I have a single-entry Schengen tourism visa from the Greek embassy, Greece and will be traveling to Athens. However, I have a flight afterwards from Athens to Germany (Cologne) with Pegasus airlines with a connection in Istanbul Sabiha Airport.

My question is, will I face any problems when entering Germany since my visa is only single-entry? My flight from Athens to Cologne is only connecting in Istanbul for an hour; I will not be checking in at Istanbul. Or will my flight from Athens to Cologne be considered as within the Schengen area since Istanbul is only for a connection at the same airport and with the same airline?

  • 6
    Pegasus airlines should not let you board the flight to Germany. Knowing that and/or not being aware of your flight to Germany, the operator of the first flight could also deny you boarding as you need to be entitled to enter Turkey, which depending on your citizenship and Turkish rules might require a visa or electronic authorisation or possibly proof of onward travel (and your flight to Germany won't count as proof of onward travel because at this point you would not have a valid visa to enter the Schengen area anymore).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 15:05
  • @Relaxed, not sure how Pegasus would know that the visa has actually been used? Would they check for entry/exit stamps? Of course, even if the airline lets OP fly to Germany, they will have a problem at immigration there.
    – jcaron
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 15:56
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    @jcaron I am not sure how thoroughly they typically check and what the consequences would be if they did not (they are definitely liable to transport the OP back to the departure point but might also be fined) but yes the only way to see whether a visa has been used is to check the stamps (also for border guards).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 18:36
  • @Relaxed, I would expect border guards to have access to an information system that has details of visas and whether they have been used or not, don't they?
    – jcaron
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 23:27
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    @jcaron No, they don't, even though there are plans underway to introduce one. What they do have at the moment is a database of all visas (so they can see if a visa has been cancelled for example, but not whether it's been used or not).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 6:02

1 Answer 1


Yes. Istanbul is not in the Schengen area, so your flight there from Athens is an "external" flight. To board it, you have to pass through Greek exit controls, at which point your single-entry visa will be used up.

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    Can you provide a citation to support that this is actually the correct answer i.e. that a connecting flight counts as exiting and re-entering? (I'm not disputing that it is correct, it would just be nice to have it backed up).
    – JBentley
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 8:50
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    @JBentley It does not matter - you still depart from Athens on an "international" (in this case meaning non-Schengen) flight. Whenever you exit a country (the "country" being the Schengen Area" you get stamped out, meaning a visa entry will be used up). Same Thing with the LAN flights Frankfurt-Madrid-Santiago. If you travel between Germany and Spain on it, you'll Need to clear immigration, because there's no way of segregating passengers on the same plane
    – Crazydre
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 9:27
  • @Crazydre sorry if off-topic here, does that imply one could not take said LAN flight Frankfurt -> Madrid on a single-entry Schengen visa?
    – mts
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 15:00
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    @JBentley I am not sure what citation to provide or where to look for one. Official information notes solely that a single-entry visa is good for one entry. The first flight leg will be an external flight because it lands in Istanbul. Every passenger on that flight has to pass through Greek exit controls, for reasons noted by Crazydre. The first flight therefore counts as an exit from the Schengen area, even if the traveler never passes through another country's immigration controls.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 16:12
  • @mts Correct...
    – Crazydre
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 18:20

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