I am an Indian seafarer onboard a merchant ship. My wife is also onboard with me. Vessel wil be visiting Spain, Germany, and Sweden for discharging cargo. Can my wife sign off from any of these ports? She doesn’t have a Schengen Visa, can she get a transit visa upon arrival via ship?


Generally, to get a visa at the border, she would need a seaman's book under Article 36 of the Schengen Visa Code. However, there is an exception in Article 35 that might benefit her, especially if you have been at sea for longer than three months:


Visas issued at the external borders

Article 35

Visas applied for at the external border

  1. In exceptional cases, visas may be issued at border crossing points if the following conditions are satisfied:

(a) the applicant fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 5(1)(a), (c), (d) and (e) of the Schengen Borders Code;

(b) the applicant has not been in a position to apply for a visa in advance and submits, if required, supporting documents substantiating unforeseeable and imperative reasons for entry; and

(c) the applicant’s return to his country of origin or residence or transit through States other than Member States fully implementing the Schengen acquis is assessed as certain.

I say "for longer than three months" because if she has been away from her place of residence for a shorter period, she should have gotten the visa there before she left, and she would not qualify under point 1(b) above (" has not been in a position to apply for a visa in advance"). She will in any event have difficulty with the latter part of point 1(b) ("unforeseeable and imperative reasons for entry").

(The reference to Article 5 of the Schengen Borders Code should actually be to Article 6, and the conditions are the normal conditions of entry into the Schengen area apart from that of having a visa.)

If there's any way she can get a Schengen visa before you arrive in Spain, Germany, or Sweden, she should do that instead.

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