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I have a D-type multiple-entry visa, issued by France (I am a student): I also have the French resident card (Titre de Sejour) to go along with it, and I have already entered and been living in France on it. Recently, I went out of Europe and I was coming to Norway to visit a friend, taking the flight from Beijing. The airline's people however did not let me board the flight, as according to them I have to always travel to France first and that I could never go to another Schengen country directly. I thought that very illogical and the day being a Sunday, I could not get in touch with any consular authorities to help me and had to change my ticket (with a hefty cost, of course).

Now, my question to fellow travellers and expats is: is there really some rule like this? So, every time I fly to Schengen space, unless I am transiting, I have to fly to France?

  • Sometimes airline personnel get confused, or unintentionally over zealous. Based on what you wrote, they were citing from "C" rules and should have been looking at "D" rules. Water over the dam. Horse has bolted. Spilt milk, etc – Gayot Fow Aug 4 '15 at 16:08
  • I did show them the "D" rules again and again on IATA's website itself: they just refused. I also showed them that what they are quoting are the "C" rules, but when they are just not issuing the boarding pass, what could I do? Thanks for your confirmation that they did a very bad thing. – greatbears Aug 6 '15 at 7:21
  • Sometimes they get it wrong, there was another case yesterday like yours. I can put my thoughts into a formal answer if it will help you or others. But overall, sometimes you have to be confronted with bad decisions. – Gayot Fow Aug 6 '15 at 10:03
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    Also, this question is not about a Schengen visa. It turns out that long-stay visa holders have more extensive rights than Schengen visa holders but that's not trivial or a priori obvious. There could also be some other regulation governing long-stay visas, with more restrictive conditions or something like that. – Relaxed Aug 19 '15 at 18:56
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There is definitely no rule like that. A Schengen visa can be used to enter any Schengen country, not only the country that issued it (see Should my first trip be to the country which issued my Schengen Visa?).

Furthermore, article 5 of the Schengen Borders code on “entry conditions for third country nationals” provides that:

For intended stays on the territory of the Member States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period, which entails considering the 180-day period preceding each day of stay, the entry conditions for third-country nationals shall be the following:

[…]

(b) they are in possession of a valid visa, if required pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement ( 18 ), except where they hold a valid residence permit or a valid long-stay visa;

A long-stay visa like yours is therefore a kind of “drop-in” replacement for a Schengen visa. It exempts you from the Schengen visa requirement without adding any other condition. Legally speaking, you are effectively in the same situation than someone who does not need a visa in the first place.

Furthermore, the same article also includes this:

  1. By way of derogation from paragraph 1:

(a) third-country nationals who do not fulfil all the conditions laid down in paragraph 1 but who hold a residence permit or a long-stay visa shall be authorised to enter the territory of the other Member States for transit purposes so that they may reach the territory of the Member State which issued the residence permit or the long-stay visa, unless their names are on the national list of alerts of the Member State whose external borders they are seeking to cross and the alert is accompanied by instructions to refuse entry or transit;

That is, far from forbidding it, the Borders code explicitly envisions that someone with a residence permit could enter “other Member States” and even exempts residence permit holders from some requirements in that case so that it's actually easier for them than for visa holders.

So ground handling personnel was simply wrong, no doubt about that. But that's one of these situations where you are at the mercy of the person in charge of enforcing the rules.

Unfortunately, your recourses are very limited. Conceivably, you could start some sort of civil lawsuit against the airline and/or ground handling company and demand that they cover all the costs you incurred but that seems very uncertain and not worth the trouble. Alternatively, as suggested in a comment, a polite request to the airline's customer service might get you some goodwill gesture and help them revise their procedures.

Your idea to try to shame them on social media is also a good one. One regular user here has had much success with this strategy (specifically on Twitter), airlines are often keen to avoid bad publicity and more responsive that way.

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    @pnuts Indeed, I assumed the OP already tried that and was asking about something more “robust” but upon re-reading the question, I realize there was no reason for this assumption. – Relaxed Aug 19 '15 at 18:51
  • @Relaxed I did contact the airline, but they seem unwilling to compensate for it. I am weighing up my options, as it seems very bizarre to me that just because of ground staff's ignorance, I should suffer. Maybe I should go to press or social media? Would complaining with IATA help in such a case? – greatbears Sep 9 '15 at 6:01
  • @greatbears Starting with Twitter is an idea, they are sometimes more reactive that way. – Relaxed Sep 9 '15 at 6:34
  • @greatbears I added a link and some more details about something I only alluded to before. – Relaxed Sep 9 '15 at 6:41

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