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Airport transit visa

The airport transit visa allows holders to pass through the international transit area of a Schengen airport during a stop-over or transfer between two stages of an international flight. The holder does so without actually entering the national territory of the country.

Please note: If you have two or more stopovers in the Schengen area, you will be required to leave the international transit area and pass through the border checkpoint in order to catch your next flight within Schengen. This means you will need a full Schengen visa. This also applies if you are visa exempt for the final destination within Schengen.

Example: If you have the Canadian travel document for UN refugees (the blue travel document) and wish to travel to Germany, you still require a Schengen visa if you are transiting through any other Schengen country, even though you do not require a visa to visit Germany.

Nationals of the following countries require an airport transit visa to transit through a Schengen airport:

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

You are exempt for the transit visa requirement if you:

  • hold a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Schengen state;
  • hold a valid permanent residence card for Canada or the US;
  • hold a valid residence permit issued by a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area ;

Passports are not checked on flights when travelling within the Schengen area. If you have two or more stopovers in the Schengen area, you will be required to leave the international transit area and pass through the border checkpoint in order to catch your next flight within Schengen. The same applies if your itinerary requires you to change airports.

important notice

Please be advised that the total process for obtaining a visa consists of several parts:

  • It can take up to 14 days to obtain an appointment with VFS for submitting your application.
  • Once your application arrives at the Embassy, the processing time begins. The processing time varies depending on the current workload. Please see the front page for the current processing time.
  • Included in the overall handling time is also the shipping of your documents from VFS to the Embassy as well as the return from the Embassy to you.


The processing times may be longer than this during peak travel season (May, June, July, August and December) due to case volume or if cases require further scrutiny.


Please note that neither the Embassy nor our consulates can be held responsible for technical difficulties, human errors or shipping delays in the processing of passports, permits and visa applications.



It is the applicant’s responsibility to apply in time for the intended departure.



For passports: 5 weeks prior

For permits: 3 months prior

For visas: 1 to 3 month prior is recommended.