I am starting a new degree program as a PhD student in the US. My visa is expired and I plan to go to my country to renew my F1 visa with a stopover in Germany.
Do I have to get the transit visa in this case?
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An I-20 is not a visa. So yes, you need a transit visa for Germany if your US visa has already expired.
When transiting through Germany with an expired visa issued by Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Ireland (Rep.), Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Romania or USA, the visa must be valid when departing from the country that issued the visa.
You can also check on the IATA site https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/