The vast majority of foreign travellers benefit from the “transit privilege” - if during a stopover at a German airport, you do not leave the International Airport Area and if the destination is not in a Schengen country, you do not need a transit visa.
However, if for some reason you need to enter the Schengen area during your stopover (for example to change terminals or if the destination is in a Schengen country), you may require a visa; please plan for this. You should apply for a visa well before you travel!
Only five airports in Germany have an International Transit Area enabling you to transit without formally entering the Schengen area:
Nationals of the following countries do not have the transit privilege and therefore require an airport transit visa (category A) for transit at a German airport:
* certain exceptions apply to these countries
Exceptions from the requirement to hold an airport transit visa: