Transit Through Schengen Zone: The Visa Application Guide

Transit Through Schengen Zone: The Visa Application Guide

The Schengen Zone is a group of European countries that have abolished border controls among themselves to facilitate free movement of people. If you plan to travel through the Schengen zone, you will require a visa, depending on your nationality. In this article, we will guide you through the visa application process for transit through the Schengen Zone.

Who Needs a Schengen Visa for Transit?

Passengers that wish to transit through Schengen territory must, in general, obtain a Schengen visa in an airport transit zone (ATV) or a Schengen visa for transit in a Schengen country. However, not all Schengen countries require a transit visa, so it is best to check the embassy of the countries you are traveling through.

Types of Transit Visas Available

There are two types of transit visas available: airport transit visa (ATV) and short-stay transit visa (Visa de Transit).

Airport Transit Visa (ATV)

If you need to transfer flights in a Schengen country and your nationality requires an ATV, you will only be allowed to travel through the international zone of the airport without leaving. The ATV is valid for up to five days and is available for citizens of countries that are not included in the list of visa-exempt countries.

Short-Stay Transit Visa (Visa de Transit)

The short-stay transit visa is valid for up to 24 hours and allows the holder to leave the airport and stay in the Schengen territory for a short time. The visa is also known as a type B visa.

How to Apply for a Schengen Transit Visa

To apply for a transit visa, follow these steps:

Step 1:

Visit the embassy or consulate of the country you intend to visit first. This is the country where you will spend the most time during your transit journey.

Step 2:

Fill out the visa application form and attach all the required documents, such as a travel itinerary, passport, and proof of funds.

Step 3:

Pay the visa application fee. The fee varies depending on the country you are applying for, and some countries offer discounts or waiver exemptions to certain categories of travelers, such as students or family members of EU citizens.

Step 4:

Submit your application at the embassy or consulate of the country you’re visiting first. Processing can take up to 15 working days, so it’s best to apply well in advance.

Common Questions About Transit Visas

Q: Which countries require an ATV?

A: It depends on your nationality. You can check the list of countries that require an ATV on the website of the Schengen Area.

Q: Do I need a transit visa if I’m traveling with a layover in a Schengen airport?

A: If you are traveling through a Schengen airport and have to change flights in a non-Schengen airport, you will need a transit visa.

Q: Can I leave the airport during a layover with a transit visa?

A: Yes, if you have a short-stay transit visa. However, with an ATV, you can only stay in the international zone of the airport.

Q: What happens if my flight is delayed and I exceed my transit visa’s validity period?

A: If your delay is within 48 hours, you can remain in the airport, but if it exceeds this period, you will need to extend your visa or apply for a new one.

Q: How long does it take to process a transit visa application?

A: Processing time can take up to 15 working days, so it’s best to apply well in advance.

Q: Is it possible to apply for a Schengen transit visa online?

A: It depends on the country. Some Schengen countries have an online visa application system, while others require applicants to apply in person or by post.


Applying for a transit visa for Schengen Zone travel can be a daunting experience. However, with the right information and preparation, you can make the process as smooth as possible. Follow the steps outlined above, and for any additional questions, consult the embassy or consulate of the Schengen country you are visiting.

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