If Your Airbnb Host Asks For A Picture Or Copy Of Your Passport, Here's What To Do

You've spent hours poring over Airbnb listings and finally picked the perfect spot. It has tons of good reviews, it's right near the first stop on your itinerary, and the photos of the inside look absolutely adorable. You even waited until one month before your trip so that you'd get the best deal on your Airbnb. Then, suddenly, you get a message from your host asking you to send pictures of your passport. Are you being scammed? Probably not.


According to Airbnb, hosts are allowed to ask for ID as long as they disclose that they need it to book you in the listing. If you found this request from your Airbnb host unnerving, you're far from alone. There are tons of posts on travel forums and social media from other travelers asking the same question: why would an Airbnb host need your ID? Whether or not you send photos of your passport is 100% up to you, but you probably don't have to be too concerned. It could be suspicious, but it could also just be something that the host does to feel safer about you staying in their home. The law could also require it where the Airbnb is located.

Asking for ID is standard in some countries

If you've gone out of your way to avoid listings that feel sketchy, like Airbnbs with no reviews, it can be frustrating to suddenly have a host reach out with what feels like an odd request. If you don't feel comfortable sending the host your ID, you can always choose another place to stay — unless you're in a country that requires hotels and Airbnbs to ask for IDs such as passports. Then you'll probably end up facing the same request from anywhere that you try to book.


One of these countries is Japan. If you are a foreign national planning to rent a Japanese Airbnb, you should be aware that hosts there are required to report the nationality and passport details of every guest who stays with them. This is also true in many European countries, including Spain, Italy, and Portugal. Obviously, there is always a risk of someone misusing your information when you hand it over. However, in this case, there is a completely legitimate legal reason for them to ask, so it shouldn't raise any more alarm bells than someone needing to see your passport usually would.

Verify your host is real before sending a copy of your passport

While there's no way to be 100% certain that your host is a good person with no intentions to scam you before you send over your passport details, there are things you can do to be as confident as possible that the listing is at least legitimate. Make sure you follow all the tips for spotting fake photos on Airbnb listings: double-check that the same photos aren't listed multiple times, and reverse image search everything.


While it's not necessarily suspicious for your host to ask you to send your passport details, asking you to contact them outside the app or demanding payment in any way other than on the Airbnb platform should raise some red flags. If you start to suspect that the listing is a little too good to be true, book another place. If your host's behavior triggers any warning bells, contact Airbnb right away, and definitely don't send them your private information.