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I have a very specific question that is kind of related to another question. What countries in the Schengen area accept US travel document (form I-571)

Assume that someone has a Form I-571 Travel Document issued by the US and no other country's passport. This link looks official and seems to indicate that Germany doesn't require a visa for such travel document holders to enter the country. The same for Netherlands, even though the Visa Advisor tool was not working when I tried to access it.

And, assume that they are mainly visiting Germany with a day or two short trips to the Netherlands and Belgium by train from Germany. (Belgium and the Netherlands allow visa-free short visits for such travel document holders according to many sources.)

My question is, if that someone enters the Schengen Area (excluding non-EU territories) from the US via Germany by air and wants to take the train to Paris to Brussels and then to Amsterdam and finally back to Germany, would there be any legal basis that allows or prevents this trip? The only unclear bit of this trip itinerary is the train ride between a train station in Germany and Paris and then Paris to Brussels. Please provide as much credible sources as possible about the legal grounds for your answers and explain the risks. Information online has been mixed/inconclusive.

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The same page you linked to says this:

Please be advised that this regulation applies to Germany only. If you plan to transit or travel to other Schengen countries you have to contact the responsible consular mission of the respective countries to find out about their visa regulations

French visa wizard shows that you do need a visa to France in these circumstances. Without the visa you may be prevented from boarding or disembarking from the train or removed from it at the border, if there are any border checks involved.

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  • But are there border checks within Schengen Area? I've heard from a bunch of my friends who have been traveling between Vienna, Munich, Paris and Amsterdam by train and never encountered a check. But ofc they're residents so they can present a proof if required. Nov 9, 2022 at 13:14
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    @elegantcomplexity There are no systematic border checks, but there can be random checks. And in practice, there are quasi-systematic checks at some borders depending on (real or perceived) patterns in illegal crossings. One such pattern is people entering the Schengen area via the Mediterranean, and wanting to cross France to reach the UK, so France has checks at the Italian border often. There are also sporadic influx of migrants via Belarus, which might be causing more common checks for people entering France from Germany. Nov 9, 2022 at 14:10

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