Not only is it difficult for travelers from most countries in the world to enter the Schengen area, as they must first obtain a visa, but for many of them even transit through one of the 27 participating countries, is a difficult task.
Citizens of 11 countries around the world are required to obtain a transit visa in all Schengen countries on their way to the country of destination.
Transit Schengen visa — a type of visa that travelers wishing to transit through a specific Schengen country must obtain from that country's embassy, consulate or visa centre.
There is a procedure for obtaining this document, as well as a fee and a list of documents that need to be collected in order to apply. This is a fairly simple matter — easier than obtaining a regular tourist or Schengen business visa.
The validity of a transit visa is 24 hours.
Who needs transit visas for transfers in the Schengen countries?< /strong>
This list is much narrower than the list of those who need a Schengen visa.
First, the Schengen countries have a joint list of third countries from which travelers are required to obtain transit visas before crossing the Schengen area. These countries are:
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Eritrea, Ethiopia.
And almost each member of the Schengen area has its own separate list of third countries whose nationals require a transit visa to cross the territory of that particular Schengen country.
The lists are quite different. For example, Austria has only one country on its list — Syria. Others have a longer list. So, Belgium has 9 of them: the Dominican Republic, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, Nepal, Palestine, Syria, Sudan, South Sudan.
How do countries decide on the introduction of transit visas?
In fact, quite a few factors are taken into account, including the number of people who arrived in Schengen on a transit visa and tried to get asylum or temporary protection there. The decision is influenced by the political and economic situation in the country, as well as the number of people from this country seeking asylum in Europe.
In most cases, Europeans do not disclose the reason why they introduce transit visas for a particular country, and new the lists often go into effect quietly, affecting many travelers who are unaware of the changes.
For example, since December 1, most Turkish citizens have had to obtain a transit visa in order to transit Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on their way to country of destination.
“If you have Turkish citizenship and you will be transferring at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport after December 1, 2022, the new rules apply. You will need a transport visa to go to the airport, — announced then the government of the Netherlands.
At the same time, the authorities did not disclose why such a decision was made.
Similarly, from August 1, 2022, Armenian citizens traveling outside the Schengen area on a transit flight through Polish airports must have a transit visa.
The Polish authorities also did not specify why such a measure was introduced against holders of Armenian passports .
How to get a transit Schengen visa?
The procedures for obtaining a transit Schengen visa are much easier than the procedures for obtaining a regular short-stay Schengen visa. The list of documents is also quite short.
Travelers need to complete the normal short stay visa application form, provide two recent photographs, a valid passport, proof of onward itinerary, travel insurance, and pay the visa fee — the same as for a short-stay Schengen visa.
The application must be submitted at least 15 days before the trip and no earlier than three months before it.
What what happens if you take a chance and go without a transit visa?
If you try to travel to a country without a transit visa, the airline must deny you boarding. Rest assured, airlines are well aware of the need for a visa to transit through a particular country.
In the event that the airline cannot prevent you from traveling without a transit visa to a country that requires one, then as soon as you will arrive, you will be returned back and deported. You can even run into a fine or a ban on entry for a certain period of time.
In 2021, a total of 11,844 applications were submitted to the Schengen consulates transit visa applications. France received the most applications — 6,822 and rejected 10.4% of them, followed by:
Spain with 1,898 applications and a rejection rate of 20.8%;
Netherlands with 1,568 applications and 16 .8% rejection;
Germany with 1,249 applications and 12.5% rejection rate
Other countries received far fewer transit visa applications: Belgium — 174, Portugal — 78, Denmark — 19, Switzerland — 19 etc.