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My wife is a citizen of Russia holding a Canadian Permanent Resident Visa. Right now she is temporarily in Russia. Soon we are meeting for a vacation in the Dominican Republic. We are choosing flight options and one attractive option is via Air Berlin… however…

The outbound flight originates in Moscow and lands in Munich, where she then transfers onto a second flight to Punta Cana. Her return flight originating in Punta Cana lands in Dusseldorf, where she then transfers onto a second flight to Moscow.

The question is, do either of these airports have 'visa free' transit areas for travellers changing flights? In the past she has flown through Frankfurt without issues. Just wondering if Munich and Dusseldorf are set up the same? If not, does a Russian citizen holding a Canadian Permanent Residency Card get exempted from possible German transit visa requirements?

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Munich is not a problem at all, Düsseldorf seems a bit trickier, according to the German Missions in the US:

Munich (open 24 hours)

Düsseldorf (6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. only) and if the airline has arranged the transit beforehand with the authorities responsible for cross-border security (the Federal Police)

Russian citizens don't need a visa to transit airside and if it weren't the case, a Canadian residence permit would exempt her of the transit visa requirement anyway so no problem here. On the other hand, she cannot go landside (which means she cannot pick up her language, switch airports or anything like that). So if there is no transit area, an airport transit visa is of no use and a regular Schengen visa is needed.

See Do I need a visa to transit (or layover) in the Schengen area? for all the details.

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