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Had to show national passport at albergue - why?


Active Member
When I reached Portomarin, one of the albergues in town would not let me stay unless I showed them my national passport (in fact, everyone had to show theirs). They didn't care that I'd written my passport number on my credencial - the attendant wanted my actual passport. Later on, someone told me that it was a local police edict, but why would they make an albergue do that?

After walking so far on the Camino (not to mention that day), it seemed unreasonable that an albergue would have that kind of requirement. I was tired and hungry, so I wasn't in the mood to dig in my pack for my passport (the attendant wasn't exactly nice about it either). So I went to an albergue right up the street (the one with the restaurant on top), and they gladly let me in with no such requirement...whatever the rule is, it is not consistently enforced.

Anyway, can anyone fill me in on why such a law(?) would exist on the Camino? Thanks in advance :)
It isn't particularly Camino related. There is a legal requirement for residential establishments to record who is staying there and to provide these records to the police. In my experience hotels in most countries request passports and often take photocopies of them. The same requirement applies to albergues ( why would it not?) and hospitaleros should record passport numbers - I suspect that they will be come increasingly assiduous in this because it is also my experience that many don't bother.


Active Member
JohnnieWalker said:
The same requirement applies to albergues ( why would it not?)
Yeah, I'm used to that at regular Euro hotels. But it seemed odd that they were the only albergue between St. Jean and Santiago to insist on seeing my US passport...ah well. I wonder if it was because they were a municipal albergue (at least I think they were municipal)? Well, no harm done - I got to stay in a better one as a result anyway.


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
Hospitaleros, in both municipal and private albergues, often asked me to show my Australian passport, so it became a habit to present it with my pilgrim credential.

And just a warning to other pilgrims - keeping a passport in your backpack is not a sensible idea. Ideally it should always be kept on your person, in a zipped pocket or money belt, so it can' t be lost or stolen.


Active Member
Trudy said:
keeping a passport in your backpack is not a sensible idea. Ideally it should always be kept on your person, in a zipped pocket or money belt, so it can' t be lost or stolen.
Well, if the pack doesn't leave your person, then I'd say it's "sensible" to store your passport there. The money belt idea is OK for regular touristy activities, but not so great on the Camino. At first I tried keeping my passport on my body, but my sweat seeped thru the neck pouch and money belt and soaked the contents (plus, they were uncomfortable to wear while walking). Those items didn't work for me, so I adapted by storing most of my valuables in a smaller daypack, kept inside my main backpack while walking.

When leaving my main pack in a secure place (like an albergue during dinnertime) I carried around the daypack with my passport and other valuables. I practiced situational awareness, locked the zippers with a small travel padlock to keep away prying hands, and used a cable lock to secure it to my bed at night (next to my head).

I'm as paranoid about security as the next person (perhaps more so as an American), but there are reasonable variations on how to keep things safe.


Veteran Member
Hello all,

In Logrono I was asked for my Irish passport and the lady wrote my number in front page of pilgrim passport.

Buen Camino,

Once in Galicia, I had to show my passport to every albergue I stayed at. They took down my information and in some places they wanted to photocopy it (which I refused), and sent the information to the police station. I was told it was a way for the police to have some basic information on each pilgrim so that if something happened, like the pilgrim never arrives to his/her destination, they have some info to go on. It felt rather uncomfortable, you know that big brother feeling, and was not given a choice on that part. sigh
Before Galicia, they had the passport number, which they took from the credencial, but it was not submitted to the police as far as I know.
Police and National Security rules say than when you book a room in a hostal, hotel, etc, you have to show at least ONE identity card (you can book 10 rooms and show just ONE identity card).

If you don't belong any SPANISH identity card, you have to show your national identity card or your passport.

I've never shown any identity official card in any albergue. In any public albergue. A public albergue is an albergue just to offer you HOSPITALITY. But a PRIVATE albergue, offers you hospitality or runs a business? Thats the question.

If it runs a business, a cheap business, can be considered as a hostal? May it work as a business? It's possible that, as a hostal, it has to ask you your identity card.

Interesting question to talk about.

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain
Javier - from what I understand keeping s record of who has stayed in a hotel/hostal/albergue isn't to control the business it is to record who is sleeping overnight - I suspect it doesn't matter whether or not it is private or public.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_a ... her_places

even if your name, nationality, id/passport no are on your credencial, it has no official status (anyone could put anything on it), so some places might want to (and are perfectly entitled to) cross-check with your proper passport
It's also fair to say this rule is not always implemented; I have for instance rarely been asked for id at hotels in France, though they quite often want details of your credit card so you don't skip out the next morning without paying :)


Active Member
Perhaps there was an added local/junta regulation that created an extra burden for Galician albergues to check passports? It seemed like checking them went against the hospitality aspect of the Camino. Along with that, it bugged me because 1) it was out of the normal albergue routine I was used to, and 2) I was tired, hungry, and sore. Well, no big deal - thanks for the info, though. I'm just thankful they didn't haul me off in cuffs... ;-)


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I started from Le Puy this year and was occasionally asked for my passport and then regularly in spain. My CSJ credencial had my CSJ memebership so I just told albergues/gites/hostals/hotels that it was my passport number. In London I've never been asked for a passport for any accommodation and it is not a requirement in australia.It always smacks of big brother to me. The other thing that was odd was that I, and every one else, were frequently asked their age-who cares,what's the relevance?-more intrusion.
I've just been during this weekend on the Camino and nobody asked my for my spanish identity car. Nor in Estella neither in Los Arcos.

I suppose rules are the same for spanish and foreign pilgrims.

Beautiful weekend to walk in Navarra.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.

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