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I have a c-type single entry Schengen visa issued from Spain. And this is my first time Schengen visa. I wanted to go to Rome first for 3 days and then to Spain for 4 days and then back to my country from Spain. I had all the internal flight ticket from Rome to Barcelona and the hotel's non-refundable reservation and also the international return ticket from Barcelona. All that and I was denied boarding assuming that my first entry should be Spain. Is that something legal?

I was at Cairo international airport and I was denied boarding at the check-in desk of Royal Jordanian. My complete itinerary is as following: on 15/6 Cairo to Amman then Amman to Rome then on 18/6 Rome to Barcelona then on 22/6 Barcelona to Cairo.enter image description here

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As you describe it, the itinerary you were following was perfectly consistent with your visa. There is no requirement at all the the first entry should be to the member country that issued your Schengen visa.

If the airline refused to transport you for this reason, then they were definitely mistaken.

You probably have a legal claim against the airline, but that depends on the law in the location where you tried boarding, or possibly in the location where your contract with the airline was executed. You should seek help from a lawyer in the relevant jurisdiction; random Q&A sessions on the internet cannot help you file a lawsuit by yourself.


This assumes that Jordan does not have problems with a transiting passenger continuing towards a different Schengen state than the one that issues his visa. Even though Spain and Italy don't have a problem with that, Jordan is free to set any kind of strange rules of their own. (And some of the rules listed in the Wikipedia article sound pretty strange already -- e.g., EU citizens can enter with ID cards rather than passports, but only if they arrive on a direct flight from Brussels specifically???)

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    It also depends on the nationality of the airline. If it was an EU airline, EC261 applies automatically. – jcaron Jul 3 at 12:13
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    I imagine "from Brussels specifically" is a "let's make things easier on EU officials who aren't entitled to diplomatic visas for whatever reason" rule, rather than something intended for use by the general public. Still, that's quite a bizarre way of doing it. – Kevin Jul 3 at 20:06
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    @Rola: if the lawyer you're consulting with cannot find the relevant regulations himself, get another one. That's what you pay him for! – Henning Makholm Jul 4 at 9:38
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    @Henning Makholm. I'm already trying to find another one more expert in such a case. Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure things out I can't wait hand folded when I feel I was unjustified. – Rola Jul 4 at 11:28
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    @Rola: It is hard to give an authoritative reference for the fact that a particular rule doesn't exist. The best I can point to is article 5 of the visa code, which describes which Schengen state a visa should be issued by -- which is not always the state through whose external border the traveler will enter. – Henning Makholm Jul 4 at 15:32
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I don't know much about Egyptian law, but in those systems I'm familiar with, your goal here is to put Royal Jordanian in a position where the burden of proof is on them to show that your visa was not sufficient. This shouldn't be too hard to do, because you had a visa that said literally on its face that it was valid for all Schengen States. So you should submit a claim based on that evidence and ask them to show you the source of the purported requirement to hold a visa from the port of entry.

A relevant quote from the Schengen Visa Code, from Article 2(2):

‘visa’ means an authorisation issued by a Member State with a view to [...] an intended stay on the territory of the Member States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period;

There is no mention of restrictions based on the issuing state.

A relevant quote from the Schengen Borders Code, from Article 6(1), which lays down the entry conditions for short-term visitors, and in particular 6(1)(b):

1. For intended stays on the territory of the Member States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period, which entails considering the 180-day period preceding each day of stay, the entry conditions for third-country nationals shall be the following:

[...]

(b) they are in possession of a valid visa, if required pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001, except where they hold a valid residence permit or a valid long-stay visa;

Again, there is no requirement that the visa be issued by the country whose territory is being entered. Council Regulation 539/2001 is simply the lists of countries whose nationals do and do not require Schengen visas for short stays (since replaced by Regulation 2018/1806). This means that to enter Italy, you must have a Schengen visa that is valid for Italy, which you had. It does not matter that it was issued by Spain.

Another line of reasoning to consider: The ground staff should have checked your documents against an industry-standard database called TIMATIC. There, they would have seen that you require a visa to land in Italy. They would have seen some additional notes about Schengen visas, of which the last is

Schengen "C" type visas must be valid for the visited Schengen Member State. This is specified in the "valid for" field of the visa.

Once again, this shows that your visa was valid. The only requirement your type-C Schengen visa had to meet was that it indicate that it was valid for Italy, which it did.

If I were you, I would look to see whether the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation concerns itself with passenger complaints, or whether there is some other body that does so. Also look at the Jordanian Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission or other official bodies in Jordan that might take interest.

I would write a letter to the airline asking for a full refund (and perhaps other compensation) on the basis that you had a valid visa for your destination. Include a copy of the visa, emphasizing that it says it is valid for Schengen states. It will be their responsibility to show why a visa issued by Spain is not valid for entry into Italy.

You might also consider a social media campaign discouraging people from flying on Royal Jordanian because they do not understand how Schengen visas work. If you start telling people to fly on European airlines instead, you might get their attention.

  • I've already sent a complain to the Royal Jordanian airlines explaining my whole case and requiring compensation and this was their reply : ( " Please allow us to clarify that our staff at Cairo Airport abided by the set rules of European Regulations, in which for any first not used C type Schengen visa the passenger must enter first to the issuing country, and not allowed to enter any other Schengen state. We would like to point out that we have embassies’ advisors who follow this issue on every European flight and they recommend denying any passenger not fulfilling this regulation." ) – Rola Jul 8 at 22:17
  • @Rola ask them to point you to the regulation and to identify the "embassy advisor." It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that they are lying. – phoog Jul 8 at 22:21
  • Then I've replied that I needed an official document signed from the EU proving their decision, but I didn't receive anything till this moment and I don't think I will. – Rola Jul 8 at 22:21
  • @Rola you might try writing to the Italian embassy (in Jordan and/or Egypt) asking them to confirm this and, if they do confirm it, asking them to cite the law or regulation on which they base their advice. – phoog Jul 8 at 22:22
  • I will make use of your references. I was in need of them, thank you. – Rola Jul 8 at 22:28
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Finally, after almost 3 weeks of searching the core of my case is that since my visa was issued from Spain, then my first entry should be from Spain and that was confirmed through a phone call with the embassy of Spain in Egypt regardless being a first time visa or not. I don't know if that goes on any nationality. Bottom line is, I was the one mistaken not to refer to the embassy before the trip and just depend on general knowledge. Anyway, I hope that no one gets into a headache like that and if you have any concerns just refer to the authorized source.

And I want to thank each and everyone who answered or wrote a comment on the post.

  • I doubt you are right in this answer, It is the more important visit or the longest stay and only if there is neither it is the first entry..... – Willeke Jul 8 at 18:27
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    This is incorrect. There is no requirement to enter the Schengen area through the country where the visa was issued. Who did you speak to at the Spanish embassy? Was it a Spanish consular officer or a local staff member? You were indeed denied boarding incorrectly, and you should not stand for it. Suppose you were flying to Spain from an African country with no direct flights to Spain. If this supposed requirement existed, it would prevent you from booking a flight on an airline based in another Schengen country, which is of course an absurd thing for the EU to do. – phoog Jul 8 at 18:55
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    Furthermore, the authoritative source for entry requirements in Italy is the Italian embassy, not the Spanish embassy. – phoog Jul 8 at 19:07
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    This information, from wherever derived, is not correct. – Andrew Lazarus Jul 8 at 20:13
  • This is not correct, the Schengen Visa should be issues by the country where you will stay the bulk of your time, first entry has no bearing on this. – Matt Douhan Jul 13 at 23:31
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Usaully a VISA applies only for the country where you land first. So passing from Joardan and then to Europe, means that you need a VISA for Jordan. It applies also if you go to Canada from Europe passing thru USA. You need to get a VISA for US as well, just for landing there.

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    @ Francesco Cicciuzz: you are correct, but in my case being Egyptian doesn't require a visa to Jordan. I've been there on a transit before. – Rola Jul 4 at 14:32
  • It's from Jordan to Europe that requires a VISA. It dowsn't matter if you can go to Jordan being egyptian. The agreement is between Egypt and Jodan. Between Jordan and Europe may not be valid. – Francesco Cicciuzz Jul 4 at 14:57
  • (Aside, the USA is unusual in not allowing visa-free transit.) The OP doesn't need a visa to be in Jordan. The OP does need a visa to be Schengen, but he has one of those. – Martin Bonner Jul 4 at 15:26
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    Note that "visa" is just an ordinary word. It shouldn't be written in all caps. – David Richerby Jul 4 at 15:30
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    "Usaully a VISA applies only for the country where you land first." That just doesn't make sense. A visa applies to the country (or organization, in cases like Schengen) that issued it. – David Richerby Jul 4 at 15:31

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