I was wondering if someone could help me out with the following question. I bought a ticket New York - Zurich - Vienna - Lviv (Ukraine). I read online on Swiss immigration website the following information (actually your website states the same):

If you a a permanent resident of the United States (which is my case), you can travel through Schengen airports (I read specifically about Swiss airports) without transit visa, regardless of your citizenship.

I am a Ukranian but I have the old non-biometric passport, which still should have been fine, since as a US permanent resident, I can travel through Swiss airports without a transfer visa (I don't have to leave the Schengen zone inside the airport.

In New York airport, I was denied boarding. I spoke with 2 supervisors and they all said the same: if you are doing 2 transfers in the Schengen zone, you have to have a transit visa, with no exemptions. I showed them 2 websites including the Swiss immigration and was told it's not the information they would acknowledge.

I still think I was right and that exemption rules should apply to me. I ended up buying another ticket and missing Christmas dinner with my family. Anyone with any suggestions, please help!

  • It does not really matter that you think you were right. Because you were wrong and the airline was right. – Jan Dec 25 '17 at 13:28
  • 1
    For those unsure of the exact details: entering Schengen visa-free is only possible to Ukranian nationals with a biometric passport. Thus, OP needs a visa. – Jan Dec 25 '17 at 13:29

The airline was correct to deny you boarding.

The flight from Zurich to Vienna is a domestic flight, which means you would have needed to enter the Schengen region in Zurich, and depart it in Vienna. Doing so requires a visa as you are not deemed to be in international transit through either airport - you are connecting from an international flight to a domestic flight (Zurich), and then from a domestic flight to an international flight (Vienna).

The exception you mention for US permanent residents only allows you to transit if you can do so without leaving the international transit area of the airport. In your case you could not do that, so the exception does not apply.

  • I understand what you are saying, but if I am not leaving international transit area at the airport, I don't need any type of visa and it doesn't matter if I have green card or not. I can simply board the next flight and continue my trip. So that exemption about green card holders does not make any sense. And if it does, then I was right that I could travel through Schengen zone with 2 stops. – Lena Yurchenko Dec 26 '17 at 15:43
  • 1
    Citizens of many countries need a visa even if they are staying in the international transit area of the airport. For them, the exception has meaning. It is possible that the exception has no meaning for you (I haven't checked), but that doesn't mean it doesn't have meaning for everyone. – Doc Dec 26 '17 at 16:57
  • I understand that. I have checked it as well. There is a list of 12 countries citizens of which have to have a visa even if they are not leaving the transit zone of the airport. And it does not say anywhere that the exemption (permanent residence) is only concerns those whose countries are on that list. Anyway, thank you all for your comments. I will also contact attorney cause I see it in a little different way – Lena Yurchenko Dec 27 '17 at 18:48
  • 1
    You ARE leaving the (international) transit area of the airport. When your attorney agrees with me, please feel free to come back and mark this answer as correct... – Doc Dec 27 '17 at 19:03

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.