As a USA citizen, I am not allowed to enter Portugal (due to Covid-19 risk, regardless of my apparent health).

But I have a 25 hour layover in Lisbon, so I am thinking to search the international transfers area for a food court bench on which to sleep. I doubt that I will get more than an hour of sleep, so lack of sleep will probably make me sick.

Are there any better sleeping options?

  • 2
    You could take a look at Sleeping In Airports. They warn that the exact situation can change at short notice.
    – user105640
    Aug 23, 2020 at 15:40
  • 2
    The non-Schengen transfer area at Lisbon is frankly not much—most of the airport's facilities are beyond passport control in the Schengen portion of terminal 1. I'd also want to make extremely sure that this is allowed by the authorities before you try to travel, lest you be denied boarding or find yourself simultaneously ordered out of the terminal (I have no idea if the non-Schengen area is open to overnight sleeping) and banned from leaving the terminal. Aug 23, 2020 at 21:24
  • Where are you connecting to? Note that if the next airport in your trip is in the Schengen Area, you will have to enter Portugal at that point, which may not be an option in your case.
    – jcaron
    Aug 24, 2020 at 7:54
  • @jcaron I connect to London which does not have a travel ban. United Kingdom allows me to enter if I promise to immediately self-isolate for 14 days (that will be difficult too, but at least I will sleep...I plan to try lots of food delivery services and never leave my Airbnb).
    – bobuhito
    Aug 24, 2020 at 12:20
  • 1
    What airlines are you flying on? Are both flights on a single booking? Do you have any hold luggage (taking into account that some airlines limit or forbid cabin luggage at this time)? If you have hold luggage, will they actually transfer them from one flight to the other? IMHO this is unlikely for a 25-hour layover, anything over 24 hours is usually automatically a stopover which means luggage will be delivered and not transferred. If you need to get your luggage and re-check it, you'll need to enter the country.
    – jcaron
    Aug 24, 2020 at 12:32

2 Answers 2


You're not getting on the plane to Lisbon!

Per TIMATIC, the database used by airlines, transit in Portugal is possible for:

Passengers arriving from a non-Schengen Member State with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight within 24 hours to a third country which is not a Schengen Member State

Furthermore, you're not exempt from the entry ban (you would be in the other direction, however, i.e. arriving from the UK)

So contact TAP ASAP and modify the booking.

As for facilities at Lisbon airport, there's a food court inside security as well as couches near gate 16 and a rest zone near gates 19-20. I can't seem to find which gates are in the non-Schengen sector, however.

  • Ok, I will try to change the ticket. If my layover were instead 23 hours, I assume that lying on a terminal bench like I suggested is my best sleeping option - You might want to add one sentence in your answer stating the best way to sleep for a shorter layover just to be complete.
    – bobuhito
    Aug 26, 2020 at 15:22
  • 1
    @bobuhito 23 hours is OK, and yes, I'll edit it
    – Crazydre
    Aug 26, 2020 at 16:51
  • Is the 24-hour restriction a COVID-19 measure? Normally US citizens can remain in the non-Schengen zone indefinitely, can't they?
    – phoog
    Aug 26, 2020 at 19:56
  • @phoog No, at most airports it's either max 24 hours or within the same day. In Portugal it's 24 hours.
    – Crazydre
    Aug 26, 2020 at 20:03
  • @Crazydre what? US citizens can enter the Schengen area for 90 days. Why can't they stay in the non-Schengen zone for 25 hours? (In normal times, I mean.)
    – phoog
    Aug 26, 2020 at 21:44

The other answer is incorrect. You will not be prevented from boarding the airplane. The TWOV restriction it cites does not apply to you because you qualify for a visa exemption:

Nationals of Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Korea (Rep.), Malaysia, Marshall Isl., Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States), Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, North Macedonia (Rep.), Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Isl., St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, USA, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City (Holy See) and Venezuela for a maximum stay of 90 days. (SEE NOTE 51200).

NOTE 51200: The maximum stay is granted within 180 days.

Your best bet is to follow the suggestion by Arthur's Pass in a comment:

You could take a look at Sleeping in Airports. They warn that the exact situation can change at short notice. – Arthur's Pass Aug 23 at 15:40

  • 2
    The 90-day visa exemption doesn't apply here because OP is not allowed to enter Portugal, hence they have to fall back on TWOV. Had they been flying from the UK, this answer would be correct.
    – Crazydre
    Aug 28, 2020 at 13:35

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