I have a question about how the Schengen duration of stay is calculated.

My duration of stay is 17 days. Unfortunately, I will arrive at the airport at 9:00 pm on July 26th, and my departure flight is at 12:00 pm on August 12th which is around 18 days.

My question is:

  1. Can I stay inside the terminal for 3 hours? so when I pass the border control, it is on July 27th?

  2. Similarly, Can I arrive at the airport 12 hours before my departure flight? so it is on August 11th?


  • 4
    The duration is not "around" 18 days. It is 18 days. A day is counted as full irrespective of when you enter/exit Schengen. We have some similar questions about entering Schengen before validity begins. (See this). You run the risk of overstay (and subsequent visa troubles) with this itinerary.
    – RedBaron
    Jul 23, 2019 at 8:13
  • 1
    @DiamondDuck If you have luggage to check in you probably won’t be able to do so until around 4 hours before your flight (rules vary, depending on your departure airport). It’s unlikely you would be allowed through security 12 hours before your flight irrespective of the airport, unless you’re a transit passenger.
    – Traveller
    Jul 23, 2019 at 8:25
  • I think you may possibly be confused about the duration of stay part, since you imply your total allowed duration is 17 days. Unless you have already used up some days on a previous visit, this is unlikely. Can you double check your paperwork to find the exact wording of what the actual duration allowed to you is? (What often happens is that they ask how long you plan to stay, e.g. 17 days, and then issue you a short stay visa which allows you to stay up to 90 days regardless, so minor travel changes are no problem.) Jul 23, 2019 at 19:41
  • @user3067860, people from many countries get visa for exactly the number of days the trip they asked a visa for and get just a few more days in which they can use that number of days. They should not stay longer than the smallest number and not try to travel to or within the Schengen area outside that small number nor outside the longer period.
    – Willeke
    Jul 24, 2019 at 16:26

2 Answers 2


Each minute of a day within the Schengen zone counts as a day.
Most airlines will not let you board if your arrival date is before the date your visa is valid. But they might if your visa validity starts before your departure.

Whether you can stay in the airport till past midnight depends on the airport, some close every night and will want the arriving passengers processed efficiently, so no hanging around. It is often less of a problem when airports have arrivals till after midnight but even then you might not be allowed to wait.

Passing through exit control a calendar day before departure is also not likely.
And it is never advised to stay till the last minute of your visa, as delays are always possible.

Best book your flights for no more than 16 days, 17 max.

  • 1
    Or if you have already booked the flight, a visit outside Schengen could help, e.g. in UK, and you will arrive at airport the morning of your departure flight (so you will be just on-transit on last day). Jul 23, 2019 at 10:23
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi Citizens from some countries need a valid visa even for transit, so it may not be as simple as that.
    – jcaron
    Jul 23, 2019 at 12:50

At the moment it is calculated with stamps, a stamp with the date you go through immigration on arrival, then a stamp with the date you go through emigration when leaving. So it's whatever date you go through emigration that will count towards your duration of stay.

Where do you expect to wait for 3 hours? Going to connections area will see you go through security and possibly a passport check. Waiting in the area before passport control will probably cause suspicion too.

If you're concerned you will be going home 1 day after the 90 days in 180 days rule you could be refused entry as your return flight ticket (if the immigration officer asks to see it) may show you're leaving on 12th August. So going to the airport early would not matter as you might not be let in. Also if you're checking in luggage you probably can't check it in that early.

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