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I am reaching out for some guidance regarding transit visa requirements. As a Bangladeshi citizen, I am planning a trip that will take me through Munich, Germany, en route to Lisbon, Portugal.

My journey includes layovers in Munich, 6 hours on my way to Lisbon and 4 hours on my way back. Here are the specifics of my travel plan:

Layover duration: 6 hours in Munich while going to Lisbon and 4 hours during the return trip.

Visas: I currently hold a valid student visa for Canada and a Schengen visa for Portugal, which covers my intended travel period.

Purpose of travel: I am traveling to Portugal to present a paper at a conference.

Given these details, I am trying to determine whether I need a transit visa for the Munich part of my trip. My understanding is that the Schengen visa should allow me to transit through Munich without requiring an additional transit visa, but I would greatly appreciate any insights or confirmation from those who might have faced similar situations or have expertise in this area.

Thank you in advance for your help!

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You are not going to transit in Munich. You are going to enter the Schengen Area in Germany, and then take an internal Schengen connection to Portugal.

Unless your Schengen visa has special annotations, which are quite unusual, you can travel through any Schengen country which is reasonably on the way to your main destination or back.

  • The passport will be stamped when you first enter the Schengen area. This also means that the visa must already be valid for the day you arrive in Munich. Your duration of stay must be enough for the last day when you leave through Munich.
  • The German immigration official will notice that the visa was issued by Portugal, and might ask you how you plan to go to Portugal. Your connecting flight is the answer you can give.
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As you enter the Schengen area in Germany you do not need a transit visa. You can also leave the airport if you want to, although with 4 or 6 hours that is quite a short time, if you happen to follow the wrong signs and find yourself on the way out of the airport you can just go out, and join the people who leave from that airport on the way in. There is usually a transfer immigration location which reduces the risk of extra long waiting times.

There have been reports that ground crew in some countries did not accept Schengen visas for flights where you enter the Schengen area in a different country but those are wrong. What you plan to do is right and if they look up whether it is allowed they should confirm you have the right to enter the flight.

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  • "There have been reports that ground crew in some countries did not accept Schengen visas for flights where you enter the Schengen area in a different country but those are wrong": these reports are not necessarily wrong; the ground crew do sometimes wrongly deny boarding for this reason. This is unlikely to be the case here, however, as the airline is likely to be Lufthansa or a Star Alliance partner that is familiar with the rules for Schengen visas; the offending airlines in these reports are invariably non-EU airlines.
    – phoog
    Mar 28 at 7:01
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    @MarkJohnson I am curious why you changed "Schengen zone" to "Schengen area" in this answer. As far as I can see, both are in use, and I don't see anything wrong with "zone" nor any advantage to "area," so I am perplexed. Thanks.
    – phoog
    Mar 28 at 7:09
  • @phoog The Schengen area is the combined area of the Schengen states where the Schengen Border Code applies. Zone: an area or a part of an object, especially one that is different from everything that is around it. Andorra is a zone within the Schengen area where the Schengen Border Code does not apply. Mar 28 at 7:17
  • @phoog 2024-02-06: New rules for a more resilient Schengen area - European Commission The Schengen area comprises 27 countries and extends over 4 million square kilometers with a population of over 420 million people. With Romania and Bulgaria as of 31 March 2024, the Schengen area will grow to 4.5 million square kilometers with a population of 450 million. Mar 28 at 7:17
  • @phoog Basicly a zone is a sub-area. Germany was divided into 4 zones. Mar 28 at 7:20
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I have been through similar situation as yours and I can confirm that you don’t need any transit visa in this case. But you are not allowed to go out of the airport since as per the rules, you must have an entry stamp on the passport from the country that issued you a visa, which is Portugal in your case. Yes, only once the Portuguese immigration authorities at the airport to enter the country, you are free to travel to any Schengen country via air, land or sea.

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    I don't think this is correct at all. The OP will likely go through immigration in Munich
    – littleadv
    Mar 28 at 3:40
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    What authority supports the idea that one must enter Schengen through the country which issued the visa? I too believe this assertion to be incorrect. Mar 28 at 3:46
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    Right. So do you expect a Portugese border officer to wait for the OP in Munich? I don't understand how they'd be getting Portuguese stamp when entering Schengen in Germany.
    – littleadv
    Mar 28 at 3:57
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    When using a Schengen Visa for the first time, the country of issue should be the main destination (i.e. mostly the most time spent during the visit). Unless geographicly restricted, other Schengen countries may be visited to and from the main destination (including the ports of entry and exit). Mar 28 at 6:16
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    It is impossible to get an entry stamp from Portugal with this itinerary. There is no way to avoid getting the entry stamp in Munich. The flight from Munich to Portugal is an internal Schengen flight. Everyone on the flight will be legally inside the Schengen area. To reach the departure gate in Munich from the arrival gate, it will be necessary to clear passport control. There will be no passport control between the arrival gate in Portugal and the baggage claim and the airport exit. Because of this, there is no rule requiring a stamp from the country issuing the visa.
    – phoog
    Mar 28 at 6:48

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