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I'll be travelling in Finland this summer, and today I've retrieved my passport back from VAC. The problem I have is that I applied for an effective starting date of June 16th for Finland, but I will set off from Shanghai China and land off at Frankfurt Germany on June 15th for transit. And a second flight from this very airport will take me to Finland and arrive on 16th.

A staff member at VAC Shanghai told me that there would be no problem as I am supposed to register my customs entry in Schengen area in Helsinki airport in Finland. But googling led me to believe that my passport control will be handled in Germany on 15th, and the subsequent flight to Finland will be treated as a domestic flight due to the nature of Schengen area. If that's the case, will my entry be denied because of the discrepancy of entry time?

Edit:

Thank you everyone for your help so far. I wrote an email to the Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai last night, and a Finnish officer told me to bring my passport next Monday so that they can change the effective starting date to 15th for me. Unfortunately today they're temporarily closed due to Dragon Boat Festival in China. I hope this can be dealt with in a fast manner, or else things will go south.

  • Could you give us the information about that flight? Just one flight with stop-over in FRA? (it is possible, but not very probable). – Giacomo Catenazzi Jun 6 at 14:36
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    @GiacomoCatenazzi The flight from Shanghai to Frankfurt is LH 729 - LUFTHANSA, and the next flight from Frankfurt to Helsinki is LH 854 - LUFTHANSA. So there will be two individual flights. – Timmy Han Jun 6 at 14:39
  • You probably want to ensure that the airline will even let you board in Shanghai when they see that your visa will not yet be valid when you land in Germany. – brhans Jun 6 at 14:46
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    @brhans Yes, he'd almost certainly be denied boarding rather than being allowed to get all the way to Germany and then getting sent home. – David Richerby Jun 6 at 15:00
  • Note: you will cross customs in Helsinki, that's correct but immigration you will cross in Frankfurt. This is different in the USA/Canada where you cross both at your first airport. – chx Jun 7 at 2:47
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What you've found by googling is correct, the VAC staff member seems to have misinformed you. Flights within the Schengen area, such as your flight from Frankfurt to Helsinki, are esssentially "domestic" flights for immigration purposes - there are generally no immigration controls before or after them (occasional spot-checks may be possible). Your paperwork (passport, visa, etc.) is checked (and stamped, if applicable) when you arrive and when you depart the Schengen area as a whole. With the itinerary you've described, that means you will need a valid visa to enter the Schengen area when you arrive in Frankfurt on the 15th. Without one, you won't be allowed to board the plane in Shanghai (and if somehow you are, you won't be allowed in when you reach Frankfurt).

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    Thank you. Seems the only option I have is to either change the flight, which btw will be costly, or ask the Consulate for help, which luckily they agreed to. – Timmy Han Jun 7 at 2:11
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Both Germany and Finland are in the Schengen Area, so the flight between Frankfurt and Finland is internal to Schengen, and you enter the Schengen Area in Frankfurt and that will be problem if your visa is not valid.

Your problems might (should) already start when you try to baord the plane in Shanghai as the airline will probably not allow you to board with a visa that won't be valid when you land (they'll be fined if they do).

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    Thank you. Seems the only option I have is to either change the flight, which btw will be costly, or ask the Consulate for help, which luckily they agreed to. – Timmy Han Jun 7 at 2:10

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