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Interrail - need u be a Euro resident?

Travel Forums Europe Interrail - need u be a Euro resident?

1. Posted by Dezafinado (Respected Member 177 posts) 9y

It's been over a decade since I last interrailed 'round Europe... '93, '94, '95. But each time I - an American passport holder - never had a problem purchasing the 1-month Interrail pass. The first time was in Switzerland, second and third in Germany. I had an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) but no European student identity card to prove I was a resident. Train conductors only checked my passport.

What are your experiences?

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 9y

Strictly speaking, since Interrail is a discount system that is partially sponsored by European railway companies, it is restricted to EU citizens (or residents, I'm not sure). I'm afraid you're stuck to buying EUrail instead, which is exactly the same, but more expensive. You should have never been sold Interrail in the 90s to begin with...

That said, conductors usually are flexible. Except for Germany and Switzerland, where 'Schäffner' have a reputation of rude meticulousness to uphold...

3. Posted by Dezafinado (Respected Member 177 posts) 9y

Interesting. Maybe you're right. I could have been thrown out of the trains!

However, when I purchased the Interrail Pass (3 times), I had always asked the travel agents if I met the requirement... and I did. On two occasions, I had temporary work visas and ISIC for Switzerland/Germany (student exchange programs). However, I was technically a student on a limited stay and was not a "permanent resident". The third time I purchased the Interrail in Goettingen and had only my passport and ISIC card. The travel agent said the Interrail is good for students (with proper identification) and never asked about residency. No train conductor had ever asked if I was a legal resident of Europe. My American Passport number was imprinted on the Interrail ticket and my passport is what I showed them when asked for an ID.

On all 3 occasions, the travel agents were concerned about whether I was a student and had the proper identification. They accepted the ISIC card as proof of my student status and never asked about visas. Remember now, you must be a student to obtain an ISIC.

As then as it is now, the Interrail is supposed to be for Europeans. So what gives?

[ Edit: Edited at Nov 16, 2006 12:11 PM by Dezafinado ]

4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y

Offially, in order to get an interrail, you don't have to be a permanent resident, although you do have to be able to prove that you have lived in Europe for 6mths before then.

In practice, if you are a European passport holder, you can get away without the residence period as they all just assume. I've had well over 100 interrails over a 15ishyear period, and in that time, i've probably only had my passport checked 30 or 40 times, and NEVER have they actually leafed through it to check stamps to see that I have actually been in Europe. The same is true when i have bought my tickets.

Obviously As a Euro passport holder I can't give personal experiences using a foreign passport to get a ticket. Having said that, I have bought interrails on a number of occassions in a third country to my passport and country of residence. On at least 3 occassions without realising beforehand, they put the country i was in down as my country of residence, without me having any link to it all [except the fact I was physically there at the time]. I was worried at first that i might have trouble, but never did.

The only time I have ever had any trouble was once in the UK (I am a British passport holder) where the conductor queried my surname as being un-Swedish. As a Swedish resident i am officially allowed to get ones which I can't uuse in Sweden, but Can in the UK, even though the ID i use is my British passport. But even then it wasn't any big deal and I had enough Swedish ID/stuff to satisfy him. Even then, oddly, he never actually checked my passport to see if the number on teh pass matched.

5. Posted by Dezafinado (Respected Member 177 posts) 9y

Interesting! Thanks Gelli for the input.