What will happen if I were to go to the airport on my last day of my Schengen visa, I get to the airport, and my flight is not canceled. I go through security and immigration. I get to my gate and my flight is canceled. Since I am through the gate and immigration am I still in the "Schengen Area"?

And would I be able to go to the main terminal?

What would happen to the exit stamp, since it is then unvalid?

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    This isn't a duplicate because I am asking about after you get through security and have the exited stamp on your passport.
    – OmamArmy
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 10:46
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    I don't see how that makes any difference. The answer was that you should contact the border authorities immediately and surely that still applies. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 10:49
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    relevant : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_who_have_lived_at_airports (ie, when some bad combination of events happens, you could end up stuck in the "international zone" ... better take a few days advance than try your luck ?) Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 13:24
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    That depends. Are you a citizen of Krakozhia?
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 6:14
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    Regarding the exit stamp, if your visa allows it, the logical solution is to simply give you another entry stamp. There is no rule against entering and leaving multiple times on the same day. But there is actually a procedure to cancel an exit stamp if need be (say a border guard made a genuine mistake for someone who has a single entry visa). And of course, as others have pointed out, in such an unusual situation, it's not unthinkable that border guards would simply ignore the rules and wave you through or stamp your passport even if your visa technically does not allow it.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 16:35

5 Answers 5


Each airport and airline handles it differently.

I encountered it once and the airline provided accommodation at a nearby hotel. Those of us who could enter the country did so. Those that could not were escorted through immigration in a group and had their passports held. The doorman at the hotel wouldn't let you out unless you had your passport. The next day we were escorted back to the airport.

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    "The doorman at the hotel wouldn't let you out" what kind of authority did this doorman hold? Not that I would try to leave without a passport but if I did I wouldn't expect the doorman to be able to stop me.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 12:19
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    @DasBeasto - A doorman has as much "authority" as a bouncer at a club or other security staff. And if he has been instructed by Immigration to hold people there, he has the weight of the national government behind his "authority".
    – user13044
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 12:43
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    Perhaps the hotel was, in effect, serving as a temporary immigration detention center, and the doorman as a detention center guard. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 13:16
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    @Tom The way EU law works, you would need a rule to allow it. By default, if you require a visa, you cannot enter without a visa and member states cannot arbitrarily ignore the Schengen regulations just because they feel like it. I detailed the rules designed to give them an out in my answer.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 13:56
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    I think it's more likely the doorman simply informs you that you are not allowed to leave, and that if you insist on leaving there will be a phone call, the arrival of police or border guards, your arrest and banning from the country. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 17:25

I've directly observed this before, in Germany.

Passengers who needed visas due to force majeure were issued 24-hour Schengen visas at the consular office inside the Frankfurt airport.

There is a duplicate answer with citations from the Schengen Code here.

  • +1, thanks for the first-hand report, very useful! There is a slight difference in this question, the OP has already exhausted the 90-day maximum stay allowance, which would technically prevent Germany from extending the visa under article 33.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 4:34
  • Oh I see that someone edited that out!
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 4:37
  • @Relaxed It's quite possible that the border guards will simply ignore the rule and issue the visa anyway
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 6:16

In a sense you still are, you are on the territory of a Schengen country, its law fully applies, if you did anything that would justify it, you could be arrested by the police, etc. The airport, even the area after the exit passport check is not some sort of extraterritorial area out of reach of the country's laws.

That said, if you stay airside in the sterile departure area, I don't see how you could possibly be deemed to have breached the conditions of your visa. You already have an exit stamp with the proper date and would not have any problems the next time you applied for a visa or enter the Schengen area. If the airports has such facilities, you should press the airlines to offer you lounge access or an airside hotel room to wait for the next flight.

Now, if you need to go through the passport check again, say, to spend the night outside of the airport or catch a plane at another airport in the vicinity, things become more complicated. There is a provision to extend a Schengen visa (article 33 of the visa code) if you have a serious reason but my reading of the regulation is that this is in principle only possible if the new stay would not lead you to exceed the global 90-day limit for short stays in the Schengen area.

If someone needs to stay longer than that, member states still have the possibility to issue a “limited territoriality visa” (article 25) and they may in any case issue a visa at the border (article 35). Both of these are intended as exceptional procedures but the authorities have some leeway in judging what's an exceptional case. Combining articles 25 and 35 would therefore seem to be a fully legal way to grant you some more time in the country where you presently are, at the cost of a bit of paperwork and possibly a fee.

I can also imagine that some border guards would be confused about all this and I am not entirely sure that it would happen smoothly.

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    Once the OP has passed immigration he's out of the country for immigration purposes. The worst that can happen is he won't be allowed out of the sterile area. In that case it's the airline's responsibility to provide him accommodation and food-.
    – user58558
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 10:44
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    @greatone Isn't that what I just wrote?
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 11:19
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    Depending on the airport that could be amazingly crazy. Berlin (Tegel) has sterile areas that serve only ONE GATE - so he would have pretty much have to exit it for the next boarding to be processed, and there is like a 99% chance the replacement flight would start from another gate.
    – TomTom
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 12:10
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    @GiacomoCatenazzi Says who?
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 13:54
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    Another possible justification would be that the definition of the 90/180 rule in Article 6(1) reads: "For intended stays on the territory of the Member States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period ..." (emphasis added). If the traveler didn't at any time intend to stay beyond 90 days but were forced to do so by circumstances out of his control, it is not obvious that the rule actually applies. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 16:31

This has happened to me personally, you either get a 24 hour temp visa or they escort to a hotel at the airport and back again the next day, both happened to me, FWIW other countries mostly do the same it happened to me in china and in Australia as well, as long as you go with the airline staff to immigrations they will sort you out


Ok first of all while leaving a country you do not go through immigration you go through security check. Big difference.

The security check is to check for hazardous materials in your possession before you get on a plane.

Immigration is to check for your visa and stamp on your passport that marks the date of entry into the country. Which basically says you're here legally.

That being said:

Airport terminals have different rules. Some require transit visas if you're changing terminals as you will be leaving the international zone. Some don't need you to have a transit visa as long as your departure gate is in the same terminal.

If your flight gets canceled and if you're told you will be given a hotel to stay, it is your duty to mention to them that your visa will expire as of 00:00 midnight.

You will either be given a transit visa for 3 to 4 days or you will be taken to a waiting lounge that has beds so you can sleep. Use airline lounges restroom to shower etc. I have had a 21hr layover in France and they said since I have a residence permit in Germany I can go out if I wish or stay in the lounge.

EU laws are relaxed unlike the US or UK but they wouldn't let you leave an area by that I mean they won't hold you hostage it's just that to leave that area you have to go through immigration. The route is designed that way.

Without a valid visa, you will not be allowed to leave the terminal and you will be sent back to where you were so you can catch a flight and go home.

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    "while leaving a country you do not go through immigration you go through security check. Big difference.". Wrong, in most countries you do clear Immigration on Exit. The UK and the US are among a few exceptions
    – Crazydre
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 17:24
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    @Crazydre I guess technically you could call it "Emigration" instead of "Immigration" :)
    – Calchas
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 11:54
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    @Crazydre: add Canada to the list, but I agree that the list is very short. Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 13:56
  • @Crazydre: Interesting! I'm Canadian, and I thought that was the rule, not the exception, and it clears up a related question I had.
    – user42547
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 0:07
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    @Mehrdad Ireland and Mexico, for example
    – Crazydre
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 1:58

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