Travel Document Issuance
The travel document as a substitute for a passport is issued by the border authorities. Border authorities are the Federal Police and other state and federal authorities that are responsible for police control of cross-border traffic.
As a German citizen, you may be prohibited from leaving Germany if you do not have a valid passport or passport substitute with you when crossing the border. Such a situation is possible if, for example, your passport or ID card has expired and you only notice it shortly before you start your trip. In these acute emergencies, a travel document may be issued to you by the border authorities as a substitute for your passport before you travel.
With the travel document as a substitute for a passport, you can leave Germany as a German citizen and then re-enter the country. The travel document as a substitute for a passport is generally only valid for the duration of the respective trip, but for a maximum of three months. It becomes invalid upon re-entry, unless it has been issued for multiple exits and entries. Therefore, it is not a full-fledged substitute for the passport.
You can only enter another country with a travel document as a substitute for a passport if the state recognises your document as a travel document. The foreign state has no obligation to recognize your document. There is also the possibility that airlines will refuse to take you with this travel document.
On the website of the Federal Police you will find a list of countries that accept the travel document as a substitute for passport without restriction or in conjunction with an expired photo ID (e.g. passport or identity card). Note, however, that foreign border authorities can change this practice at any time at short notice.
You have no legal entitlement to the issuance of a travel document as a substitute for a passport. Whether this emergency document will be issued to you will be decided by the competent border authority.
For example, an exhibition may be refused if:
- you want to travel to a country that does not recognise the travel document as a substitute for a passport, or
- a temporary identity card or passport can be issued to you by the passport authority upon request.
Note: In the following countries, it is not the Federal Police, but a state or federal authority that is responsible for police control of cross-border traffic:
- in the Free State of Bavaria at the airports of Nuremberg and Memmingen as well as at the airfields approved as border crossing points, the Bavarian Border Police is responsible,
- in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg in the port, the Hamburg Water Police is responsible,
- in Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein in various ports and in Baden-Württemberg at Friedrichshafen Airport, the customs administration is responsible.
You can apply for the issuance of a travel document as a substitute for a passport in person at the border authority, such as the Federal Police at the airport. You can also send the application online to the border authority in advance to speed up the process. In any case, you must appear in person at the border authority before starting your trip.
You can apply for a travel document as a substitute for a passport in person directly at the border authority, such as the Federal Police at the airport, or send it online in advance to the border authorities for processing.
- You go to the border authority and ask for an application form, which you fill out and sign.
- An identity match is carried out on site. To do this, you will need to prove your identity and nationality or that of the person for whom you are applying for a travel document as a passport substitute.
- You have to pay the processing fee in cash on site.
- The travel document will then be handed over to you as a substitute for your passport.
- You can also submit the application online and send it to the border authorities for processing to speed up the process.
- To do this, fill out the application in the federal portal and submit it.
- After submitting your application digitally, you can contact the responsible border authority.
- Before the start of the trip, you must appear in person at the border authority in order to:
- sign the application,
- carry out an identity match, and
- pay the processing fee.
- After that, the travel document will be handed over to you as a substitute for your passport.
Who should I contact?
Please contact the relevant border authority.
24-hour hotline of the Federal Police:
Phone: 0800 6 888 000
Please contact the local border authority.
Applications for a travel document as a substitute for a passport can be submitted:
- German nationals
- You must prove your identity and your German citizenship with an officially recognized document.
- There must be no grounds for refusal of passport against you.
- There are no safety concerns.
- The destination country recognises the travel document as a substitute for a passport as a border crossing document.
- In the case of minors, the consent of all legal representatives must be obtained.
For children, the travel document can be applied for as a passport substitute by the parent or guardian or an authorized person. An independent application is only possible from the age of 18. If both parents are not travelling with the child, both parents with custody must agree to the trip.
In the case of permanently separated parents who have joint custody, the situation is special: only the parent with whom the child habitually resides may apply for the passport. The parents must provide credible evidence of the permanent separation. This also applies if a parent with custody is permanently unable to attend, for example if he or she has moved to an unknown location.
In the case of school trips, the consent of the parent or guardian can also be made credible by the accompanying teacher.
For a person for whom a supervisor has been officially appointed, the travel document can be applied for as a passport substitute by the officially appointed supervisor. In these cases, it is necessary for the officially appointed guardian to be able to prove your official appointment in addition to the identity of the person for whom you are submitting the application.
Which documents are required?
To apply and pick up, you will need:
- Proof of your identity and nationality by:
- expired passport or temporary passport, or
- expired identity card or temporary identity card
- when applying for a child:
- expired children's passport or
- Birth certificate (only when applying for a child).
What are the fees?
- Application for travel document as a passport substitute for Germans: EUR 8.00
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
- for the processing of the application: usually around 30 minutes
Applications / forms
- Forms: no
- Online procedure possible: yes
- Written form required: yes
- Personal appearance required: yes
Technically approved by
Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI)
Professionally released on
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.