european passport

European Passport: How to Obtain It?

Are you interested in obtaining a European passport and unsure how to proceed? You are in the right place. In this article, we will describe all the steps and requirements for applying for it.

What is the European passport?

The European passport is a crucial document for anyone wishing to travel without obstacles in the 27 European Union member states and also in non-EU countries, i.e., those of the Schengen Area (such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland).

It has been in effect since January 1, 1985. Physically, the document consists of 48 pages and is issued by the EU member countries to their citizens.

This document, which must obviously always be valid, allows its holder to cross international borders and travel freely without constraints, i.e., without the need for additional visas or residence permits among the EU member states.

Note that it is generally not mandatory to present a passport or identity card when crossing an internal border within the Schengen area, but checks can occur. Indeed, Schengen countries might reintroduce such controls for a certain period of time and under exceptional circumstances (e.g., due to a serious risk to public order or national security).

However, travel to Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, or Romania still requires showing a passport or an identity card, as these are EU countries that do not fully participate in the Schengen Area.

Thus, it is important to always carry the appropriate travel documents, such as the European passport.

What are the advantages of having a European passport?

Owning this document, which, first and foremost, is configured as a national passport containing the citizen’s personal data, digital fingerprints, and a photo, offers numerous advantages, such as the following:

  • Freedom of movement: You can travel freely within the EU member states, without time or visa limitations (which is the act through which a country grants a foreigner permission to enter its territory).
  • Facilitated access: Simplification of access to EU services and opportunities (e.g., enrollment in a foreign university, access to the healthcare system, or the opportunity to work in another EU country without needing other types of permits).
  • Guaranteed security: Since October 26, 2006, the passport is electronic and has replaced the previous non-microchipped passport. Thanks to the advanced microchip, fraud and counterfeiting are prevented, making the European passport one of the safest travel documents in the world.

What are the requirements for applying for a European passport?

The requirements for obtaining a European passport can vary from one country to another, but generally are as follows:

  • European citizenship: You must have European citizenship to apply for this passport (also read this other article “Italian Citizenship: 5 Benefits” on our blog).
  • Required documents: You must present proof of your citizenship, therefore a valid identity card or a birth certificate, along with a recent photograph that meets the specific requirements set by the country of origin (e.g., in Italy, it is essential that the two identical passport-sized photos – 35×40 mm, on a white background, color photos – fully show the face not turned and both earlobes clearly visible).
  • Application and payment of the fee: You must fill out the application form provided by the competent office of the country of origin and pay the fee for issuance (42.50 euros), along with the revenue stamp valued at 73.50 euros (this in Italy).
  • Minimum age: Each country sets a minimum age to apply for the passport, so you need to check the rules in your country of origin. In Italy, a passport can also be requested for minors from birth, if there is prior consent from both parents. From 0 to 3 years, the passport is valid for 3 years; from 3 to 18 years, it is valid for 5 years; from 18 years onwards, the validity is 10 years.

Procedure for requesting the European passport

The procedure for requesting the passport can vary from one country to another, but usually consists of the following steps:

  • Collect all required documents.
  • Book an appointment at the designated passport office (in Italy, depending on the place of residence, domicile, or abode, you can present yourself at the Police Headquarters, the Public Security Commissioner’s passport office, or the Carabinieri Station; if residing abroad, you should turn to consular authorities or the embassy). It is always advisable to consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
  • Attend the appointment with documents, photograph, and payment of the fee.
  • Wait for the processing period of the request (usually a few weeks, at most a month). The passport can also be collected by a third party, provided they are equipped with a written proxy, legalized by a notary or an officer of the civil registry.


As we have seen, the European passport, in addition to strengthening the sense of belonging of European citizens to the international community, is a fundamental document for those intending to travel peacefully within the borders of the European Union. It offers, among other things, numerous advantages and opportunities.

If you need more information or personalized advice, you can contact one of our Italian lawyers specializing in citizenship matters.

Dott.ssa Elena Capodacqua

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