Transit Schengen Visa


Regarding the short term visas, there are two types of a transit visa under the Uniform Schengen visa group destined for travellers who are passing by a Schengen member country in order to reach their final destination. A great range of travellers are not susceptible to this type of a visa, however, citizens of certain countries are obliged to obtain the.

Airport transit visa – “A” Category is destined for the travellers that have to stop and wait for several hours for their next flight, in the international transit area of the designated airport. However, if planned to wait overnight, these travelers cannot accommodate in any place else except the transit area, therefore accommodation in the city is off the limits.

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Who needs a transit visa?

Normally, citizens of the following countries are obliged to obtain a transit visa when passing through the international transit area of any Schengen country airport:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Myanmar/Burma
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Turkey

Due to different cases of people’s experiences and expectations, in the following section you will find three most common occasions of confusion when transit visa is/isn’t applied.

Case #1. You are coming from a foreign country and are transiting through an airport in a Schengen country to travel to another airport in that or another Schengen country, what do you do?

As your final destination is a Schengen country, it means that you will be entering the Schengen zone, if not at the first airport than at the last, therefore you will be requested an entry and short stay visa – “C” category in the Schengen area. In this case a transit visa is useless since you will be leaving the international transit area of the airport at some point in the Schengen zone.

Case #2. You are transiting through a Schengen country airport to travel to a non-Schengen member country, yet you don’t leave the International transit area of the airport of the Schengen country.

In this case, technically you don’t enter the Schengen area, since you never leave the international transit area except for entering the flight to the upcoming non-Schengen country of your choice. As a citizen of the exempted countries to a Schengen visa, you are obliged to obtain an airport transit visa in order to pursue this line of travel yet you won’t be needing a “C” visa designed for a short stay in a Schengen country up to the maximum of 90 days.

Exceptions to this rule apply to these circumstances as following:

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  • If the nationals of these countries hold a valid/unexpired USA Visa;
  • If the traveler is returning from a legit stay in the USA and the trip takes at least 4 days prior to the visa expiration date.
  • If the traveler holds a valid residency permit allowing him to move in and out of the USA.
  • If the traveler holds a residency permit that allows unrestricted return from Andorra, Japan, Monaco, Canada or San Marino.
  • Holders of a valid uniform visa, national long-stay visa or residence permit issued by a Schengen state.

For Jordanian citizens, the exception to the Airport transit visa policy applies only if:

  • The Jordanian traveler holds a valid visa for Australia, Israel or New Zealand as well as the boarding card and ticket to these countries.
  • The Jordanian traveler is coming back to Jordan from one of the above mentioned countries, withholding a ticket and a boarding pass.
Case #3. You are travelling from a foreign country to a Schengen country, transiting through the airport of the Schengen country in order to fly to a non-Schengen country as a final destination, however you need to leave the international transit area because:
  • You need to change the airport within the Schengen country pitchstop.
  • The connecting flight doesn’t leave until tomorrow, so you need to spend the night in a hotel in the Schengen area
  • You are travelling to the final destination by other means of transportation yet you arrive in the Schengen member country by plane.

In this case you cannot travel only with an Airport transit visa since you have to enter the Schengen zone, therefore prior to your departure you need to make sure that you have a Schengen short-stay visa of the “C” category which allows you to enter and reside in the Schengen area for the specific amount of days. Of course, this applies only to citizens of the countries susceptible to the Schengen visa policy.

In case you are a holder of an official passport, i.e. A diplomatic passport, a different set of rules and regulations apply therefore you need to contact the designated embassy/consulate for further information.

For individual Schengen States’ Airport Transit Visa requirements, click here!

Read also:  Airport Transit French Visa