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Transiting Europe: Who Needs a Visa and How to Get One

Traveling throughout the Schengen Area is simple for nationals of over 60 different nations. They primarily need to confirm the validity of their passports, book a flight, and travel.

However, many travellers from around the world find it difficult not only to enter the Schengen Area because a visa is required, but also to transit one of the 27 Member Countries in order to reach their final destination.

Nationals of 11 international countries who travel with passports issued by the same countries must obtain a transit visa if they must stopover in any of the Schengen countries en route to the country they desire to visit.

This means that a Transit Schengen visa is a sort of visa that travellers who want to transit a certain nation in the Schengen zone must obtain from the embassy, consulate, or visa centre of the country through which they will transit, which is located in their home country.

This document has a procedure, a fee, and a list of documents that must be collected in order to apply. They are, however, far simpler than obtaining a conventional tourist or business Schengen visa.

A transit visa is valid for 24 hours.

Who Requires Transit Visas for Schengen Countries?

The list of those who require a transit visa is far less than the list of people who require a Schengen Visa.

First, the Schengen nations have agreed on a joint list of third-country candidates. Travelers from these countries must get transit visas before making a stopover in their country. These are the countries:

  1. Afghanistan

  2. Bangladesh

  3. The Democratic Republic of the Congo

  4. Eritrea

  5. Ethiopia

  6. Ghana

  7. Iran

  8. Iraq

  9. Nigeria

  10. Pakistan

  11. Somalia

  12. Sri Lanka

Second, practically every Schengen member has a distinct list of third-country visitors who require a transit visa to transit the territory of that particular Schengen country.

While some countries, such as Austria, have only one country on their list (Austria has only Syria), others, such as Belgium, have a longer list, which includes the Dominican Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nepal, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Palestinians.

Find a complete list of countries that require a transit visa for each Schengen Area country here.

How do countries decide whether to impose a transit visa on a specific country?

Before imposing transit visas on a third nation, several variables are normally considered, including the rate of people who arrived on a transit visa and attempted to seek asylum or temporary protection in that country.

The political and economic circumstances of a country, as well as the number of asylum seekers from that country in Europe, are all essential considerations.

In most situations, Member States do not explain why they are enforcing transit visas for a certain nation, and the new measure often goes into force quietly, affecting many travellers who are unaware of the change.

For example, starting December 1, the majority of Turkish individuals have been required to obtain a transit visa in order to pass via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol en route to their destination country.

"If you have Turkish nationality and will be transferring at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport after December 1, 2022, new requirements apply. "Unless one of the exemptions applies to you, you will need an airport transit visa," the Dutch government declared at the time.

The authorities, however, have not explained why such a decision was made.

Similarly, as of August 1, 2022, Armenian residents travelling outside the Schengen zone on a transit aircraft through Polish airports must get a transit visa.

The Polish authorities have also not said why such a measure was enforced on Armenian nationals.

>> Indian citizens are still denied boarding due to a lack of Schengen Transit Visas.

How Can I Get a Transit Schengen Visa?

The requirements for acquiring a Transit Schengen Visa are significantly less difficult than those for obtaining a standard short-term Schengen visa. The list of documents is also much shorter.

Travelers must still complete a standard short-stay visa application form, present two recent pictures, a valid passport, proof of onward travels, travel insurance, and pay the same visa price as for a short-stay Schengen visa.

The application must be submitted at least 15 days before the trip, and no later than three months before the trip.

What Happens If I Don't Have a Transit Visa?

If you attempt to go to a country without a transit visa, the airline is required to deny you boarding. Typically, airlines are fully informed about the necessity for a visa to transit a specific country.

If the airline is unable to prevent you from travelling without a transit visa to a nation that requires one, you will be turned back and deported once you arrive. You may even face penalties such as monetary fines or a temporary ban from entering the country.

Statistics on Airport Transit Visas

In 2021, a total of 11,844 transit visa applications were filed at Schengen embassies, with 11,844 approved and the balance denied.

According to Schengen Visa Statistics, France got the most applications, 6,822, and denied 10.4% of them, followed by the three nations listed below:

  • Spain had 1,898 applications with a rejection percentage of 20.8%.

  • The Netherlands received 1,568 applications, with a rejection percentage of 16.8 percent.

  • Germany had 1,249 applications and a 12.5% rejection rate.

The remaining countries received far fewer transit visa applications, with Belgium receiving 174, Portugal receiving 78, Denmark receiving 19, Switzerland receiving 19, and so on.


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