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I'm planning a trip by air and have to transit at a German airport. Do I need a visa?

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:

  • Frankfurt/Main
  • Munich
  • Hamburg (4.30 a.m. - 11.30 p.m. only)
  • Düsseldorf (6.00 a.m. - 9.00 p.m. only) and if the airline has arranged the transit beforehand with the authorities responsible for cross-border security (the Federal Police)
  • Cologne/Bonn (4.30 a.m. - 11.00 p.m. only)
  • Berlin (06.00 a.m. - 11.00 p.m. only) at Berlin-Tegel, for Air Berlin passengers only. The airline has to arrange the transit beforehand with the authorities responsible for cross-border security (the Federal Police). The connection time must be at least 75 minutes.

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:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • India 
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jordan *
  • Lebanon
  • Mali
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Turkey *

* certain exceptions apply to these countries

Exceptions from the requirement to hold an airport transit visa:

  • Holders of valid visas and national residence permits from EU and Schengen countries
  • Holders of certain national residence permits from the following countries: Andorra, Japan, Canada, San Marino, United States of America
  • Holders of valid visas from the EEA countries (the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) and visas issued by Japan, Canada and the United States of America

Visa regulations

Here you can find out whether you need a visa for visits to Germany and the Schengen states of up to 90 days. Foreigners wanting to stay longer than 90 days in Germany, who want to work or study in Germany, as a rule automatically need a visa. more

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