I am a Canadian permanent resident planning to transit via Munich airport. I read the transit visa exceptions at https://www.germany-visa.org/airport-transit-visa/ It says

Still, there are some categories of people, who may be nationals of the above-mentioned countries, but if they belong to one of the following they do not need to obtain a visa of this kind: - holders of a valid visa for a Schengen Member State, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Japan, Romania or UK

I am a citizen of one of the countries listed above that statement that that would usually need a visa but are exempt under that condition. However, do they differentiate between a PR card (permanent residency proof) vs. just a visa? I.e. is PR card a stronger document than a visa (I would assume so but wanna be sure).

For e.g. one of my other stops on the way back is Zurich. I also read their requirements: https://www.sem.admin.ch/content/dam/data/sem/rechtsgrundlagen/weisungen/visa/bfm/bfm-anh01-liste2-e.pdf

I am again, a citizen of the countries who would usually need a visa but am exempt under the condition:

Holders of a valid residence permit, issued by one of the following states: - Canada

here they make a clear distinction between a visa and a residence permit. Is there anything to be worried about? I have transited many times through Europe but at that time I had a valid US visa. Anyone with experience in these matters please give your opinion.

EDIT: Did additional research and found the link of German embassy/mission in Canada: https://canada.diplo.de/ca-en/consular-services/visa/transit

which states:

If one of the following conditions applies to you, you WILL NOT require an airport transit visa when transiting through one German or Austrian airport:

  • you hold a valid Canadian Permanent Resident Card

  • you hold a valid Canadian visa

  • you leave Canada after having used a Canadian visa

  • Once this question is answered, it would be worth editing the canonical question Do I need a visa to transit (or layover) in the Schengen area? to include the answer; this issue doesn't appear to be directly addressed over there. Oct 12, 2019 at 15:48
  • @MichaelSeifert search for the text "You are also exempted if you have a residence permit from one of these countries...." It has been present from the beginning.
    – phoog
    Oct 15, 2019 at 2:04
  • @phoog: So it is. Mea culpa. Oct 15, 2019 at 2:38

2 Answers 2


Yes, permanent residence is different from legal presence under a visa.

This Canada government page discusses Canadian permanent residence, and contains this text:

A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are citizens of other countries.

A person in Canada temporarily, like a student or foreign worker, is not a permanent resident.

The same page also addresses evidence of permanent residence:

Permanent residents (PRs) of Canada must carry and present their valid PR card or permanent resident travel document (PRTD) when boarding a flight to Canada, or travelling to Canada on any other commercial carrier. If you do not carry your PR card or PRTD, you may not be able to board your flight, train, bus or boat to Canada.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your PR card is still valid when you return from travel outside Canada, and to apply for a new PR card when your current card expires. If your PR card expires, it does not mean you have lost permanent resident status.

Thus, permanent residence status is demonstrated by showing a "valid PR card." Carry your "valid PR card" or "permanent resident travel document (PRTD)" (as well as your passport) when you travel.

While your travel isn't "travel to Canada," you've highlighted cases in your question where your possession of Canadian permanent residence status can assist you while crossing or transiting other countries.

Carry the evidence, show it when it applies, and you should be fine.


All Schengen States (to which both Germany and Switzerland belong) follow the same visa code (airport transit visas are in article 3). The Schengen States have a common list of countries whose nationals/citizens must have visas for airport transit, even if remaining airside in the international transit area. (In certain situations a Schengen State may require visas from additional nationalities.)

A visa for Canada or another country listed in the visa code waives the requirement for an airport transit visa. Also an expired visa is accepted when returning from that country having used the visa. A residence permit is likewise valid, if in a certain format; for Canada that is a permanent resident card, in plastic.

The link you have provided about Switzerland does seem to make a distinction between having a visa or a residence permit, listing different issuing countries. This is only because Andorra and San Marino have chosen not to require or issue any visas, as both countries only can be reached via a Schengen State anyway.

Note that your link about Germany is not official and may not be entirely accurate.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .