flight home to Tel Aviv. British Air was very helpful and the kind agent was able to find a flight for me at the same fare, 9 days aways, for the minor $75 change fee only (earlier flights would have cost me hundreds more). Since I wasn't sure I'd have a passport, she put the reservation on hold and I had 2 days to confirm. I then called the Chicago Passport Agency. They have limited hours on limited days. They would give me an appointment for 2 days later to apply for an emergency replacement passport. They said I had to bring a valid flight ticket for the date I wanted to fly before I could apply to get the passport, but they would absolutely not commit to issuing it in that time. I would also have to provide proof of citizenship, either a birth certificate or a "Fully-valid, undamaged U.S. passport (can be expired)". So I made an appointment and went to Cook County to get a notarized copy of my birth certificate. Well, that was a non-starter. I officially changed my name after moving to Israel, so there was no way the county would give it to me, and anyway I would have also had to provide the documents certifying the name change, which I don't normally travel with.

Happily, I am also an Israeli citizen (my Israeli passport was in the same place as the US one, of course). I got an appointment for the next morning at the Israeli consulate. I showed them my Israeli driver's license, they found me in their database and told me they would issue a "laissez-passe" which would allow me to transit at London Heathrow and enter Israel. The only drawback was that they were skeptical that I'd be able to enter and leave LHR, as I had planned to spend my full day layover with a friend who lives in London. Instead I had many hours to explore every nook and cranny of Terminal 5.

I don't know what the protocols are at US embassies and consulates in Europe. In Israel, you have to make an appointment for any US citizen services. It takes several days wait. Then you spend at least a couple of hours waiting. In the wake of 9/11 all passport requests are sent to the US (embassies used to issue passports), so the process can take a couple of weeks or more.