I'll be traveling to Germany this May and my planes would arrive at 4 May 20.30 at Frankfurt Airport but the Schengen visa that I received is valid only at 5 May.

Is it possible to enter if it's only a few hours before the day change? Or do I have to wait until day change in the transit area?

Another thing, would the airline rejected me from boarding the plane?


3 Answers 3


For the first point, it will really depend on the immigration officer. Arrival at 20:30 means presenting your papers at 21-22:00 depending on the lineup. They might consider that you won't get to your hotel before nearly midnight, or they might say "have a seat".

For the second point, I think there is a very high chance the airline will deny boarding. They get large fines for bringing passengers without proper permissions and are often pickier than the immigration agents.

  • 19
    Agree with this. The immigration officer can simply tell you to wait, or even be lenient, but the airline is the bigger problem here. It may be worth contacting them to check what their policy is.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 13:12
  • 1
    Agreed. Though even contacting them on their policy might still mean you're left to the whims of those that check you in.
    – MastaBaba
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 13:15
  • 7
    @MarkMayo and who would take the responsability of putting such a thing in writing?
    – o0'.
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 16:06
  • 9
    There is also the problem that Frankfurt doesn't have flights at night (11pm-5pm). So they may actually expect parts of the terminal to be empty even prior to midnight, which makes it difficult to wait before going through immigration as security officers may ask you to leave.
    – DCTLib
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 16:41
  • 1
    indeed. Had that at Heathrow when our flight out was canceled after all the immigration staff had gone home because no more incoming flights were coming. They had to recall staff who'd already gone home to process us as we were herded out of the terminal to a hotel.
    – jwenting
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 4:51

Entering into the country is completely different from entering into the airport, Airport is just a transit area and you can be in airport without holding that country's visa i.e. while transiting. Entering the country means passing the immigration desk and need valid visa. And, your visa gets valid after couple of hours from the time you reach. It matters what time you pass the immigration check not what time you arrived at airport.

You can reach that country without any problem and simply walk to the immigration officer and explain your situation. In most cases he should agree but be sure, give a valid and genuine reason with pleading manner and you should be fine. In worst case scenario he may ask you to wait for couple more hours to let you into the country.

Immigration cannot deny your entry for this kind of reasons. Yeah, sometimes these airways can be hassle, but as long as you got a visa they cannot deny boarding the plane.

  • 1
    I think you misunderstood the question. The OP pretty clearly wants to enter the country. Also, immigration can deny you entry fo rnot having a valid visa at the time - it's about one of the most common reasons they have! And airlines can deny you boarding for almost any reason they want (we've had a feq questions here from say, Indian citizens who ahd the correct paperwork but were still denied boarding)
    – CMaster
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 10:43
  • This answer is fundamentally wrong. Entering an airport is entering the country. Sure, you might not require a visa to transit, but that is because the country has decided that people who are only transiting don't need visas and not because transiting somehow isn't "entering the country". You can see this from the fact that many countries actually do require visas for people who are transiting. But all of this is irrelevant, since the asker isn't transiting: they are visiting. They can absolutely be denied boarding by the airline if their visa is not yet valid. Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 16:58

You don't specify which nationality you have, which would be helpful in this case. You could arrive earlier and enter with a tourist visa, assuming that your nationality would let you enter as a tourist without needing a visa.

If that's not the case, and your visa is in fact a tourist visa, you can always wait in the airport before "entering" the territory. As everybody knows, an airport is a transit area, it's not officially the country until you pass the border control.

I have been backpacking and traveling the world for three years and I never experienced an airline asking me to see a visa for a country I was traveling to. That's not their issue, it's the destination country's issue. As a matter of fact, the airline doesn't loose anything if you travel without the visa because you are paying for the flight. Let's theoretically use a worst case scenario and let's assume you would be denied the access to your destination country: in that case you would have to pay the flight back. The airline wins in both cases, so they don't loose anything letting you travel. Don't be afraid.

  • This has multiple problems; most fundamentally that the airline won't try to examine your travel papers.
    – Marcin
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 16:17
  • 7
    Can't comment on how often it happens in practice, but airlines are in fact supposed to check if you can enter your destination. They can be fined if they didn't and you are subsequently refused entry. They can also be forced to carry you back to your point of departure, even if you cannot pay for the flight. So they do stand to lose a bit of money in all this.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 18:06
  • 1
    Here some links: immi.gov.au/faqs/Pages/… aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/internationalTravel/main.jsp If you don't have your valid travel documents for the destination country and/or transit points, you won't be able to travel.. @user2089160 Maybe you never had that issue because you actually had permission to enter the destination country. This is why you can't check in into international flight with a driver license.
    – Vitalik
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 13:19
  • 2
    @user2089160 It necessarily happens more frequently to people who need visas in the first place. If you have US or Western European passport, merely holding this passport means you can enter many places so the airline/ground handling personnel does not need anything else and know you are OK merely by looking at the cover, which is why you might not even notice they routinely have to check visas.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 20:36
  • 1
    "As everybody knows, an airport is a transit area, it's not officially the country until you pass the border control." Everybody doesn't know that because it's simply not true. You are absolutely in the country from the second you touch down. Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 17:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .