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Assuming I'm not a citizen of the European union, and that I have a Schengen Visa with Germany as the main destination, do I need to make any special arrangements to land at this airport?

The airport is operated on an agreement established in 1946 where the three countries (Switzerland, Germany and France) are granted access to the airport without any customs or other border restrictions. The airport's board has 8 members from each France and Switzerland, and two advisers from Germany[6]

-via Wikipedia: EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg

See also, Wikipedia's Schengen Area:

To obtain a Schengen visa [...]

He or she must first identify which Schengen country is the main destination. This determines the State responsible for deciding on the Schengen visa application and therefore the embassy or the consulate where the traveller will have to lodge the application. If the main destination cannot be determined, the traveller should file the visa application at the embassy or consulate of the Schengen country of first entry

  • Is there even a difference between getting a visa for Germany or one for all Schengen-countries? – Ivo Flipse Aug 6 '11 at 19:09
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    @Ivo Flipse: There is, for non EU citizens. first you have to visit Germany, then you're free to travel to other Schengen-countries. – Gigili Aug 6 '11 at 21:48
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    @Gigili a Schengen visa does not require the traveler to travel first to the country that issued the visa. – phoog Mar 27 '17 at 7:14
  • Note this is the rudest airport I've ever been to (and I was strip searched at Israeli airports, twice) and staff either doesn't speak or refuses to speak English. Unless really badly necessary, avoid at all costs. – chx Mar 27 '17 at 12:44
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The airport is situated on French soil, close to the Swiss border. There is an exit to France and an exit to Switzerland; from the Swiss exit, you can only take a road that leads to Switzerland. The buses to Switzerland (to Basel) leave from the Swiss side; the buses to France (including the Saint-Louis railway station from which you can take a train to Basel) and to Germany leave from the French side. There are car parks and care rentals on both sides.

Most visas for Schengen countries allow travel all over the Schengen area. If your visa requires that you declare which country you will enter first, pick either France or Switzerland depending on which exit you intend to take. In fact, this logically shouldn't matter, since there is a border point that you can cross right in the airport, so you could exit on one side and immediately cross the border; of course logic doesn't always matter when it comes to border crossings.

If your visa requires declaring which countries you will visit, pick France if you're going to France and Switzerland if you're going to Switzerland. If you're going to Germany, you'll probably want to enter on the Swiss side and take the bus to Basel, but there is also a bus to Freiburg that leaves on the French side. There is no longer a way to reach Germany without crossing either France or Switzerland. On this question you will find more information on getting to Germany.

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    The visa doesn't require to pick which country you are visiting first (I don't think so anyway), it does require to pick a primary destination. It also too late to change it. Thanks for a very nice overview! – Stefano Palazzo Aug 8 '11 at 4:22
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I asked the airport staff, it looks like there's no need to do anything else:

Hello

You just have to choose the french exit upon arrival.

Best regards

It would've been nice of them to explain why. But they're not Stack Exchange, are they? :-)

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    As a resident alien from outside the Schengen area myself (residing in Germany), from family members' experience, you really don't need to visit the visa-issuing country first -- but you might need to demonstrate that it is, indeed, your main destination (and that you know how to get there from the airport). – michel-slm Aug 7 '11 at 16:49
2

A normal Schengen visa is valid for all Schengen states.

Contrary to other answers, there is only one border control at the EuroAirport, manned by both French police and Swiss border guards. After the baggage claim, however, you can choose to go through French or Swiss customs.

Only take the Swiss exit if you're going to Basel. If going to France, Germany or Zurich (in Switzerland), the public transport to these places leave from the French sector. Thus, if taking the bus to Zurich, you may be subject to another passport check (by the Swiss) shortly after leaving the airport. They'll then check the visa and entry stamp to verify your legal entry into the Schengen Area.

  • Interesting, I don't remember it that way. Last time I went was many years ago but I think you could switch from the Swiss to the French side by going through some sort of control booth inside the airport (I am talking about the departures area/land side). What kind of stamps do these border guards have? How do they share the workload? – Relaxed Sep 20 '18 at 11:57
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    @Relaxed They sit together randomly. If you happen to approach a Swiss Grenzwache officer, you get a CH stamp saying "BASEL", while if you happen to approach a French Police aux frontières officer, you get an F stamp saying "BALE MULHOUSE" (I know because I've asked several times for a stamp on a blank sheet I brought along). After baggage claim, there are separate customs exits. As for walking between the sides, there's a one-way narrow F->CH corridor on the arrivals floor, while on the departures floor, the crossing is fully open with a small table which, nowadays, is mostly unmanned – Crazydre Sep 20 '18 at 12:14

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