I am an Iranian citizen and US permanent resident. I'm traveling home over the new year break and I booked my flights with Alitalia like this:


All the connections are from the same terminals. I know that green card holders are exempt from transit visa in Italy. However, someone pointed out to me that since I have two connections in Italy on the way back, they might be considered domestic flights and I might need to get a transit visa (although I don't change terminals).

So do I really need the transit visa?

EDIT: thank you all for your help. I contacted the airline and they couldn't help. The consulate in my area is closed today and but I'll ask them what kind of visa (transit or Schengen) I need and I'll update once I have more info.

EDIT2: so I ended up changing my flight due to other reasons, but I went to the Italian consulate and they gave me a Schengen visa valid for 3 days that would have covered my connection in Italy.

2 Answers 2


I don't know about Rome specifically but many European airports are split in two areas, one for Schengen/internal flights and one for international flights. Even when the terminal or even the (physical) gates are the same, the flows are kept separate and passengers coming from a Schengen flight can exit the airport without passport control. In some airports, the same physical gates have two numbers, one for Schengen and one for non-Schengen flights but it really is the same gate and it can be connected to different corridors as needed. Flying from the same terminal therefore offers no guarantee that both flights depart from the international area of the airport or that you don't have to go through a border-crossing point.

For this reason, it's difficult to see how you could transfer to a Rome-Milan flight without the right to enter the Schengen area as it would either imply that all passengers need to be checked in Milan or that you have effectively entered the Schengen area and could therefore leave the airport and stay illegally, thus defeating the whole system.

It therefore seems you will need a regular Schengen visa, and not merely an airport transit visa, as you would leave the international area of the airport. Because of that, neither the fact that citizens of Iran require an airport transit visa nor the exemption for green card holders would be relevant and the rules governing entry in the Schengen area would apply, which means that, as an Iranian national, you would need a visa in any event.

I would definitely check all this with the airline, airport and Italian consulate as soon as possible.

PS: My initial answer was somewhat imprecise as there is a distinction between a short-stay visa for transit purposes and an airport transit visa. Briefly, being a US resident exempts you from the airport transit visa requirement to which other Iranian citizens are subjected but not from a regular Schengen visa when needed (e.g. if you need to enter the Schengen area of the airport, stay in a hotel for the night, travel by train, etc.).

  • Otherwise +1, but why the line in bold? If you have two non-Schengen flights from the same terminal, you can almost certainly transit without visa; the problem in the OP's case is that he has to take a domestic flight between them. Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 11:15
  • @jpatokal Note that I did not write it was impossible either, just that you cannot rely on the fact that they depart from the same terminal to determine if transit without visa is indeed possible (OK, there was a double or triple negation in there so probably not the best way to put it but at least I think that this is what I wrote ;-). I tried to clarify a little. I tried to highlight this point because it seems to be what led the OP astray.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 12:34
  • Thanks! It makes sense now whay I need the transit visa.
    – user31208
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 17:09

Yes, you really need a full Schengen visa. This page from the French foreign ministry explains it well:

You may need to leave the International Zone :

  • because you need to change airports ;
  • or for any other reason. In all these cases, you enter the Schengen Area, and, unless you are exempt from short-stay visa requirements, you must apply in advance for an entry and stay visa in order to transit through France.

The same rules apply to Italy, which is also in Schengen. See also: Is a Schengen visa/transit visa required for a transit flight through two Schengen airports?

  • +1 Our answers basically agree but note that the page you quote explicitly says that you need an entry and stay visa, not an airport transit visa.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 15:21
  • 1
    Thanks @jpatokal! So I would have this problem in any Schengen country. I wish I had picked Turkey for my connections.
    – user31208
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 17:16
  • @Annoyed, you're absolutely right, fixed. Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 22:05

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