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I am travelling from Hong Kong (HKG) to London Heathrow (LHR) via AMS and have some questions.

  1. Will 1 hr 25 mins be enough for transit?
  2. In case I miss my connecting flight and have to stay overnight at AMS, is there a limit on how long a Chinese (PRC) passport holder can stay in the transit area?
  3. Will I pass passport check at AMS?
  • When I went through Schipol it was the best, fastest connection I had. Why? They did not have repeated cumbersome security & baggage checking for In Transit passengers unlike CDG, which I still hate. A well designed airport to get around unlike CDG. This was my experience several times during 2004-07. I doubt the Dutch would mess it up – Alex S Dec 13 '16 at 13:04
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As a Chinese citizen, you don't need to have a visa for airside transit anywhere in the Schengen area, including Schiphol. That's assuming your luggage is checked through (so you don't have to pick it up and recheck it).

In principle, you should not have to go through passport control but spot checks are always possible and the only time I experienced that at Schiphol was in fact after a flight from Hong Kong. With a full 747 to process, it did create delays, especially for third-country nationals (EU passport holders were asked to come to the front of the queue first). Other than that the airport is very efficient and 1:25 is tight but perfectly doable.

Beyond that, the expectation is that you would be booked on the next flight to your destination and stay at most a day or so but I don't think there is any explicit threshold and that only applies to scheduled flight times. If the airline was willing to sell the ticket and you happen to miss your flight, you would not be breaking any rules by staying more than 24 hours to wait for the next available flight.

In practice, staying airside for a long time is no problem at Schiphol, the airport is open 24/7 and there are even two hotels directly within the terminal you could go to without leaving the transit area.

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Visa wise, according to Timatic:

Netherlands - Transit Visa

Visa required.

The following are exempt from holding a visa:

Passengers with a Hong Kong (SAR China) passport for a maximum stay of 90 days.

Passengers with a Macao (SAR China) passport for a maximum stay of 90 days.

Transiting without a visa is possible for:

Holders of onward tickets transiting by the same or first connecting aircraft

Are you on a single ticket from HKG-LHR? If so, you'll be rebooked automatically if you miss the connection.

As for Schiphol Airport itself, since you'll be arriving from a non-Schengen country and leaving to a non-Schengen country, you'll be arriving in either Terminal 2 or 3 and leaving from one of those 2 terminals also. (these two are connected airside). These terminals are open 24h, and you should have no problem spending the night there, and if you want, you could go and sleep in one of the airside hotels.

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  • It is on a single ticket. However, I don't have either a Hong Kong Passport or Macau Passport. I only have a Chinese Passport which is for citizens of Mainland China. Does visa exemption still apply in this case? – user43146 Dec 13 '16 at 8:08
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    @BrianYang In that case, the final sentence applies to you -- you won't need a visa if you connect on the next available flight to your destination (though you won't be able to leave the airport without a valid Schengen visa). If you miss your connection, you'll be rebooked on the then next available flight, so I don't foresee any problems there. – EMotion Dec 13 '16 at 8:19
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We have done a 21 hour layover airside at Schipol, so simply staying overnight is within time limits.

We stayed at the Mercure Hotel in Terminal 3, decent room and price is on average for in terminal hotels.

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  1. Yes, if the plane is on time it should be enough. Otherwise the airline will take care of you because you have a single ticket

  2. There is no set time limit in the Netherlands; you simply need to get the first connecting aircraft to your destination (as stated in Timatic, the database used by airlines).

  3. No, you're not entering the Netherlands, and unlike in China this means no passport control.

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