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My Schengen visa starts from 28/08, but my flight will have a transit stop in Zurich (still be 27/08). Will that be a problem? Will they even let me on board in the first place? The transit does not include leaving and reentering the airport and my luggage will be directly delivered to the next flight.

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  • Switzerland is part of the Schengen Area. To change planes to a domestic Schengen flight you must enter the Schengen Area (for which you must have a valid visa). Jul 20, 2023 at 2:24
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    Is that a transit to your final destination in the Schengen area or a completely separate trip?
    – Relaxed
    Jul 20, 2023 at 3:22
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    And if it is a stop between two non-Schengen airports we need to know your nationality, as that can make a transfer visa needed.
    – Willeke
    Jul 20, 2023 at 5:54
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    What is the destination of your flight from Zurich? What is your nationality?
    – phoog
    Jul 20, 2023 at 6:15
  • Related question travel.stackexchange.com/questions/72111/…
    – Traveller
    Jul 20, 2023 at 7:27

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There are two possibilities here.

The first is that your flight from Zurich will take you to another airport in the Schengen area. For example, your itinerary could be Istanbul-Zurich-Paris. In this case, you cannot make the trip because you will enter the Schengen area in Zurich so your visa needs to be valid on arrival in Zurich.

The second is that your flight from Zurich is to a destination outside the Schengen area. For example, your itinerary could be Istanbul-Zurich-London. In that case you need to determine whether you need an airport transit visa in Switzerland. Nationals of certain countries require such a visa, but there are several exemptions to the requirement depending on other visas or residence permits you may hold. You can find more information by clicking "travelling to Switzerland" on the home page of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

It seems likely that your flight is to another Schengen airport (because you have a Schengen visa) and that you have an overnight transit in Zurich (assuming your visa was issued to reflect your date of arrival at the final destination). In this case, you should in theory be able to make the trip provided that you wait until midnight before going to the passport control point. The airline, however, will probably be reluctant to let you board in this circumstance. Your best bet is probably to try to talk to the Swiss border control office and the airline before the trip to ensure that everyone understands what's happening. You can find contact information for the Swiss border control office at How to contact border authorities in EU/Schengen countries?

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  • IIRC passport control at Zurich does not operate 24/24 (only according to flight arrivals and no flights are generally scheduled after 11pm), although ZRH does not close overnight (unlike GVA) so if the airport and immigration allows it it may still be possible to pass immigration the next morning.
    – xngtng
    Jul 20, 2023 at 11:00
  • I'm not the OP, but I find difficult that OP can change/cancel the second flight and not the first one. -- Note: there is an airside hotel in Zurich (not cheap, like all Switzerland and airports). Jul 20, 2023 at 12:46
  • @xngtng I see no compelling reason why OP would be allowed to remain overnight in a closed part of the airport in order to skirt OP's visa, nor why an airline would be convinced to allow OP to board a flight which would lead to this situation in the first place. Jul 20, 2023 at 13:06
  • @AR-solidarityforModstrike the airport doesn't close. The airline will allow the passenger to board if the border police will allow it. It is perhaps surprising, but they are occasionally flexible to help people out with mix-ups like this seems to be.
    – phoog
    Jul 20, 2023 at 17:27

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