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I am a Finnish citizen. I'm used to travelling only within the Schengen Area and/or EU, and I'm able to do it with my Finnish National ID card. I haven't even bothered to get an expensive passport, as there's never been need for it.

Now I almost by accident, booked a flight from Finland (HEL) to Cyprus (LCA) that had a connecting flight in Boryspil, Kyiv, Ukraine (KBP).

Do I have to get a passport to get to my connecting flight at Boryspil, if I never leave the terminal and stay within the "international area"? I'm only trying to get from Finland to Cyprus, and have no need to cross the Ukrainian border at Boryspil.

I got this answer from Ukraine International Airlines:

**ADMISSION AND TRANSIT RESTRICTIONS:

  • TRANSIT REFUSED TO HOLDERS OF NATIONAL ID CARDS ISSUED TO NATIONALS OF FINLAND.
  • EXCEPT WHEN TRANSITING THROUGH KIEV BORYSPIL (KBP) ON UKRAINE INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES (PS).**

I interpreted their answer like this: I'm able to travel without a passport, if I just stay within the terminal and do not cross the border.

I just want to be 100 % sure, that is there a possibility, that at one of these three airports someone denies me boarding to a plane that's going to or leaving Boryspil, even though my destination and original departing country are within EU and/or Schengen Area?

  • As long as you don't clear border control (i.e. don't leave the 'airside' part of the airport) that's usually considered to be 'transiting'. – DJClayworth Sep 23 '15 at 14:30
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    One of the conditions is to use Ukraine International Airlines. Are you booked on their plane(s)? – Andrew Leach Sep 23 '15 at 14:34
  • @AndrewLeach All my flights are booked on Ukraine International Airlines. – Joonas Sep 23 '15 at 14:37
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    The answer from Ukraine Airlines seems pretty clear. What is there about it that you are not sure of? – DJClayworth Sep 23 '15 at 15:51
  • @DJClayworth I am afraid of running into an incompetent handling agent at one of these airports, who is unaware of this exception and wont let me board the plane with only a Finnish ID-card. Maybe I'm just overreacting. The last email I got states that this exception can be found on the "Travel Information Manual (TIM) and TIMATIC". So I guess I should be fine, if I just know how to explain the situation at the airport. – Joonas Sep 23 '15 at 16:00
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Old post, but will answer anyway: the outbound trip (HEL-KBP-LCA) is not doable with a Finnish ID Card, whereas the return trip (LCA-KBP-HEL) is

Why? The answer is that Finnish border guards won't allow Finnish citizens to board a plane to a country located outside both the EU and Schengen (in this case Ukraine). This is due to Finnish law, which states Finnish ID cards are only valid in the EU and Schengen. Meaning: although the CEFTA states and Georgia would let you in, and Ukraine would let you transit airside, Finnish border guards wouldn't let you board a direct flight to these destinations.

We have the same kind of law in Sweden for Swedish citizens, so back when I still lived at home I'd always book outbound flights to Belgrade/Pristina/Skopje via Copenhagen or Oslo rather than flying direct.

One option, if in this situation, is to book a fully refundable ticket to a non-Schengen EU country, print out the boarding pass and cancel the booking. Then you can tell immigration you're going to your "fake" destination, and (if requested) show the "fake" boarding pass. Did this at ARN as a Swede in December 2016 with success

  • What about non-Finnish EU citizens? Would they be allowed to pass through exit immigration at HEL with an ID card? – neo Jul 1 '16 at 23:58
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    @neo Yes they would. A Swedish citizen can do it at HEL, while a Finnish citizen can do it at ARN (Stockholm) – Crazydre Jul 2 '16 at 8:17
  • How do the Finnish border guards know which plane you’re on? Do they ask you? Do they require to see your boarding pass? At HEL, you could just be on a flight bound for London afaict. – Jan Jan 19 '17 at 13:28
  • @Jan The one time I went through at HEL, they did indeed ask for my boarding pass (to Kiev, but they didn't raise an eyebrow, either because they weren't aware of the rule, or because I'm Swedish). At ARN, they verbally ask, and may want the boarding pass, depending on who you speak to. In my case, verbally lying about my destination was enough (I said Manchester, although I was actually headed for Belgrade), but having that "fake" boarding pass was good as a backup – Crazydre Jan 20 '17 at 2:24
  • @Jan Also, although irrelevant, many agents at ARN seem to believe that Swedish IDs are actually accepted nowhere but in the EU and Schengen. When arriving at ARN once from Chisinau via Kiev, I chose to be a b*tch and presented my boarding pass. The guy, literally cold-sweating, kept on saying "what do you mean, the Moldovans actually let you in with this!?". Had to stop myself from laughing whilst saying "Of course!". He was unable to grasp it at first, finally shaking his head and saying "so let me get this straight, you literally have no passport on you?" to which I said "no". Done – Crazydre Jan 20 '17 at 2:25
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Someone at Ukraine International Airlines obviously knows about a rule that allows you to undertake this trip with your national ID card. The response appears to be quite official, so you should be fine. However:

Is there a possibility that at one of these three airports someone denies me boarding to a plane that's going to or leaving Boryspil, even though my destination and original departing country are within EU and/or Schengen Area?

Of course. Anything is possible. In particular, it is possible that the person checking you in, or accepting your boarding pass at the gate, is unfamiliar with this rule. This would be more likely if that person is not an employee of Ukraine International Airlines, which in turn is more likely at the Helsinki or Cyprus airport.

To mitigate the risk associated with that possibility, bring a copy of the answer you received from the airline, so you can show it if anyone tries to deny boarding.

  • Someone at Ukraine International Airlines obviously knows about a rule that allows you to undertake this trip with your national ID card - One can only assume... – Karlson Sep 23 '15 at 15:56
  • +1, I don't know the rule in question, but the recommendation to print out a copy deserves an up vote. – Gayot Fow Sep 23 '15 at 16:00
  • @Karlson it's not an assumption; it is a fact supported by the evidence that someone at Ukraine International Airlines sent a message describing the rule. – phoog Sep 23 '15 at 20:09
  • @phoog It's what Timatic says but you have to assume that the person at the counter or in Boryspil actually read the damn thing. ;) – Karlson Sep 23 '15 at 20:19
  • @Karlson True. I assume that having sent the information in response to the OP's inquiry implies that the person sending the information understood its meaning, but I could well be wrong. – phoog Sep 23 '15 at 20:25

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