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I'm travelling from US to Cairo with a layover in Rome (FCO) that's 14 hours long. I'd like to book a hotel in the airport to spend the night. I have found a couple of hotels in the airport but I'm not sure if I'll have to go through passport control or not since I don't have a schengen visa.

Is it possible for me to book either of the hotels in the airport or do I need a visa? If not, is there any other option for a private lounge/sleep area in the FCO layover area?

I'm not a US citizen and can't enter the Schengen area without a visa

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  • What is your nationality? If you're a U.S. citizen, then you don't need a Schengen visa. U.S. citizens can enter the Schengen Area for up to 90 days for tourist purposes with no visa.
    – reirab
    May 12 at 8:20

2 Answers 2

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There are no hotels inside FCO's "airside" area.

Thus, If you want to stay in a hotel, you must pass Schengen Immigration, collect your luggage (if any), and pass Schengen Customs, then go to your hotel. The HotelSky facility is on the airport premises, but it is landside; other hotels are off the airport property.

Sources: while one can't prove a negative, FCO's official website, and secondary sources here and here support this conclusion.

Passing Immigration and Customs will require a Schengen visa, unless your citizenship qualifies you for visa-free entry into the EU.

The Sleeping in Airports website cited above contains reports from travelers who have spent the night inside the airport, both landside and airside.

Note that while it's apparently possible to stay overnight within the airport, whether you can actually do that on your itinerary depends on other factors not disclosed in your question. These "other factors" may require that you pass Immigration and Customs: if you must retrieve and then drop off your checked baggage while at FCO; if your arriving flight is on a different air carrier than your departing flight; if you must change terminals at FCO.

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  • thanks for the detailed reply. just so I'm sure I understand correctly, you said that HotelSky is on airport premise but it's landside, which means that I have to pass Schengen immigration, correct?
    – netbug
    May 12 at 14:58
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    @netbug Yes, that's correct. "Landside" means you've exited the security perimeter, which is only available to do after passing immigration and customs. May 12 at 15:34
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FCO doesn't appear to have any airside sleeping accommodations

Some sources claim that as recently as March 2022 the airport is closed at night between 0:00 and 3:00 for Covid related cleaning. I wasn't able to verify this one way or another so I recommend checking with the airline if your layover is indeed over night. If you get kicked out, you need a Schengen Visa or equivalent.

You could consider buying lounge access, but I don't think any of the lounges is open all night.

Sources:

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