Airport Transit in Germany
German airport, even if they don’t intend on leaving the international transit area of the airport. An ‘A’ visa category in the Schengen visa classes, a German transit visa allows its holders to remain in an airport in the country for up to 12-hours for a transfer before boarding another flight onward on their travel.
As a Schengen member state, those disembarking an aeroplane and leaving the international zone of an airport in Germany means that the traveller enters the Schengen area, allowing for visa-free travel of 27+ states. As a result, a Schengen visa must be obtained by those eligible – or, if just travelling through without the intention of leaving the airport, a transit visa.
Five airports in Germany have a specific international transit area enabling transfer without technical entry into Germany. These airports are Frankfurt International (FRA), Munchen International (MUC), Berlin (BER), Hamburg (HAM) and Dusseldorf (DUS). In some instances, airlines will arrange for entry to this transit area with the local federal police for their passengers but in most cases individuals will have to apply for an airport transfer visa.
- Airport Transit in Germany
- Do I Need a Germany Airport Transit Visa?
- Do I Qualify for a German Airport Transit Visa?
- Required Documents for a German Airport Transit Visa Application
- Where and How to Apply for an Airport Transit Visa?
- Germany Airport Transit Visa Fee
- How Long Is the Transit Visa Valid For?
- How can Total Law help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need a Germany Airport Transit Visa?
Not all travellers using a German airport for a connecting flight will require an airport transfer visa, but nationals of the following countries will have to obtain one before they may book a flight through Germany:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Jordan (except for transits to and from Australia and/or New Zealand)
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
However, nationals of these countries are able to transit through a German airport without a visa in the following circumstances:
- Where the traveller is a visa holder of a valid visa and national residence permit issued by any EU member state
- Where the traveller is a visa holder of a valid visa and national residence permit issued by any member of the Schengen zone
- Where the traveller is a visa holder of a valid visa issued by Canada, Japan or the Unites States of America
- Where the traveller holds a national residence permit issued by Andorra, Canada, Japan, San Marino and/or the United States of America
- Where the traveller is a visa holder of a valid visa issued by an EEA country.
Holders of diplomatic passports from Ghana, India, Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey are all able to transit through Germany visa-free.
Do I Qualify for a German Airport Transit Visa?
Those who are nationals of a country valid under the German airport transit visa scheme will need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for this class of visa:
- The traveller only needs to land at one airport within the Schengen area, and this is in Germany
- The end travel destination is not a Schengen member state
- The return travel date is fixed
- The traveller will not need to pick up any luggage
- The traveller will not need to check in to another flight
- The traveller will not be exceeding 12 hours in an airport or 24 hours in the international transit area of a German airport.
If these criteria are not met, the traveller should apply for a Schengen visa.
Required Documents for a German Airport Transit Visa Application
Applicants for an airport transit visa must submit a range of supporting documentation alongside the visa application form. While German immigration authorities may request further documents during the visa processing period, the following can be considered a standard requirement:
- Valid passport for travel
- Two passport standard photographs
- A signed Declaration of Accuracy
- Proof of the onward journey out of Germany; a confirmed airline ticket to the final destination with a noted transfer through a German airport and a copy of the valid visa for the destination country (if required)
- Complete travel itinerary
- Proof of valid travel insurance with cover noted through transit airport/s.
Airline staff will also be required to supply the following:
- Staff member ID card from the employing airline
- Official letter from the employing airline noting the route of travel
- Valid work contract from the employing airline.
Where the German immigration authorities request further documents during the visa processing period, the visa application will be paused until such documents are received. Failure to supply these swiftly can, therefore, significantly delay the visa application.
Where and How to Apply for an Airport Transit Visa?
To apply for a Schengen transit visa, applicants need to book and attend an in-person appointment at their local German Embassy or Consulate. The following process can be followed:
- Apply online. The German government website offers online registration for visa applicants of all types to complete their initial application form online. For most countries an appointment at the local Embassy or Consulate can also be booked online at this point, and nationals of the countries without such a diplomatic mission may book at a neighbouring state.
- Compile supporting documentation. All supporting documents must be in place ahead of the visa interview. If not already in German or English, certified translations into German must be supplied.
- Attend a visa interview. To apply for a transit visa, it is not enough for applicants to just complete the online portion of the application – they must also attend an in-person visa interview. This usually lasts around an hour and the applicant must present all supporting documentation alongside a printed copy of their initial application form.
- Receive visa decision. In some cases, a visa decision is provided at the visa interview but in others, it must undergo a processing period. If not, the applicant will be notified of their visa status by post within five working days of their visa interview.
Airport transit visas may be applied for no sooner than six months ahead of the intended travel date and it’s recommended no later than two weeks before travel, in case of delays. However, it should be noted that Embassies and Consulates in different places have varying workloads and so visa interview appointments may not be readily available.
Germany Airport Transit Visa Fee
A non-refundable visa fee is payable to cover the administration costs of the visa processing. This amount should be paid online along with the initial application form completion, with a receipt for the sum taken to the in-person visa interview.
As of December 2023, the fees for airport transits visas are as follows:
Applicants aged 12+ – €80
Applicants aged 6-11 – €40
Applicants aged 0-5 – €0.
How Long Is the Transit Visa Valid For?
Airport transit visas for Schengen countries are valid for 24-hours, during which time the visa holder must only be passing through the international transit zone of the German airport.
In the event of flight delays or cancellations, a transit visa may expire. In this instance, the traveller must immediately seek the advice of immigration staff and obtain proof that the reason for the overstay lies with the airline and not themselves. If you are in this position and need legal advice, contact Total Law immediately on (+44)333 305 9375 for instant support and guidance. It is imperative that visa holders seek advice quickly as an overstay may impact any visa applications in the future.
How can Total Law help?
Total Law are a firm of expert immigration lawyers who specialise in simplifying travel law and help people around the world successfully apply for visas – for transit, work, study and leisure. Indeed most travelers have never had to consider a visa simply for airport transfers and so the process can be somewhat confusing. Allow us to decode it and take the hassle out of it all for you; call us on (+44)333 305 9375.
If you are anywhere in the process of applying for a transit visa, be it prior to online form completion or needing help with an appeal, the Total Law team can help. We communicate with no jargon and can manage every step of the process for you to ease the journey. We treat every customer as an individual and assign everyone a point of contact for support, so don’t hesitate to get in touch and get started today.
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No. An airport transfer visa is only valid for those passing through the international transit area of an airport as this holds no requirement for them to technically enter onto German soil
In most cases it takes up to five working days to process an airport transfer visa but some Embassies and Consulates do hold the ability to offer them immediately at visa interview.
In the event of a transit visa holder being delayed or having a flight cancelled that impacts their transfer to their destination country, they should seek immediate advice. Immigration authorities may be summoned by airport staff and Total Law are available on the phone for legal support – call us on (+44)333 305 9375.
Yes. Anyone travelling from a qualifying country for a transit visa must be in possession of one for any transfer through a German airport, even if they are a minor.
While airlines may offer guidance on the visas required for travel, they are not able to attend the necessary visa interview for their customers and so travellers are responsible for their own visa applications.
Those in receipt of a Schengen visa are not under any obligation to apply for a transit visa.