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According to the following announcement by the European Commission, temporary internal border controls have been reintroduced for certain countries (FR; AT; DE; DK; SE; NO):

https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/schengen/reintroduction-border-control_en

As such, I am worried about traveling within the Schengen Zone on a single-entry Schengen tourist visa.

I plan to travel by airplane from Rome to Vienna, Vienna to Berlin, and Berlin to Amsterdam, all in October. I also plan to travel to Paris by train from Brussels.

Due to the temporary internal borders, will there be immigration/passport controls at the departure airports and at the arrival airports?

Likewise, will there be passport controls at the train stations when leaving Brussels and arriving at Paris?

Will it be an issue to travel by airplane on a single-entry Schengen visa due to the temporary borders?

N.B. The reason for posting this question is that I was worried stamping passport would be necessary at any internal border control, which would require me to have a multiple-entry visa.

  • These controls amount no more no less than controls you may be subject inside a country. In many countries you are required to bring an ID with you to present to the police, just to confirm your identity and that you have a valid reason to be in the country (national, tourist, visitor, etc.). If you have a valid document, you will be fine. – user Aug 20 '18 at 12:24
  • @user Thank you for the clarification. Also thank you all for the answers. I'm now much more reassured that my single-entry visa won't be a problem. :) – Niko Gambt Aug 20 '18 at 13:05
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There is no problem.

Your single-entry visa is valid for a single entry to the Schengen area. The temporary controls are checks, not actual entries and exits from the Schengen area. All the countries concerned are still in the Schengen area, and the unified visa policy and travel area still apply.

If you encounter controls, nobody will stamp you in/out of the Schengen area. They'll just look at your passport, maybe check your visa, and send you on your way, sometimes at the jetway as you exit the plane. They're generally looking for illegal migrants or security threats, and as a visitor with a valid tourist visa, you're fine.

Note that the information on the EU website does not mean the checks are consistent or applied 100%. France's "all internal borders" does not mean everyone is always checked entering France. If you are, that doesn't count as another "entry" on your visa, and it likely won't take a significant amount of time.

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    "They're generally looking for migrants or security threats" might want to make that "They're generally looking for illegal migrants or security threats". Legal migrants have nothing to worry about. – Mast Aug 20 '18 at 9:34
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    Which means the folks they’re looking for will choose that road only a few kilometers away. – WGroleau Aug 20 '18 at 11:33
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    I expect the check are moved about so it is hard to predict when choosing the travel route. – Ian Ringrose Aug 20 '18 at 13:28
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    @edc65 how would migrants be selected for the additional checks? If they establish a checkpoint in a given place, presumably they check everyone passing through that point. – phoog Aug 20 '18 at 14:39
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    @edc65 how do you know if they are tourist or migrant prior to checking? – mathreadler Aug 20 '18 at 21:46
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I'll give you an example of what these temporary checks mean.

On flights from Athens to Paris:

  • you will undergo ID checks before boarding. These are undertaken by a private security company agents. They seem to be quite aggressive in terms of checks, so you can't wave your passage through if there's anything wrong with your paperwork. They will prevent you from boarding if they're not happy with the ID you provide. But if your paperwork is OK you shouldn't have any issues. If there is anything even vaguely borderline about your situation, get to your boarding area early to avoid any issue.

  • you will undergo another ID check when you exit the plane. These are undertaken by the french PAF (Police aux frontières). In some situations, they come with portable terminals that allow them to scan your ID and check databases exactly like they would at a traditional passport control booth. Of course, it'll take a bit of time (there are usually only 2 or 3 agents to check all passengers), so if you're in a hurry, take into account the additional time (or be sure to be seated up front).

But as others have stated, those are just checks (like could actually happen nearly anywhere in the Schengen Area), and have no influence on your visa entry count.

In some other situations, you might be deplaned as a non-Schengen arrival and be sent to the regular immigration checks, though they should somehow be able to make the difference between actual non-Schengen arrivals and Schengen arrivals that are temporarily checked. Make sure you keep your boarding pass or stub just in case.

You have more chances of being faced with these temporary controls when travelling from South or Eastern Europe (especially Greece) towards North or Western Europe. I would be surprised if there were any regular immigration checks going from Brussels to Paris. Random customs checks are a different story though (mostly looking from drugs from the Netherlands).

  • This is the best answer, as your scenarios address the most likely concern here, which is additional contact with authorities and the nature of that contact. – Douglas Held Aug 20 '18 at 11:56
  • Excellent suggestion! I will keep my boarding pass! – Niko Gambt Aug 20 '18 at 14:17
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It's not an issue. You just have to carry your passport when you'll cross a border (which I assume you would have done anyway).

Due to the temporary internal borders, will there be immigration/passport controls at the departure airports and at the arrival airports?

You'll most likely have to identify yourself before boarding the plane, but this has nothing to do with the internal border controls. It's possible there will be a border check at the arrival airport, but actually unlikely.

Likewise, will there be passport controls at the train stations when leaving Brussels and arriving at Paris?

Possible, but unlikely. My passport has never been checked on that route (traveled there 3 or 4 times this past year).

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Edited: The Schengen treaty was mostly for the benefit of EU citizens, and it lets them (and others) cross internal borders without systematic controls.

To make this feasible, it was necessary to create an unified system for short-stay visa and visa-free entry. This does not mean that everybody within the Schengen area is allowed to cross internal borders at will, or to cross them without any documents in all cases. But it was deemed that the potential for abuse was acceptable for the convenience of the citizens, who can now drive through the smaller countries without once halting their cars.

The reintroduction of internal controls means possible delays at the internal borders (for EU citizens and visitors alike), and increased administrative overhead for those EU citizens whose countries did not require IDs before. Internal controls don't abolish the unified visa system, just the frequency of checks along the way.

  • I am not sure if this answers the question at all, or if it is just a generic rant. The statement in your last paragraph is wrong. The 'temporary' immigration checkpoints between Denmark, Sweden and Norway over the last few years require many citizens of those countries to obtain and carry passports, which they would not have needed to pass the borders under normal circumstances. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Aug 20 '18 at 13:32
  • "it is a bit pointless to show an ID card to prove that you do not have to show a passport": I think it's rather more accurate to say that showing the document, whether passport or ID card, to prove a right of free movement compromises the freedom of movement. That is, it would create a delay for EU citizens crossing internal borders. Additionally, your "not true" paragraph leaves out some other cases, for it is indeed possible for an EU citizen to be forbidden from entering an EU country, even if the possibility of such a ban is very limited. – phoog Aug 20 '18 at 14:45
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo, the EU says "Schengen EU countries have the possibility of adopting national rules obliging you to hold or carry papers and documents when you are present on their territory." I was under the impression that this is common and not the exception. – o.m. Aug 20 '18 at 15:55
  • @phoog, that may be semantics, but to me freedom to enter and freedom to enter without controls are distinct things. Before Schengen, my citizenship gave me freedom to enter EU states unless some narrow exceptions were invoked, but not the freedom to enter uncontrolled. One is a right under EU treaties, the other is a privilege granted for mutual benefit. – o.m. Aug 20 '18 at 15:59
  • At least in the Nordic countries (NO, SE, DK, FI, IS), which have implemented quite a fair share of the current or recent immigration checks, there are no mandatory official id cards and it is quite common that residents and citizens don't have any kind of official id. Free travel between the countries without id checks have been in effect since the 1950s, but now many people have been forced to obtain passports to be able to fulfill the immigration check requirements. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Aug 20 '18 at 16:17
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By the way, this has existed in the United States for quite some time. Border Patrol is allowed to set up checkpoints in a number of places, including anywhere within 100 miles of the US border, counting the shores of Lake Michigan as a US border, as well as Puget Sound. They can merrily check any traveler's paperwork.

The difference being, they aren't going to block you from entering Illinois and make you stay in Indiana, because it's not Illinois border patrol, it's Federal.

But yes, "internal to a union of states" immigration checks are nothing new.

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    This is good info, but I'm not sure how this answers the question? – Zach Lipton Aug 21 '18 at 3:48
  • It's 100 miles, not 200 (8 CFR 287.1(a)(2)). But do you have any information other than the ACLU map that the shores of Lake Michigan count as an external border? Someone asked me about this here, and I could not find any regulation, policy, or other statement from the US government suggesting that it does. (I also could not find anything suggesting that the zone extends 100 miles from the shores of the other great lakes rather than from the centerline where the border actually is; consider Binghamton, NY.) – phoog Aug 22 '18 at 19:22
  • Because the shores of Lake Michigan are directly accessible from Ontario. Mackinac is wide open water with no locks. On the 200/100mi thing I am not in a position to research right now but my source was not the aclu. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 22 '18 at 19:35
  • @Harper I understand the logic, but I don't see any actual assertion from the federal government that they apply that logic and make that claim. I also don't understand why the same claim isn't made of the shores of Lake Champlain, which is partly in Canada. As to the 100 mile distance, it's clear in the regulation I linked to; I've never heard anyone speak of 200 miles before today. – phoog Aug 22 '18 at 23:54
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    @phoog google says because of the Boundary Waters Treaty. Article 1, right up top. ijc.org/en_/BWT CBP can't stop em at the Straits of Mackinac, they have full navigational rights to Lake Michigan. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 23 '18 at 2:29

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