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I am living in Italy with a residence permit renewable permit.

I was flying from Italy to Austria last month for a short weekend trip. At that time my permit was near expiry. Four days remaining to be exact.

There is no immigration control when travelling inside the Schengen area, so this happened at the boarding gate when providing ID proof to the airport staff (not immigration staff).

The airport staff at the counter saw that my permit was near expiry and asked me when I was returning, to which I stated Monday. Then she asked me for my return flight ticket.

At the time, I thought nothing of it. But later when I recounted the incident to my colleagues they asked why did I even show my return ticket, because they are not immigration officers and cannot ask for such proof.

Therefore I pose the question here, am I legally obligated to provide such proof to non border control personnel? If so, why?

My logic for "no" is if I wanted to remain outside my country of residence beyond my date of return, it doesn't matter if the expiry is three days or months from my date of travel.

My logic for "yes" is Why create a hassle?

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    I'm not sure legally, but the airline was asking because airlines are obligated to return inadmissible passengers to their country of origin, and they are not reimbursed for this by the EU. So airlines have to ensure that passengers won't be turned away at immigration. Not sure whether you are obligated to show them anything, but my guess would be that letting you on the flight is at their discretion. I try not to travel too close to residence permit expiry for this reason. – la femme cosmique Sep 20 '17 at 12:34
  • @lafemmecosmique but for an internal Schengen flight, passengers' admissibility should not be an issue because they are not subject to immigration checks on arrival. There's no way the passenger could be "turned away at immigration." The airline should neither be fined for transporting the passenger within the Schengen area nor required to transport the passenger out of the Schengen area. – phoog Sep 20 '17 at 13:04
  • @phoog you're right but airlines are weird. Maybe they just have a policy of checking everyone (although it sounds like a waste of time and therefore money to do so). I've been visa-checked flying from Italy to France within the past year, so I'm quite curious about the answer / policy as well. Or maybe they just put everyone into Timatic as a matter of course, even if it doesn't really apply? – la femme cosmique Sep 21 '17 at 7:36
  • @lafemmecosmique which airline? Over at Travel there seems to be a consensus that some airlines use this as part of their revenue generation schemes for squeezing extra money out of passengers. It appears that the budget carriers are the worst in this regard, and the fact that other airlines are less strict seems to imply that the practice is not legally necessary. – phoog Sep 21 '17 at 11:06

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