Why do we need your passport details at check-in?
Some of our clients are a bit weirded out when we meet them at check-in and we ask to note down their passport details. This also applies to those guests who do a self-check in in some of the flats we handle: they ask us why they need to take a selfie with their open passport.
They’re afraid for their privacy, and/or concerned there is some kind of scam involved.
After so many years in this business, we’ve come to realize that this basic request isn’t common in many countries of the world, and we are happy to be able to explain that it is perfectly normal.
We ourselves, as Italian citizens, are asked for a proof of ID when we check into hotels, B&Bs, holiday homes or other types of accommodation. Both in our native country and in many other places abroad!
It’s the law that requires it
With the booming of the “2.0 hospitality industry” (ie. with the birth of Airbnb and other similar services) this requirement, which was usually limited to hotels, has been extended to the new types of accommodation that are so prevalent right now (which include our managed apartments!).
This is part of the article no. 109 of the Consolidated law on public security, which you can read at this address on the official website for the Italian Police. The text is in Italian, obviously, but you can Google Translate all or parts of it.
The law also states that hosts and hotel managers caught breaking this particular bill can be jailed up to three months, and will have to pay a fine of 206 Euros per violation. You can understand why it is of the essence that we comply with it.
Incidentally, this information can be extremely useful when you check-in at a new accommodation: if a copy of your ID is not asked of you at any time during your stay, then you’ll know right away that the property is not legit, hasn’t registered with the authorities and is not paying the taxes (ie. they might ask you for a city tax and then pocket it instead of transferring it to the relevant offices).
It’s for security reasons
When you book a flight and you’re traveling away from your home country, chances are your ID details will be requested as you’re buying your plane ticket. Of course said ID will have to match the one you’re carrying at the airport when departing. This may happen even with tickets for types of trains that go across country borders.
In a similar way, at From Home to Rome (and any other legit agency or person working in the same business) we need to verify that you are who you claimed to be when you booked your holiday accommodation.
In this day and age, it is easy and quick to open a free email account or a social media profile and impersonate someone whose credit card details have maybe been stolen, so this simple request helps us ensure that your Roman experience begins as smoothly as possible.
What happens to your ID details once we copy them?
As mentioned, the Consolidated Law on public security requires that your ID details are stored. This is done strictly for the length of your stay.
We transmit them on a dedicated, secure portal belonging to the Italian police and whose access credentials are given to professionals in the hospitality business alone. Which means we have to demonstrate that we are a legit organization.
It should be emphasized that the details in question are what allows the police to locate nationals as well as foreign travelers involved in, say, a natural catastrophe. For instance, that’s how the tourists involved in the Amatrice earthquake of 2016 could be identified (a similar system was used to find Italians stuck in SEA after the 2004 tsunami).
If you feel like you need more information than the ones available in this post, feel free to browse the relevant thread on Airbnb, or ask us!