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My friend and I are currently waiting for our visa applications to be processed. If we end up obtaining a visa, once we travel to the Schengen zone, should we approach the immigration officer together? We are not related in any way other than being friends, so we are not sure if we'd approach it separately or as a group.

3 Answers 3

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This can be a very narrow grey area but I think it's best to consider it the difference between travelling together and traveling merely with someone. Meaning...

  • You are traveling together with your spouse, boyfriend, parents/kids, some kind of family unit. Approach together.
  • You are traveling with your friend or business colleague. Approach separately.

Of course, if the officer asks if your travelling with someone, don't be pedantic, just answer yes. They might ask about the relationship and again, answer truthfully. These aren't trick questions and lying is far, far worse then your friend being in a different line.

Siblings can go a couple of ways. If it's just the siblings, approach together. If any of them have other family, like kids, split up.

Please read all comments. OP update and additional information there.

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  • So, the type of relationship determines whether we are traveling "together" or "with someone"? We've known each other for almost 20 years. We are literally traveling together. We even staying at the same places, etc. I think it's safer just to go ahead on separate booths, etc...? We just wanna make sure in case they for some reason ask if we are traveling solo or with someone, etc.. Sep 19, 2017 at 19:02
  • You are travelling with someone, but since you're not a family unit in the governments eyes, you should approach separately. If asked, yes, you are traveling with a friend. If you are in a same-sex relationship, it's ok to approach together in countries where this is widely accepted.
    – Johns-305
    Sep 19, 2017 at 19:10
  • I didn't downvote, so I can only speculate, but I suspect one might take issue with the artificial distinction between "together" and "with." By their plain meaning, these words are synonyms in this context, and I am unaware of any immigration service that defines them formally.
    – phoog
    Sep 20, 2017 at 14:48
  • Downvote without explanation is wrong and misleading. Should be ignored.
    – Johns-305
    Sep 20, 2017 at 15:35
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Wait together but walk up to the desk or booth one-by-one, you can always point at each other. Also, don't worry too much, interviews when entering the Schengen area are relatively short and none of this will have serious consequences.

In general, some countries are more specific about this than others but the procedure I outlined is typically the way it's supposed to work. In other places, I have witnessed border guards inviting people to step back and show up one-by-one, even relatives travelling together but, as I said, I think Schengen countries are more relaxed than most about this.

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  • Since the border guards might ask for personal data, it is only polite to keep some distance, even if the facilities don't allow you to stay completely out of earshot. And they can't know that you two belong together, since you have separate visa.
    – o.m.
    Sep 19, 2017 at 18:00
  • @o.m. Well, that part is up to you. And the border guards would know you belong together if you show up together…
    – Relaxed
    Sep 20, 2017 at 9:06
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If you have a room booked for several persons so these several persons can come together to the border control officer to show the accommodation confirmation. It is a typical situation for the group of people travelling together. Just don't make a big crowd.

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