A message from the Directorate of Emergency Services, USAG Bavaria


Here are a few reminders from the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Directorate of Emergency Services regarding what you need to know and carry with you when you travel around Europe.


Military members and their families here in Europe need to carry their passports whenever they are traveling to any country to which they are not assigned.  If you are staying at a hotel, lock your original passport in the hotel safe and carry the copy on you.


It is very important that all community members know their German home address – not just their CMR addresses.  If you do not know your address, contact your landlord or your local housing office.  They will be able to assist.  If you reside in the barracks, contact your chain of command. 


Before traveling, ensure that you enroll in the State Department’s STEP program online.  STEP will send you any relevant travel alerts pertaining to your destination via your email or phone.  Be sure to check for travel alerts prior to departing on your journey.


A common misconception is that European borders without checkpoints can be crossed freely. However, while this may be true for residents of countries within the European Union’s Schengen Zone, the agreement does not extend to U.S. or other non-EU citizens.


In some European countries, federal police have the right to pull vehicles over and check passports without suspecting a person of wrongdoing. In some countries, only a national form of identification such as a passport is recognized as valid form of ID.  


Remember: a passport also establishes citizenship if its bearer needs assistance from a U.S. embassy or consulate.


A Military ID or Status of Forces Agreement card is NOT a substitute for a passport. Penalties for being caught without a passport are fines, searches and detainment.


For more information and links to a FAQ from the U.S. State Department and the European Union on travel requirements and resources, click here.