My wife and I are both US citizens planning on giving birth in possibly France or Switzerland while I am there for work. How soon and what is required for us to be able to travel with the new baby within Europe? Does the baby need a US passport before being able to cross country borders even if it's from one one EU nation to another? I am assuming yes, especially if it's to or from Switzerland or the UK.


Switzerland is in the Schengen area, so there are no permanent immigration checks on the Swiss land border or for flights to and from other Schengen countries. There can be temporary or intermittent checks, however, so crossing the border without a passport is probably not a good idea. Documentary requirements for crossing internal Schengen borders are not regulated by EU law, but many individual states require foreigners to have a passport or similar ID document.

When the child is born, you will want to apply for a consular report of birth abroad. You should apply for a passport at the same time.

You will want to review the relevant pages of the US missions to Switzerland and France.

You will also want to approach the Swiss or French immigration authorities to find out whether the birth needs to be reported to them, or whether your child needs any documents to remain in the country as your dependent (for example, the French titre d'identité républicain.

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  • Two additional points: Firstly, the UK is not in Schengen, and will require a passport. Secondly, I live in Germany near Basel, and I can't remember the last time we were asked for our passports when we crossed into Switzerland (now we have a "local" number plate, we don't even get stopped for customs checks). If you just want to pop into CH for some Migros yoghurt, or France to visit the hypermarché, I wouldn't worry about it. – Martin Bonner supports Monica May 22 '18 at 10:08
  • @MartinBonner I didn't mention the UK because the assumption mentioned in the question is correct ("I am assuming yes, especially if it's to or from ... the UK"). The assumption about Switzerland, though, appears to stem from a lack of awareness that Switzerland has joined the Schengen area. I agree that it's probably not something to worry about, and that most encounters with the police would end without trouble (as well as being unlikely to happen in the first place), but I wouldn't assume that they always would. – phoog May 24 '18 at 17:27

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