Learn Everything About the Schengen Transit Visa 2024

Most of us know about the Schengen visa. The Schengen visa is a single visa that lets you enter 27 European countries briefly. It is a visa used for tourism and business purposes. A holder of a Schengen visa can stay in any of the Schengen countries for up to 90 days. The Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. But what happens when you must enter a Schengen country while flying to another country? In this case, a Schengen transit visa is what you will need. Here is everything you need to know about the Schengen transit visa: who needs it, who is exempted when you do not need it, the document you require, and the process of applying for one.

What is a Schengen Transit Visa?

A man holding passport at the airport .

A Schengen transit visa is one of the different types of Schengen visas and is also called a category A visa. With this visa, you can stay in any of the airports of the 27 Schengen countries for 24 hours. This visa is usually issued when a person travels to a non-Schengen country through a Schengen country. For instance, if you are flying from the UAE to the UK through Germany, you will need to apply for this visa. You do not need a transit visa if you are flying to a Schengen country through a Schengen country. In this case, you will already have a Schengen visa, which is enough for you to transit through any Schengen airport.

Who Needs a Schengen Transit Visa?

If you have a connecting flight to an international destination (non-Schengen) through a Schengen airport, the first step is to know if you need to get an airport transit visa. Here are the countries that require a transit visa to travel through any of the Schengen country airports:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka

All these countries need to get a transit visa irrespective of the Schengen country they are travelling to. While these are common for all Schengen countries, specific Schengen countries also have their own transit visa rules. The countries mentioned below require nationals of certain countries to apply for transit visas even if they do not belong to the nations mentioned above.

  • Austria: Syria
  • Belgium: Dominican Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nepal, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria
  • Czech Republic: Chad, Egypt, India, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Yemen, and Palestinians.
  • Denmark: Syria
  • France: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Guinea, Haiti, India, Mali, Mauritania, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Palestinians.
  • Germany: India, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkey.
  • Greece: Sudan and Syria
  • Italy: Senegal and Syria
  • Luxembourg: Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nepal, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Togo
  • Netherlands: Cuba, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nepal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria
  • Portugal: Guinea, Senegal
  • Spain: Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leona, Syria, Togo
  • Switzerland: Syria, Turkey

You need to check whether you need a Schengen transit visa to a specific country, even if you do not belong to the countries mandatorily required to apply for a Schengen visa.

Who Does Not Need a Schengen Transit Visa?

Even if you belong to the list of countries that require a Schengen transit visa, you may not have to apply for one under certain conditions. Here are the Schengen transit visa exemptions:

  • People who have diplomatic passports
  • People with a residence permit or national long-stay visa from any 27 Schengen countries. The same goes for people with a valid uniform visa from one of the Schengen member states.
  • Third-country citizens with valid residence permits in countries like the United States of America, Andorra, San Marino, and Canada.
  • Third-country citizens who have a valid visa or residence permit of the countries belonging to the EU, EEA, or Schengen area.
  • If you are a third-country citizen who has visited countries like Japan, Canada, or the United States of America and still have a valid visa of the country.
  • If you are a family member or a citizen of the European Union.
  • If you are a flight crew member who is a national of a contracting party to the ICAO’s (International Civil Aviation) Chicago Convection.

How to Apply for a Schengen Transit Visa?

Once you have confirmed that you need a Schengen transit visa, the next step is to know about the process of applying for one. You need to submit a transit visa application form and some supporting documents at the embassy or consulate of the Schengen country you want to visit. Alternatively, you can apply to the third-party visa center approved by the Schengen country you want to visit. You must also pay the Schengen transit visa to begin the process. The Schengen transit visa cost usually depends on the country you belong to. You must also book an appointment at the embassy, consulate, or visa center. On your appointment date, you must submit the application form and documents and provide your biometrics. Biometrics is mandatory for all adults. Disabled individuals, government officials, and children are exempt.

Documentation for Schengen Transit Visa

Here is the list of documents required for a Schengen airport transit visa:

  • Schengen visa application form that is filled and signed
  • Passport with a validity of 3 months from the date of exiting the Schengen country
  • Two recent (not more than three months) colored photographs. The Schengen visa photo size guidelines mention that the size of the photo should be 35mm x 45mm, and the background should be white or grey.
  • The background should not have any patterns.
  • If you have previously visited the Schengen area, you need to produce copies of your previous visas.
  • Receipt of the visa fee you paid.
  • A cover letter where you describe the details of your visit, i.e., the date of entering Schengen airport and the date of exiting the airport.
  • Confirmed tickets of your inbound and outbound flight tickets
  • Copy of your visa for your destination.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you apply for a Schengen transit visa?

You must apply for a Schengen transit visa at least 15 days before your departure. You cannot apply for the visa more than three months before your departure date.

Is a Schengen transit visa available online?

Some countries may offer the facility of applying for an online Schengen transit visa. You will have to check with the embassy of the Schengen country you want to visit to confirm.

Is there a Schengen visa on arrival?

No, there is no Schengen visa on arrival. Either you are exempt from applying for one or need to apply for one in advance. There is no in-between.

What is the validity of a Schengen transit visa?

The Schengen visa is valid for 24 hours.

Can one step out of the airport with a Schengen transit visa?

No, you cannot step out of the airport transit area with this visa. You will have to stay inside the airport even if you must be there overnight to catch your connecting flight.

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