How Do Layovers Work?
Layovers can be stressful. Whenever possible, I prefer nonstop flights, even if they’re a little more expensive. But sometimes the price difference is too big to justify, and sometimes it’s just not possible to get where you’re going without a connecting flight. So how do layovers work? What happens with your checked luggage on a layover? Do you have to go through customs and immigration if you’re only in the airport for a layover? Here’s everything you need to know about layovers and how layovers work to help make your journey a little less stressful.
How do boarding passes work with layovers?
Domestic layovers are usually pretty simple. Whether you’re flying within the US, Australia, Canada, or somewhere else, domestic layovers are relatively similar.
Assuming you booked both flights together on one itinerary (as opposed to two separate itineraries) you will get both boarding passes when you check in for your first flight. When you land at your layover airport, you need to look at the departures board and find the gate for your next flight.
International layovers can get a little more tricky. With so many variations of international layovers, there are also a variety of situations you could end up dealing with.
If your itinerary is entirely with one airline or even two airlines that are partners, in most cases, you will get both boarding passes when you check in for your first flight.
But if you used a booking engine and your flights are with two different airlines, especially airlines that aren’t really partners, you might only get your first boarding pass when you check in.
Then, at your layover airport, you’ll have to find a ticket counter for the airline that operates the second flight to get your second boarding pass.
Not sure if your flights are with partner airlines? Just ask at the ticket counter when you check in if you will be getting both boarding passes or if you will need to get the second one at your layover airport. They’ll tell you what to do.
>>Check out these layover perks you never knew about.
What happens with checked luggage on a layover?
For domestic layovers, your checked luggage will be tagged to your final destination, so there’s nothing for you to do while on your layover. Your bags will get taken off the first flight and loaded onto the second flight.
For international layovers, this varies depending on the airport and the country where your layover is.
If you fly from somewhere outside the US or Canada to an airport in the US or Canada, you will have to collect and recheck your luggage no matter where you’re going on your second flight.
In most other countries, as long as both of your flights are on the same airline or partner airlines, your luggage will get transferred from the first to the second flight for you.
Again, if you’re not sure, just ask the agent when you’re checking in if you will need to collect and recheck your luggage at your layover airport.
Avoid luggage worries by learning how to pack light and travel carry-on only! Check out the best carry-on luggage.
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Do you have to go through border control/immigration and customs on a layover?
This only applies for international layovers. Whether you have to go through immigration and customs really varies on the airport and the country.
As with checked luggage, if you have a layover in the US or Canada, you will have to go through border control at the first point of entry into the US or Canada, even if your final destination is somewhere else.
So for example, if you are flying from Europe to Mexico with a layover in the US or Canada, you will have to get your passport checked and fill out the customs form, as well as collect and recheck your luggage, even though you’re not staying in the country or even leaving the airport.
You are a transit passenger if you are not leaving the airport and not staying in that country. In this case, you often don’t have to go through immigration or customs. Look for a sign that says transit or transit passengers or transfer or connecting flights.
I’ve been able to do this in many airports, such as Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and Bangkok, and there are many more. If you don’t go through border control, you’re not technically entering that country.
However, if you have a really long layover and you want to go check out the city, you will have to go through immigration and customs in order to leave the airport.
Transiting through the Schengen Zone
Transiting through the Schengen Zone can be a little different since a flight from one Schengen country to another is considered domestic.
So for example, if you’re flying from the US to Paris and then onto Rome, you will go through immigration and customs in Paris but not in Rome.
If you have two layovers, it gets even trickier.
Let’s say you’re flying from the US to Frankfurt to Rome to Istanbul. When you arrive in Frankfurt, you will have to go through border control.
This is because domestic flights, which includes your flight from Frankfurt to Rome, are in a different section of the airport, so you’re leaving the international section and entering Germany, even though you’re not leaving the airport.
You won’t go through border control to enter Italy because you were already cleared in Frankfurt. But you will have to go through passport control in Rome to be stamped out of the Schengen Zone, and you’ll go through customs and immigration in Istanbul since Turkey is outside of the Schengen Zone.
It’s usually pretty obvious once you arrive. When you get off the plane, look for signs that say transit, transfer, or connecting flights. If you don’t see any, and the only option leads you to a passport check line, then you really don’t have a choice.
If you want to know ahead of time, ask the agent when you check in, or even one of the flight attendants on your first flight, if you will have to go through immigration and customs on your layover.
Do you have to go through security on your layover?
Like most things, this varies on the airport. The simple answer is you will probably have to go through security.
For most domestic layovers, you won’t have to go through security again. However, some airports have separate security checkpoints for each terminal, so if you land in one terminal and your next flight is in another, you would have to go through security again.
On international layovers, even those where there is a transit area, you will most likely have to go through security.
Some airports in other countries have security checks for each individual gate or a small group of gates. In this case, you will have to go through security again, but it should be a short line.
There’s also the chance your first flight lands in the same area your second flight leaves from, in which case you might be able to stay within the secured area and not have to go through the security check again.
Unfortunately this means any liquids you purchased beyond security at the first airport won’t make it through security at the layover airport.
For a better travel experience, check out these 30 airport hacks every traveler should know from my friend Eden at Mint Notion.
Do you need a transit visa for your layover?
Some countries require certain nationalities to get a transit visa in order to transit through the airport. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s worth researching before you book a flight with a layover, or at least before you board the flight.
For most nationalities, if you have a layover within the Schengen Zone and your final destination is outside of the Schengen Zone, you don’t need a transit visa. Again, verify this for your nationality.
The US requires transit visas for many nationalities, unless your nationality is on the list eligible for the visa waiver program. For more info, see here and here.
Since this is such a complicated area subject to variations based on your nationality, the country you will be transiting through, and how long your layover is, do a few online searches and check the website for the embassy of the country where your layover is to see if you need a transit visa.
If you’re still not sure, it’s also a good idea to check with the airline or even contact the consulate or embassy of the country you will be transiting through before you book your flight.
Whenever possible, I think it’s best to avoid layovers that require transit visas since there’s usually a fee involved. The hassle of filling out an application and paying a fee for a country you’re not even really going to just doesn’t seem worth it.
Make sure your layover is long enough, and don’t let layovers get you stressed out. Hopefully these tips and explanations of how layovers work will help you transit smoothly from one flight to another.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Carry-On Luggage
- 8 Things to do If You Think Your Layover is Too Short
- How to Maximize a Long Layover
- Can I Leave the Airport During a Layover?
August 24, 2019 @ 1:47 am
Thanks so much for helping us all! Unfortunately I am still desperate for an answer because I haven’t come across anyone taking the same exact flight route as myself.
Things to note: I am a US citizen. I will only have a carry on bag. I do not intend on claiming anything. No liquor, food, money, etc. Just the clothes on my back and in my bag.
Now for my bazillion part question:
-I will be flying out from LAX to Munich, Germany with a connecting flight in Warsaw, Poland (1:45 layover.) Where exactly do I do when exiting the plane in Warsaw to get to my connecting flight? Since it’s a connecting flight, is it Transit? Or because I am from the US do I need to go through Immigration and Customs? Is Passport Control the same as Border Control, and are both of those synonymous with Immigration? Do I even have to go through Immigration if I am not bringing anything with me from America other than clothes and the usual?
-When I land in Munich, Germany….now what?
FLIGHT BACK TO US
-I will be flying back to LAX from Munich, Germany, with another connection at the same Warsaw airport, but this time for with 19 hour layover. When my plane lands, and I want to exit the airport what channels do I take? Customs, even if I’m not claiming anything from Germany? Immigration? Again..is immigration the same as passport control? What do I do?
-When I return back to Chopin airport after initially leaving it during the 19 hour layover, in order to get my connecting flight but this time having LEFT the airport, where do I go? What do I do?
This is my entire route and I am soooo lost on how to plan for it because no one can give me actual directions. Thank you SO much for your help!!
August 24, 2019 @ 12:39 pm
Hi Sam! Border control, passport control, immigration…they all basically mean the same thing. You will have to go through immigration in Warsaw, but not Munich. And customs in most places in Europe is simply walking through the green “nothing to declare” door if you have nothing to declare, as opposed to the red “something to declare” door if you do have something to declare. So here’s what you’ll do for your flights:
When you land in Warsaw from the US, you will get off the plane and basically just follow the herd. Poland and Germany are both in the Schengen Zone, and since Warsaw is your point of entry into the Schengen Zone, that’s where you’ll go through immigration. You can follow signs for border control or passport control or something similar, but also almost everyone else on your plane will be going that way and the airport really doesn’t let you accidentally skip passport control, so it’s impossible to miss. Don’t follow the “transfer” signs, those are for people connecting to a non-Schengen country.
At that point, after you’ve gone through passport control and you’re stamped in, find a departures board and look for your flight to Munich to find out what gate number to go to. You might have to go through security again, but you might not have to. It varies by airport, but again, you can’t miss it if you are supposed to go through security because there would be no way to get to your gate otherwise…IF you even do have to go through security. I’ve never flown through Warsaw, so I can’t say for sure.
Your flight from Warsaw to Munich will be very similar to a domestic flight within the US. You don’t need to do anything special when you arrive in Munich. Just follow the signs for baggage claim and exit to get out of the airport. If you’re getting a train into the city, look for the train signs once you’ve passed baggage claim.
Now, for your return flight. Again, Munich to Warsaw will be like a domestic flight. No immigration procedures in Munich. If you’re leaving the airport in Warsaw for your layover, you can simply leave. There is no passport control or customs for flights within the Schengen Zone, like your flight from Germany to Poland. So go check out the city, get some sleep in a hotel, whatever. Make sure you get back to the airport at least 2 hours ahead of your next flight. Once you get back to the Warsaw airport, find your gate on the departures board and start heading that way. You’ll have to go through exiting passport control to get stamped out of the Schengen Zone, and you’ll have to go through security. The airport will be set up so that flights leaving for non-Schengen countries are all in one section, while flights within the Schengen Zone are in another section, so if you’re walking towards your gate/terminal, you pretty much have to go through exiting passport control at some point, no way to accidentally skip it.
Mostly try not to worry. Most of these steps are set up so that you’re forced through. They do it on purpose so you don’t accidentally slip into or out of the country without being checked. I know it all feels complicated if you’ve never done it before, but it’s not so bad. The biggest thing is to make sure you allow plenty of time to get back to the Warsaw airport after your long layover.
If you’re still planning things for your Munich trip, check out our Munich itinerary here. And depending on your timing in Warsaw, check out this fun vodka tour we did in Warsaw.
July 21, 2019 @ 4:25 pm
I have a flight from Lahore to Toronto with a 28 hour layover in Istanbul. I purchased the ticket online via the Turkish airlines website and my entire ticket. (both legs) are via Turkish airlines.
I don’t want to leave the airport during the 28hour layover. Will I still require a visa?
July 22, 2019 @ 10:50 am
Hi Ali! I’m not a visa expert, so I really can’t answer your visa questions. I recommend you check with the Turkish embassy to see if you need a visa for your layover. Look for info about transit visas and see if there’s a time limit since 28 hours is longer than usual for a transit.
July 18, 2019 @ 6:49 am
Im flying into Jamaica meeting up with a friend and then were both flying (same day I flew in) to Panama for a week.. Were then flying back to Jamaica where I will stay for another week or so .Will immigration give me a hard time ?
Not sure -immigrations offices can be difficult at times in Jamaica…
July 18, 2019 @ 1:04 pm
Hi Susan! I’m not sure I understand the concern, but I don’t see why immigration would give you any problems. If you’ve booked two separate flights (one round trip X to Jamaica, one round trip Jamaica to Panama) you might have to go through immigration and get stamped into Jamaica and then go through exiting passport control to get to your next flight to Panama. But it really depends on where the first flight lands and where the next one takes off. If you can check in online ahead of time for the Jamaica to Panama flight and print your boarding pass, you might be able to bypass passport control. Look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and tell your friend to do the same and to meet you at the next gate. Probably depends on how long you have between flights too. But worst case, if you have to go through immigration, it just takes a little more time. If they even ask you anything, it’ll probably just be “why are you here” or “how long are you staying” or something like that, and just answer honestly. You’re not doing anything sketchy, so you should be fine.
July 18, 2019 @ 4:14 am
My friends are on a flight from PRG to OMA via YYZ and ORD with an overnight in ORD. Would their bag be checked all the way to OMA?
July 18, 2019 @ 12:58 pm
Hi Cindy! When you land at an airport in the US from an international flight, you have to go claim your checked luggage before going through customs. Airports have different ways of rechecking your luggage after that, and unfortunately I haven’t flown through ORD. If it’s an airport that makes you go back up to the check-in counter, the airline might not take your luggage that far ahead of your next flight. But if it’s an airport that has a luggage rechecking spot right after customs where everyone can place their bags back on the belt to be rechecked, you’ll be fine. So if you can’t recheck your bags, you’ll need to keep them with you until the ORD-OMA flight opens up to accept checked bags, so if you’re getting a hotel, just take the baggage with you. The airline might be able to tell you if you can recheck your bags immediately or not, so it might be best to contact them and ask.
June 26, 2019 @ 7:35 pm
I’m flying from Vancouver to Dubai with 2 hours layover in Frankfurt, Germany. Do I need a Schengen visa/ Airport transit visa, even though I have a stop-over only?
June 27, 2019 @ 11:57 am
Hi Olivia! It depends on your citizenship, and I’m not a visa expert, so I recommend checking either the German embassy website or the Schengen rules about transiting.
June 24, 2019 @ 9:18 pm
Hii it’s extremely helpful article you have written.
Dose one require transit visa for Malaysia layover?
June 26, 2019 @ 11:49 am
Thanks Kaumil! It depends on your citizenship, so I recommend looking at the Malaysia embassy website and searching for info about transit visas.
June 14, 2019 @ 12:48 am
I have flight from taipei to vancouver and lay over for 12 hours at vancouver before domestic flight what will i do with my luggage thank you
June 14, 2019 @ 4:33 pm
You will probably have to claim your checked luggage when you arrive in Vancouver, so if your airline will re-check it that far ahead of your next flight, that’s your best option. But you’ll need to ask the airline what their policy is for long layovers like yours. If you can’t recheck it until closer to your flight, there’s some info here about where to store your luggage at the airport.
May 29, 2019 @ 2:08 am
I love your site! Very helpful. If I am flying from Japan back home to the United States and landing in Dallas Texas and then have a connecting flight to my home city, in Albuquerque where will I go through customs? Will i have to collect all of my checked luggage for customs to go through it and then resubmit it for the connecting flight? I am a citizen of the USA
May 31, 2019 @ 10:39 am
Thanks Rebecca! You’ll have to go through US immigration and customs procedures when you land in Dallas. That includes having to claim and recheck your bags, so you’ll go through immigration/passport control, then go to baggage claim to get your checked luggage, and then go through customs. After that, you can recheck your bag. I’ve never flown through Dallas before, so I’m not sure what their set up is, but some airports have an easy rechecking spot right after customs, while other airports don’t, which means you’ll have to go back to the airline’s baggage drop counter. And at some point before your next flight, you’ll have to go through security again.
May 20, 2019 @ 3:46 am
Hello thanks for your great work I have a question.I am travelling from Nigeria to Canada on Air France and I am having layover in Paris to connect Montreal on same airline Air France do I have to go through immigration and custom check in Paris before I connect to Montreal again.
May 20, 2019 @ 7:20 am
Thanks! Normally in this kind of situation, you would not have to go through customs and immigration since you’re not actually going to enter the Schengen Zone. For example, a friend and I recently flew from Uganda to Brussels, and then I had a connecting flight to Berlin, so I did have to go through customs and immigration, but my friend was flying to the US, so she was able to bypass customs and immigration and go to her gate. I imagine you will do something similar in Paris, but I can’t say with 100% certainty because I’ve never done it at that airport. If you’re able to find out what terminals you’ll land in and depart from, this might help you: https://www.parisaeroport.fr/en/passengers/flights/connecting-flights
April 22, 2019 @ 5:21 pm
i am Cambodian and i want to buy a round trip ticket to Bali which need to have a transit at Malaysia before connecting to bali, what is the different between a self connecting flight (Which means I bought the separate tickets from PHN to KUL and from KUL to DPS, but they are with the same airlines) and a-both-Flights in one ticket? On retuning day, i have an long overnight layover and wish to leave the airport for a great hotel, is it possible ? And how is the process to check out and in the airport?
April 24, 2019 @ 2:26 pm
Hi Kessy! Self connecting means the two legs of your journey are not connected, so if you have checked luggage, you’ll have to claim your luggage during your layover and go to the check in counter to check your luggage for the second flight. I think AirAsia does this a lot. If you can check in online, you should be able to print both boarding passes ahead of time, so if you’re traveling with only carry on luggage, that’ll save you a little time since you won’t have to claim and recheck luggage. You will have to go through customs and immigration in KUL in order to get to your luggage, and then you’ll have to go through security and exiting passport control to get to your second flight. For the return flight, I think it would be fine to leave the airport during your layover. You don’t really have to check in or out of the airport, but again, if you have checked luggage, you’ll need to claim it and recheck it. Sometimes with a long layover, the airline isn’t able to take your checked bags before a certain time, so you might have to take your checked luggage with you and check it when you come back to the airport. Also, remember that the KUL airport is rather far from the actual city, so if all you want to do is get a hotel and sleep, you might want to look for a hotel closer to the airport. And again, you’ll have to go through exiting passport control and security before your second flight, so make sure you leave yourself lots of time.
March 29, 2019 @ 6:48 am
I am travelling from delhi to vancouver canada in china airlines . My stay is of only 1 and half hour So, do i have to transfer my cheecked luggage or they will do it for me?
March 29, 2019 @ 10:06 am
Hi Ravneet! You didn’t say where your layover is, but I’m assuming it’s somewhere in China due to the airline. Your checked luggage should be transferred from one flight to the next. In general the exceptions to this are the US and Canada. So if Vancouver was your first Canadian airport and then you were connecting to somewhere else, you’d have to claim and recheck your luggage. But almost no countries besides the US and Canada make you do that.
March 23, 2019 @ 9:06 am
Hi Ali! this is a great article – thank you.
My flight is from LAX -> layover at Frankfurt -> Paris same ticket/same airline. I have 1hr 30mins layover. When I get to Frankfurt, I have to go thru passport control/customs.
My checked in luggage will be tag to my final destination (Paris) – right?
I don’t need to collect my checked baggage when I get to Frankfurt – right?
After passport control – do I still need to go thru security to get to my connecting flight/gate?
March 25, 2019 @ 11:38 am
Hi Mar! Yes, you’ll go through customs and immigration in Frankfurt. Your checked luggage should be automatically transferred to your next flight. If you have any doubts, ask the airline when you’re dropping off your bags, but in general, that’s how it’s handled. You will most likely have to go through security again in Frankfurt because the international flights are in one section and most of the “domestic” flights (which would include flights to other Schengen destinations) are in another section. And many sections of the airport have separate security screening for just a handful of gates. If you need to get to the other end of the airport, there is an airport train that connects the terminals.
March 22, 2019 @ 1:53 pm
Returning from Paris to United States.
Paris ->2hr layover at London Heathrow -> Charlotte
Flights booked via American Airlines, but the flight from Paris to London is British Airways. Then from London to Charlotte flight is American Airlines. Will I have to go through customs and recheck bag in London or will it be checked all the way through?
March 25, 2019 @ 11:30 am
Hi Sarah! American Airlines and British Airways are partner airlines, so as long as you booked all your flights at once on one itinerary, they should tag your luggage to your final destination. You will go through exiting passport control in Paris to get stamped out of the Schengen Zone, but you shouldn’t have to deal with customs or passport control in London. I have heard of people having to do it while transiting through London, so I wouldn’t say no 100%, but when you land, look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and that *should* allow you to bypass customs and immigration. You might have to go through security again no matter what. And your checked bags will automatically be transferred to the next flight. Then as long as Charlotte is your first US airport and your last destination, you just pick up your bags there after passport control.
March 10, 2019 @ 6:05 pm
Thank you for all the information! It’s great!
I am taking our first international trip this summer with 3 kids. I’m curious if there is anything I need to prepare for before we go, I mean besides the obvious of passports and such? Kids are 14, 16, and 16. Here is our itinerary:
Denver – New York (layover)
New York – Dublin (layover)
Dublin – Birmingham
2 Air lines JetBlue and Air lingus
Birmingham – Dublin (Layover)
Dublin – New York (layover)
New York – Denver
2 Air lines JetBlue and Air lingus
How many times will we have to go through customs, collect bags, etc? Are we allowed to buy souvenirs and bring them home? Sorry if these are stupid questions.
And just out of curiosity if we went to Dublin on our second to last day could we skip the Birmingham to Dublin flight and just start our journey home from Dublin?would that mess things up?
Any information would be so helpful!
On one hand I’m super excited on the other hand very nervous of the unknown!
Thank you so much in advance for your help!
March 13, 2019 @ 12:16 pm
Hi Brie! You mentioned both JetBlue and Air Lingus…are all flights booked together on one itinerary? Or did you book them separately? If they’re booked together, your luggage will be transferred from one flight to the next. If not, you’ll have to claim and recheck your luggage at whichever layover is the first of the second itinerary.
Let’s assume this is all one itinerary. You should be able to bypass customs and immigration in Dublin since you’re not staying there. Look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights”. You will go through customs and immigration in Birmingham to get stamped into the UK, and that’s when you’ll collect your luggage.
If you skip your Birmingham to Dublin flight, the airline will cancel the rest of your itinerary. They look at it as though you missed the first flight, so there’s no way you’d make the second flight. Not recommended.
Dublin has US border control, which means you might actually go through US customs and immigration in Dublin. I haven’t done it myself yet, so I’m a little fuzzy on how it works if you’re actually coming from outside of Ireland, but you can read more details here: https://www.dublinairport.com/at-the-airport/passenger-information/us-preclearance-facility
February 24, 2019 @ 4:29 pm
I’m traveling to Hawaii but flying from Canada To Chicago then to LA then Hawaii Do I go through customs again in Chicago I am a us citizen
February 25, 2019 @ 11:59 am
Hi Cindy! In general, you will go through US customs at the first US airport, so if you’re flying from Canada to Chicago and then onward, Chicago is your point of entry into the US, and that’s where you’ll go through customs and immigration. However, there are several airports in Canada that now have US border control, which means you go through customs and immigration there. This means when you land in Chicago, you’re already done, it’ll feel like a domestic flight, and you’ll just have to find your next gate. There’s info on which airports have US customs here: https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/ports-entry/operations/preclearance.
February 13, 2019 @ 2:36 pm
I am flying on this Saturday.. Please respond promptly. I am flying from Philadelphia to Regina with a layover of 2 hours at Toronto Pearson airport. I would like to see my friends at Toronto as they resides in Toronto. Both my husband and I have US GC, therefore I know we can travel to Canada with no issues. However, If I want to get out of the Toronto airport for half hour to see my friends, Am I able to do that? Do I need to go through Canada Custom & Immigration process before getting out of the airport? If I get both boarding passes at the first flight from Philadelphia, then Will I need to go through check – in process in order to catch the flight to Regina from Toronto? Do I need to go through Custom & Immigration when check – in after coming back to the airport? Is 2 hours sufficient enough to get out of airport and spend half hour with friends and come back inside the airport and go through all security & custom process? Please explain thoroughly on what to expect.
February 14, 2019 @ 3:07 pm
Hi Monali! When you land in Toronto, you’ll have to go through immigration and customs. This is true whether you’re leaving the airport or not. You will also have to claim and recheck your luggage and go through security again. The Toronto airport actually has a great tool on their site that tells you what to do, check it out here: https://www.torontopearson.com/Connecting.aspx#. But no, I’d say a 2 hour layover is not enough time to go into Toronto and see your friends. I think the best you could do is see if they could come to the airport and meet you somewhere before they would reach the security checkpoint. But if I were you, I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving the airport with such a short layover.
February 4, 2019 @ 9:38 am
Hey Alli, I will be traveling from Lagos Nigeria to Toronto Canada
Which have a 5hrs layover in Egypt for am traveling with Egyptair
Is there a possibility that they would check my passport and also pass through immigration and customs
And if we are to be taken to a hotel will they collect our passports before taking us to the hotel and are my to pay for the hotel room
Or can i have my layover at the airport
February 7, 2019 @ 10:50 am
Hi Sochima! Often when you have a layover in a country you’re not actually staying in, you can bypass customs and immigration by following the “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” signs, and then you would usually go through security again and find your next gate. But this isn’t always the case. And some countries do require a transit visa for certain nationalities. I’m not a visa expert, so I’d recommend going to the Egypt embassy website and seeing if you are required to get a transit visa based on your country of citizenship. As for leaving the airport, I don’t think you have time with only a 5 hour layover. No one is going to pay for a hotel for you.
February 1, 2019 @ 5:09 pm
I bought a ticket from Montreal to Amman one itinerary one carrier a trip for three weeks with my friend, layover will be in Istanbul Turkey . our plan changed and we decide to spend all three weeks in Turkey . can we do that and do not continue our trip to the final destination.
February 2, 2019 @ 10:09 am
Hi Raemy! In general, if you take your first flight but don’t get on the connecting flight, the airline will cancel all remaining flights on your itinerary. I wouldn’t suggest just getting out in Istanbul if you don’t want to go to Amman anymore, you should really change your flight reservation. You could also look at what a one way flight from Istanbul to Montreal would cost in case that’s cheaper than the change fees.
January 23, 2019 @ 3:48 am
Thank you for this nice overview of layovers and how they work. I have a question, I booked two tickets with a different carrier( two separate itineraries). My layover at Dubai airport (12 hr layover in Dubai airport). My arrival terminal and departure terminal are the same at dubai airport. In other words, my first flight lands in the same area my second flight leaves from. They are both terminal 1. The incoming airline couldn’t transfer my baggage to my onward flight.My question is: could I collect my baggage (able to get to baggage claim ) by myself before my next flight with a different carrier without go through customs and immigration?
January 23, 2019 @ 11:14 am
You will have to go through immigration and customs to get to your checked luggage, so having two separate flights like this will only work for you if you have a visa or if your nationality isn’t required to get a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates. But if you have a visa or don’t need one, a 12 hour layover in Dubai is definitely enough time to claim and recheck your luggage and go see some of the city!
January 15, 2019 @ 1:45 pm
Perhaps you can help us, a couple who rarely fly.. we are traveling from a non- international airport (Roanoke) to Atlanta. Will we have to go through security again? Given all the mess with the government shut down, we are concerned that if we have to do security again in Atlanta, we will definitely miss our connecting flight. Thanks so much. You are truly a wealth of knowledge!!
January 16, 2019 @ 2:28 pm
Hi Margo! I lived in Atlanta for many years, so I know that airport well! All terminals/concourses are connected beyond the security checkpoint, so you won’t have to do it again on your layover. Once you get off the first flight, look for a departures board to find your next gate. If it’s in a different terminal/concourse, follow the signs towards baggage claim and the other terminals and then get on the train. The train connects all terminals and baggage claim, so make sure you get on going the right direction. And that’s it! The train is below the gates, so you’ll go up/down the escalator, but everything is well sign-posted. You should be fine! Enjoy your trip!
January 11, 2019 @ 1:44 pm
Your description was very helpful but there is a topic that I didn’t see.
I have to take a Plane from Madrid to Buenos Aires that will have a layover (same company, 3 hour layover) in Frankfurt, so the question here is Where will I have to go through customs, in Madrid or in Frankfurt? Because for entering Europe/the shengen countries you well said it will be the first place of arrival, but for departures?
January 11, 2019 @ 3:52 pm
Hi Juan! Your flight from Madrid to Frankfurt will be similar to a domestic flight since it’s within the Schengen Zone. So there will be no passport control in Madrid, although the check-in agent might want to look at your passport to make sure you’re allowed to enter Argentina since he/she will be printing both boarding passes. Once you get to Frankfurt, you’ll have to go through exiting passport control where they will stamp you out of the Schengen Zone. So in general, when you’re leaving the Schengen Zone, it’s the last airport within the Schengen Zone where you’ll have to go through passport control. Have a great trip!
December 19, 2018 @ 4:25 pm
I’ll be traveling to Rome in just a few short weeks and I am just wondering about going through customs/ immigration and if my bags will be checked all the way through. I am flying United both to Rome and from Rome. I am flying from CVG-EWR-FCO on the way to Rome and then FCO-ORD-CVG . Any help is much appreciated!!
December 20, 2018 @ 10:30 am
Hello! It will be different on your way out of the US vs on the way back. The US doesn’t do any formal exiting passport control, so the agent who checks you in will look at your passport. Your checked luggage will be tagged to your final destination and will get transferred from the CVG-EWR flight to the EWR-FCO flight, so nothing for you to worry about there. When you land in Rome, you’ll go through immigration to get stamped in and then you pick up your luggage. On your way home, you’ll have to go through exiting passport control to get stamped out. Your luggage will still get tagged to your final destination, however the US is uniquely annoying about dealing with checked bags from international flights. When you land in ORD, you’ll go through immigration and customs, and then you’ll have to claim your checked luggage and recheck it. I’m not sure exactly how ORD works, but most airports make it fairly easy to recheck your bags. If you don’t see where to do it once you pass through customs, just ask an employee. You’ll also have to go through security again before you can get to your next flight. I hope this helps, and enjoy your trip! If you need any Rome or Italy tips, check out my Italy itinerary!
December 3, 2018 @ 7:26 pm
Hi Ali !
I’m a student from Afghanistan and travelling to Canada, so if I book my ticket from Kabul to any European airport for one layover and then to Canada so do they need a transit visa and security checks?
Or just showing them a boardpass ?
December 6, 2018 @ 11:08 am
Hi Nawaz! Unfortunately I am not a visa expert, so I don’t know for sure. I suggest checking with the embassy of the country you will be transiting through to determine if you will need a transit visa.
Barend van Heerden
November 22, 2018 @ 9:50 am
Hi, I have a South African passport, I want to fly from Jhb to Dublin in Ireland open return if I have a layover in London, do I need a UK Visa? quite a few of the Airlines have a stopover in the UK. I just want to get to Dublin the quickest way possible with no hassle
Ben van Heerden
November 22, 2018 @ 11:13 am
Hi Ben! Unfortunately I am not a visa expert, so your best course of action is to check the UK embassy website and see if they require South African citizens to get a transit visa for a connecting flight in the UK. I’ve flown through the UK before where I was able to bypass passport control because I was transiting, and all I had to do was go through security and show my boarding pass for my next flight. But I’ve definitely heard of people who have had to go through passport control on their layover, so I can’t say for sure which situation you’ll end up with or even why it differs. But if you look at the UK embassy website, they should have a section about visas and whether or not you need a transit visa based on your nationality.
November 17, 2018 @ 12:46 pm
I have a question, m travelling to Australia for the first time via Hong Kong and my layover time is just one hour but airlines is the same. Please help me out, will it be a problem catching the connecting flight. As m travelling alone on my first international trip.
November 20, 2018 @ 5:09 pm
I don’t think you’ll have a problem. If both flights are booked on one itinerary, your checked luggage should get tagged to your final destination and will automatically be transferred from the first to the second flight. As for you, when you get off the first flight, look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and you should be able to bypass immigration and customs, since you’re not staying in Hong Kong. You will probably still have to go through security again. One hour might be a little tight, but it’s definitely doable. Check out my tips for short layovers here.
November 14, 2018 @ 9:46 pm
I am a Jamaican citizen with a Jamaican passport no visa of any type i would like to travel to santo Dominican but the flight has a short lay over /connecting flight for 30 mins in Providenciales International Airport do i need a transit visa or would i be ok on the not sure if we will be leaving the plane as it is only for 30 mins.
November 20, 2018 @ 5:05 pm
Hi Tanesha! I’m not a visa expert, so I don’t know if you need a visa or not. That airport is in Turks and Caicos, which is a British territory, so I’d recommend checking the UK embassy website for information about transit visas for Jamaican passport holders. Also worth looking specifically for info about transiting through Turks and Caicos in case that’s any different from transiting through London or someplace like that.
November 6, 2018 @ 4:23 pm
Hi Ali. Your article is great and well written. I got a lot of information from it but I still have a few questions. I think it is great that you take time to respond to comments. To my question.
I am Nigerian. I am travelling to Canada. This is my itinerary:
United 9166 operated by LUFTHANSA
Lagos Terminal 1 – Frankfurt (FRA) Terminal 1
2 hours stop
Frankfurt (FRA) Terminal 1 – Chicago (ORD) Terminal 5
23 hours stop
United 5945 operated by SKYWEST DBA UNITED EXPRESS
Chicago (ORD) Terminal 2 – Calgary (YYC)
1. Do I need a transit visa for my layover at Frankfurt, Germany? I checked the website of the German Missions in Nigeria and it says, ‘Category A (Airport transit visa)
With effect from 1 May 2008, Nigerian citizens do not need an airport transit visa if they are in possession of a valid visa for a Schengen member state, a state party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area of 2 May 1992, Japan, Canada, Switzerland or the United States of America; or if after using the visa they return to Nigeria from any of these countries. In all other cases, Nigerian citizens transiting Germany are required to obtain an airport transit visa’. https://nigeria.diplo.de/ng-en/service/visa/schengen-visa/1015534
From what is written above I don’t think I would need a transit visa because I have a USA B1/B2 Visa (expiring February 2019) and a Canadian Visa(expiring September 2019). This is the first time I would be using my US and Canadian Visas.
2. Do I need a transit visa for my layover at Chicago (ORD)? Also I don’t think I would need a transit visa because I have a USA B1/B2 Visa (expiring February 2019). This is the first time I would be using my US Visa.
3. Would I have to recheck-in my luggage at Frankfurt, Germany? I am asking because I read online that if I do have to recheck-in, I would need a transit Visa category A regardless of whether I have a US or Canadian Visa.
4. Would I have to recheck-in my luggage at Chicago(ORD)?
Thank you for your time. I await your response.
November 10, 2018 @ 11:33 am
Hi Folu! I am not a visa expert, but for your first question, I agree that it sounds like you won’t need a transit visa since you have a visa for the US and for Canada. The same for questions #2, you have a US visa, so you shouldn’t need anything else for a transit through Chicago. #3, if your flights are all booked together on one itinerary, your luggage should be tagged to get transferred from one plane to the next in Frankfurt. It’s worth verifying that with the airline to be sure. #4, unfortunately yes, you will most likely need to claim and recheck your luggage in Chicago. The US makes everyone do it, though I’ve heard of a few airports that are changing procedures for checked luggage for passengers who are only transiting through the US. However, since your layover is 23 hours, it’s very unlikely that they’ll be transferring your luggage, so you should plan on having to claim and recheck your luggage. And with such a long layover, they might not be able to recheck your luggage until closer to your next flight. You might not even be able to get your boarding pass for the Chicago to Calgary flight until you get to Chicago since that flight will be more than 24 hours after you check in for the first flight. But you just need to find a United Airlines counter in Chicago to do that. Have you considered getting a hotel in Chicago and doing some sightseeing? I can’t imagine sitting in the airport that long!
November 5, 2018 @ 11:02 pm
Hi Ali, best article I have read so far about layovers. Here is my situation, probably very typical, but I am looking for any thoughts/advise.
I am leaving from Kansas City going to Cancun via American (all the way through and back) in December 2018. I am connecting in Dallas (DFW both ways) with a one hour layover leaving and a 3 hour layover returning. Tickets purchased through a travel agent so I assume all on the same itinerary.
My questions is, will my bags, heading to Cancun, be checked all the way through or do I need to collect them/recheck them before my connection? I am assuming I will need to collect them upon return and into customs. A second question, is an hour enough time to connect at DFW headed to Cancun and will I need to go through security/customs prior the connecting flight to Cancun?
November 10, 2018 @ 11:23 am
Hi Mike, thank you so much! Going to Cancun, your bags will be checked through to your final destination. When you get to Dallas, the only reason you’d have to go through security is if the airport has separate security checkpoints for each terminal and if you have to switch terminals. I’m not familiar with DFW, so I can’t say for sure. The US doesn’t do any exiting passport control, so it really won’t feel any different from a domestic flight. When you check in, the agent (probably in Kansas City) will want to see your passport but that’s about it. So yes, I think one hour for your layover in Dallas should be fine. It’s only on the way back from Cancun to Dallas that you will have to go through immigration and customs and claim your luggage in DFW and recheck it for the DFW to Kansas City flight. I think 3 hours is plenty of time for that layover. You’ll also go through exiting passport control in Cancun, so make sure you get to that airport well ahead of your flight. I hope this helps, and have a great trip!
October 25, 2018 @ 5:32 pm
hi ali! i’m tryin to find help in google but i found and read your blog. my problem is about my layover in lax. i’m from toronto and this is my first time travelling to the us and i’ve got a tourist visa. my flight is on this coming saturday, 27th of october going to sfo. my itinerary says that my departure time here in toronto is 6:15pm and i have a layover in lax at 8:43pm. i’ve only got less than an hour of layover. i’ve read on some of your replies regarding about the international travel specifically in the us, and you mentioned that we have to go through the customs and immigration first and claim and recheck the baggage again, can you please tell me what to do coz i’m sort of confused. and i had just realized that i’ve only got less than an hour to do all of it if that’s the case. please help me, i appreciate your quick response ali. thank you in advance.
October 26, 2018 @ 2:03 pm
Hi Mae! That sounds like a tight connection, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. The Toronto airport has US customs procedures, so you actually go through US border control while still in the Toronto airport, so then you don’t have to do it once you arrive in LAX. You can read more about it here and here. This also means your checked luggage should be tagged to go to your final destination, but verify that with the airline. I’m not sure if you’ll have to go through security again at LAX, it looks like it depends on which terminals you’re going between. So as soon as you land, find a departures board and see where your next flight leaves from, and then you’ll be on your way. Some of my tips for short layovers might help you out too.
October 13, 2018 @ 11:23 pm
Hi I’m flying on 15th oct from vancouver to delhi and my layover is in munich for 23 hours. I’m an indian passport holder with valid canadian work visa. But I’m really worried because I heard you need a schengen visa before entering any schengen state. I don’t want to go outside of the airport and my flight is like Vancouver to munich and then from munich to delhi. Please I need your help asap so that I can make changes to my flight.
October 17, 2018 @ 3:31 pm
Sorry for not getting to you in time, I was traveling myself. I’m not a visa expert, so I wouldn’t be able to answer you with enough certainty. If you see this and you went through with the flight, I’d love to hear how it went. I hope it all worked out!
October 9, 2018 @ 9:57 pm
Myself and a group of 15 friends are traveling via China Eastern from
-LAX(US) to NKG(CHINA)
-with a 3hr 15min layover then
-NKG to BKK(THAILAND),
-staying for a week then traveling
-BKK to PVG(CHINA) with a
-2hr 10min layover then
-PVG back to LAX.
I have a few questions.
1) What is the difference between immigration and customs?
2) Which airports/countries will we need to go through security, immigration and customs?
3) How much time should we plan on leaving for each of those things with such a large group?
4) I can’t seem to find any information about this online, but in the international airports will we need to go through security a second time once we get off of the plane and go to our connecting flights gates?
5) If we are checking luggage do we pick that up from baggage claim to take it through customs at our connection flights airport? Or if we buy all the legs of our trip in one purchase does the airline take care of the baggage until the final destination?
October 17, 2018 @ 4:00 pm
Hi Kaity! Sounds like a great trip! I’ll try to answer your questions below:
1) Immigration is basically passport control. That’s where you’ll show your passport to the agent and they check to make sure you’re eligible to enter the country. Customs are the people making sure you aren’t bring in plants or fruit or whatever. In most countries, you do immigration first, and then there’s a door marked “nothing to declare” and another marked “something to declare” (or similar) and most people go through the nothing to declare door and never even see an agent. Just don’t travel with plants, fruit, vegetables, meat, animals/bugs, large amounts of cash (usually something like $10,000), and you should be fine. Some countries have a form passengers must fill out, and they’ll usually ask about certain items that must be declared, although many countries don’t have this form at all.
2) You will definitely go through immigration and customs (again customs probably just involves you walking through the nothing to declare door) when you arrive in Thailand. When you leave Thailand, you’ll go through exiting passport control to get stamped out of the country. I’ve never flown through China, so I don’t know for sure whether or not you’ll have to go through immigration there. According to everything I’m finding online (like this) you don’t need a visa if you’re just transiting within 24 hours and not leaving the airport. Many countries have signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and you don’t even have to go through immigration, but China might be different. If you do have to go through immigration, there’s not really a way to miss it since you won’t be able to get anywhere else without going through. Then they’ll basically just look at your passport and check that you have an onward flight, so it’s worth having your boarding pass or itinerary for the next flight handy in case they want to look at it. Finally, when you fly back to the US, you’ll go through immigration and customs in LAX. At some US airports, everyone has to go through customs, which means putting all of your luggage through an xray machine and maybe talking to an agent who looks at your entry form, but I haven’t flown through LAX in a few years. I recently flew into SFO and didn’t have to do anything, so some airports might be changing this up a bit. Either way, it’s not a big deal as long as you don’t have anything weird with you.
3) Most airlines still recommend you should arrive at the airport anywhere from 2-3 hours before an international flight. In the US, there is no formal exiting passport control, so there aren’t any extra steps for an international flight vs a domestic one, although the agent who checks you in will look at your passport to make sure you have any necessary visas for your flight itinerary. As for your layovers, I think you have enough time to do the requirements, so I wouldn’t worry there. And then when leaving BKK, again you’ll want to arrive at the airport 2-3 hours ahead of your flight to check in, check luggage, do exiting passport control, and get through security. Your group size might mean waiting for the last few people to get through, but everyone will have to go through individually. Sometimes family members can go to the immigration agent together, but it doesn’t really save time since it’s still the same number of passports to check.
4) It really varies from one airport to another, and I don’t know what it’ll be like in China. Probably best to be prepared to go through security just in case.
5) In general, your checked bags will be tagged to your final destination, so you don’t have to deal with them on your layover, as long as you’ve booked both flights on one itinerary. If you book two separate flights, you’ll have to claim and recheck luggage on your layover, and in that case, you’ll definitely have to go through immigration and customs on your layover since you can’t get to your luggage until after immigration. I highly recommend booking your flights all on one itinerary. When you check your luggage, verify with the airline agent that the bags will go to your final destination, but this is what they do nearly every time. The biggest exception to this is the US (and Canada) on your return flight. In general, you have to claim and recheck your luggage at your first US airport, so if you land in LAX and then have to continue on to somewhere else, you’ll have to claim and recheck.
August 30, 2018 @ 8:07 pm
I am travelling for the first time to another country (Germany) and my journey is scheduled on 22/9/2018. The flight Air India departs at 10:00 from Mumbai to Delhi (12:15). There is a change of flight (same airlines) which departs at 01:35 from Delhi to Frankfurt. Which gives me a total layover time of 1h 20mins. But after booking the tickets I have heard that the layover time is not enough in Delhi. Can you let me know will the layover time be enough for me in Delhi? Also, let me know whether my immigration check will be done in Mumbai or Delhi?
September 2, 2018 @ 12:01 pm
Hi Suhail! Since your flight from Mumbai to Delhi is domestic, you won’t deal with immigration there. The airline agent who checks you in might check to make sure you have the right visa to go to Germany, but you won’t do any exiting passport control until you’re in Delhi. I’m not sure if 1 hour 20 minutes is too short or not because I’ve never flown through India. But your checked luggage should be tagged to your final destination, so you won’t have to worry about that. You’ll just need to get off the first flight, find out where your next gate is, and at some point along the way you’ll have to go through the passport check line, before you can get to your next gate. You might also have to go through security again, depending on how the airport is set up. You can check with Air India’s customer service to see what they say about the layover time. If there are typically long lines at passport control (and security if you have to do that again), then that might not be enough time. But I’ve gone through some airports where that would be plenty of time. I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with Delhi!
August 18, 2018 @ 4:26 pm
Hi, I am flying on Delta Airlines from SFO to LAX to CDG to LED on the same ticket. Do I have to re-check my bag in LAX or will it go straight through to St. Petersburg, Russia
August 18, 2018 @ 9:12 pm
Hi Sally! Your checked luggage should be tagged to go all the way to St Petersburg, so you shouldn’t have to deal with it during any layovers. However, if your return flight uses the same route in reverse, you’ll have to claim and recheck your luggage in LAX (and go through customs and immigration) because that’s your first stop in the US.
August 16, 2018 @ 11:21 pm
Hi Ali, I have an upcoming domestic round trip SFO to LAS and back on the same day. Though it is a round trip, I have booked it as 2 one way tickets. I will have both boarding passes. I am meeting a friend at LAS who is also traveling from the same terminal and will be in the boarding area when I arrive, so I don’t have to exit the LAS airport. I want to know if I can board the return flight without going through security at LAS, similar to US layover flight where one stays within the terminal for changing planes. I have never taken a same day round trip, Is it mandatory to exit the terminal after completing the one way trip and go through security check at LAS for the return one way flight. Thanks for your help.
August 17, 2018 @ 2:44 pm
Hi Melvin! I’ve never done a trip like this either, always left the airport even when flying back on the same day. But I don’t see any reason why you’d have to go out and back through security again. If you are able to do online check in, you should be able to print both boarding passes yourself, so you won’t have to deal with that piece. What you could do once you land in LAS is go to your next gate and verify with the gate agent that there’s nothing else you need to do. But you’ll already be in the secured area, so I can’t imagine why you’d have to go out and back through TSA again.
August 19, 2018 @ 8:20 am
Hi Ali, Thank you for your reply. I can check with the gate agent if they are available at the gate when I arrive.
August 20, 2018 @ 11:10 am
Sounds good. I highly doubt you’d have to go through security again. Unless the gate agent is looking for your ticket to be marked by security, there’s really know way they’d know, and it’s really just like having a layover except you’re going back to the same city.
July 9, 2018 @ 3:23 am
I’m a Turkish citizen and I have a two leg flight from Seattle (USA) >>> Frankfurt >>> Istanbul (Turkey) and flights are not connected. There are two different airlines involved. I didn’t have any suspicion when I bought the tickets but now it’s kinda bugging me. I just want to be sure that I won’t have to leave the international area after I land in Frankfurt and collect my baggage to recheck them in for my flight to Istanbul. I mean even though flights are not connected, I still can collect my baggage and transfer them myself without leaving the international area in Frankfurt Airport, right?
Thanks for your help!
July 9, 2018 @ 3:58 pm
Hi Baran! Unfortunately you will need to go through immigration/passport control and get stamped into Germany, which means leaving the international area, before you get to where the baggage claim is, so if you don’t have a Schengen visa, I don’t think this will work. I’m not even sure the airline will let you on the flight from Seattle if you don’t have a Schengen visa because they could get in trouble for letting you go without one. What are the airlines you’re flying with? If the airline you’re using from Frankfurt to Istanbul has a desk in the Seattle airport, you could see if they can tag your luggage to be transferred from flight #1 to flight #2. And if they can check you in and print your boarding pass too, even better. But I highly recommend calling the airline ahead of time to see if this is something they can do, don’t wait until you get to the airport. If the airlines are partners or in the same alliance, there’s a good chance the first airline can tag your luggage to your final destination. Like if you’re flying Lufthansa from Seattle to Frankfurt and then Turkish Airlines from Frankfurt to Istanbul, they’re both in Star Alliance and might be able to help you out. Another thing you could do is go carry-on only so you don’t have to worry about getting to baggage claim in Frankfurt, but you’d still need to show the airline agent in Seattle your booking confirmation for the Frankfurt to Istanbul flight so they’ll let you on the plane. So sorry this is such a pain for you!
July 9, 2018 @ 7:01 pm
WOW, I’m so glad I asked. I really should’ve known better before I bought those tickets. SEA-FRA flight is CONDOR Airlines and FRA-IST flight is Turkish Airlines. I checked and found out that they’re not airline partners. Unfortunately carry-on is not an option for me at this point. I have three check-in items. If I wouldn’t have to change terminals in Frankfurt then carry-on only could be a solution but I have luggage.
I just solved the problem. I canceled Turkish Airlines flight and found out that Condor has a FRA-IST flight. So I called Condor call center and added their FRA-IST flight to my SEA-FRA flight and paid the difference. They are now connected and I don’t have to change terminals or claim baggage to re-check them in Frankfurt.
Thank you very much for your help!
July 9, 2018 @ 9:15 pm
I’m so glad you were able to change your flight! I’m sorry you had to pay extra for it, but I think you did the right thing. Have a great flight!
Jonn Luizze Cruz
June 18, 2018 @ 10:02 am
Hi I’m Jonn and I will be traveling to Philippines from the U.S this coming December and I have an eight hour layover in Taipei Taoyuan Intl. When I arrived in Taipei at about 5am and leave at about 1:30pm, I am planning to explore the city of Taipei during my eight hour layover, Do you think this is possible With a U.S permanent residency when I enter the immigration in the airport to catch my connecting flight? Also is it possible to explore the city at an eight hour layover?
June 18, 2018 @ 5:02 pm
Hi Jonn! I’m not a visa expert, so I can’t say for sure either way. Much of it will depend on your country of citizenship, and sometimes having US permanent residency will help, but sometimes not. Your best bet is to check directly with the Taiwan embassy and see what their requirements are for entering the country and whether or not you need a visa. If you are able to go explore during your layover, be sure to check out my tips for leaving the airport on a layover here and a different angle here.
June 11, 2018 @ 3:29 pm
Hey Ali, I’m a younger traveller at the moment. Only 15 years old, which makes me a little nervous because I haven’t been traveling a lot on my own. I’m in Germany and I want to take a flight to go to Greece, but I have to go from one city in Germany to another city in Germany, and then go to Greece because there is no direct flight to my destination. What I know so far is that I land in the same terminal as my connecting flight. Does that mean that I still have to go through security or does that still depend on the airport? The reason I’m asking is because I only have 45 minutes to run to my next plane or else I’ll miss it and security does use a lot of my time. But since I’m in Europe I don’t have to go through any passport checks right?
June 12, 2018 @ 11:18 am
Hi Nikos! Whether or not you’ll have to go through security again depends on the airport. Some airports have separate security for each gate or small groups of gates. If that’s the case, it shouldn’t take long at all to get through security, it just means if you bought a bottle of water or something before your first flight, you’ll have to finish it or throw it out before going through security again. Though you can bring an empty bottle through security. BUT if the airport has security checkpoints either per terminal or for the whole airport, you won’t have to deal with it again. You can usually find out by searching the airport name + terminal map, so “Munich airport terminal map” for example, and then see if they label the security checkpoints. As for passport checks, no you won’t have to do that. You’d only do that if you were leaving the Schengen Zone, but Germany and Greece are both in Schengen. I think you’ll be fine with a 45 minute layover, especially if your flight is in the same terminal as where the first one lands. And since you’re only 15, you could probably ask a flight attendant or airport employee to help you find your next gate, and I’m sure they’d do what they can to help you out. I don’t exactly know the rules for minors traveling alone in Europe, but they might be keeping a closer eye on you anyway, so just ask. Enjoy your trip!
June 9, 2018 @ 3:15 am
I need to go to dubraovnik via Vienna. I am catching air india flight from Delhi to Vienna and Austrian airlines flight from Vienna to Dubrovnik. The airline staff told me that i have to collect my baggage at Vienna. Also, i have to collect boarding passes at Vienna for Austrian airlines. I have visa for craotia but no visa for Vienna. Do i need to go through immigration and custom. Or i can remain in transit and check in my baggage again.
Please help me earliest, if possible.
June 10, 2018 @ 10:44 am
Hi Rohit! The problem is that baggage claim is usually AFTER you go through passport control/immigration, so if you are required to have a visa to enter the Schengen Zone (which includes Austria) but you don’t have one, you won’t be able to get to your luggage. Printing your Vienna to Dubrovnik boarding pass won’t be a problem, you can do that at an Austrian Airlines counter within the transit zone/secured area. I’d suggest calling Austrian Airlines and seeing if they have a solution for you. Maybe there’s an Austrian Airlines counter in Delhi that can tag your luggage to be transferred to the next flight once it arrives in Vienna?
May 26, 2018 @ 11:12 am
Hello, I’m visiting home for the first time after moving to Cambodia. When I came here, I was living in China and flew straight here. I’ve never had an international layover before, always in my country of destination. The flight I’m interested in has a layover in Ho Chi Minh and Doha. I don’t think I need a transit visa, but if I do would I be able to get them at the airport?
May 28, 2018 @ 11:38 am
Hi Kari! By “home” I’m guessing you mean US, and that you’re a US citizen, so I’m basing my answer on that. Also, I’m not a visa expert, so please check the embassy websites to verify. My experience with a connecting flight in Ho Chi Minh City was that I did not need any sort of visa since I was just transiting. (Still worth checking the Vietnam embassy site in case things have changed, it’s been several years since I did it.) But you need to make sure your flights are all on the same itinerary so your luggage gets tagged to your final destination because you won’t be able to get to baggage claim without a visa. It sounds like this isn’t your situation, but I wanted to make sure you knew that. As for Doha, I haven’t flown through there, but it’s my understanding that you wouldn’t need a transit visa as a US citizen (again, worth checking the embassy site to verify) so when you land, you would just need to follow the signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and then go through security again. If for some reason you do need a transit visa for either of these, that’s typically not something you can get at the airport, especially for Vietnam. But I don’t think you’ll need one for either place. Sorry I can’t give you a more concrete answer!
May 22, 2018 @ 7:07 am
Hello! I have a question. So I am going to be traveling from Albuquerque, NM to Dusseldorf Germany to visit my friend. Currently my flight starts in ABQ and goes to LAX on Alaska Airlines, where I know I will have to grab my bags and have to recheck them because my next flight is with Thomas Cook a good 9 hours later. The next leg is from LAX to Manchester, United Kingdom and there I have a 6hr layover until my connecting flight with their partner company Flybe. However I was hoping to maybe be able to surprise my friend and arrive a few hours earlier by booking a different flight with Flybe and arriving in Dusseldorf 4 hours early. So my question lies with my luggage. Since I will be there for a couple months due to the 90 day visitor visa for US citizens, do you know if there is a way to have my luggage transferred to the new secondary flight? or do you think I’d have to go out have it unchecked and then rechecked in order to check in for my flight? I am worried because I do not have a transit visa for the UK and the process of gaining one would take months when my flight is only in a couple weeks. Also, if you’ve ever traveled to Germany do you know if they would they even let me in without calling my friend to verify that I was coming?
May 23, 2018 @ 6:38 pm
Hi Kelly! First, I’m assuming your Thomas Cook flight and Flybe flight are on one itinerary. If you want an earlier flight from Manchester to Dusseldorf, you’re better off changing your flight, not booking a new one. If you don’t show up for your booked Manchester to Dusseldorf flight, the airline will mark you as a no show and your return flight (Dusseldorf to Manchester to LAX) will be cancelled. Also, if they are booked on one itinerary, your checked luggage will be transferred from the LAX-Manchester flight to the Manchester-Dusseldorf flight, which means you would not be able to retrieve it in Manchester. However, if you don’t show up for that flight because you’ve booked another one, the airline will have to remove your luggage from the plane for security reasons, and it’ll get stuck in Manchester. Next…if you are a US citizen, which it sounds like you are, you do NOT need a transit visa for the UK. Lastly, no one in Germany is going to call your friend. You are allowed to come without knowing anyone. If you’re coming on a normal tourist visa, which is your situation, you simply show your passport to the border control agent and they stamp you in. At most they’ll ask why you’re coming to Germany or how long you’re staying, and you answer truthfully. You’re allowed up to 90 days in Schengen countries. As for surprising your friend by coming a few hours early, is your friend already planning on coming to the airport to get you? If so, you could end up on your way to her place while she’s on her way to the airport and you miss each other. If you want to do it, your best approach is to contact Thomas Cook or Flybe and see what it would take to change the last leg of your flight. And be aware that if there’s any delay with your incoming flight, it could screw up your layover. So really think about the hassle and cost of changing your flight.
May 15, 2018 @ 1:10 am
Hello Ali ,
I am from Venezuela.I will travel to Istanbul.I have two seperated tickets from different airlines.Plus Ultra Lineas Areas and Aegean Airlines.My first ticket from Caracas to Madrid ( Barajas Terminal 1).My second ticket from Madrid (Barajas Terminal 2) to Istanbul.I have free visa for both countries.I have 11 hours between my tickets.So I need wait in Spain 11 hours.But I will not visit Spain and I will not enter the city.I will be only there for change my terminal for go my final destination Istanbul but I need take my luggage and need recheking again on board.My doubts is if Spain immigration think i will enter the Spain and wants from me some documents for if I know people there or otel or something similiar because I have nothing with Spain.I will be only transit passenger.I worry for If they ask from me things.I know I will enter schengen zone but I will have other ticket.Do you think will it be enough proof for show them I am actually transit passenger with seperated tickets ?
May 21, 2018 @ 4:40 pm
Hi Efe! First, keep in mind I’m not a visa expert. But if you don’t need a visa to enter Spain or the Schengen Zone, you should be fine. There’s no immigration form to fill out to enter Spain, so if the passport agent asks you how long you’ll be in Spain, you can just tell them you’re on your way to Turkey and you have an 11 hour layover and need to recheck your luggage with the next airline. Have the other ticket handy in case they want to see it. Maybe even have a copy of your itinerary to show your return ticket back to Venezuela in case someone wants to see that, but they probably won’t ask for that. I think the biggest thing is that if you really don’t need a visa to enter Spain/Schengen, there shouldn’t be a problem. Have a great trip to Istanbul!
May 9, 2018 @ 2:13 pm
It is a kind service from your part and I appreciate this .
Iam traveling on 13 th from Chicago ohare to Brussels (1hr 10 mts lay over)from the very same location brussels to Frankfurt terminal 1 ( 2hr 30 mt lay over) and from Frankfurt terminal 1 to kuwait.luftansa airlines,
Iam a university student having F 1 visa i-20 till 2021.but Indian passport .
I talked to Belgium embassy in America.They told me no need of schengen visa for a transit.
Iam puzzled .I don’t know what to do now.since it is the peak time of travel so changing the itirenary is also becoming difficult ,Iam confused.
May 10, 2018 @ 9:54 am
It could be that you have a US student F1 visa, that might be why you don’t need a Schengen visa. Again, I’m not a visa expert. I’m going on my understanding of the Schengen rules and my extensive travel experience, and that tells me that you will be entering the Schengen Zone in order to take the Brussels to Frankfurt flight. But if you explained to the embassy that you will be flying Chicago-Brussels-Frankfurt-Kuwait and that you have a US F1 visa, and they told you that you don’t need a Schengen visa, then I’d go by that. I can’t tell you with 100% certainty either way, but the embassy can.
May 10, 2018 @ 10:39 am
Thank you for spending your valuable time in answering my questions.
I rebook my tickets to
Chicago- Frankfurt international terminal 1. ( layover 6 hr 20 Mt)then from Frankfurt international terminal 1 to kuwait.
This caused me huge loss of money.
I sincerely appreciate your replies and I advise people not to book tickets of 2 stops and more cautious while booking.
May 10, 2018 @ 11:12 am
It sucks that you had to spend extra money to change your flights, but at least now you have more confidence in your flight itinerary.
May 5, 2018 @ 7:47 pm
Hi Please help.This is very urgent .Iam holding Indian passport.Iam travellling from Chicago ohare international to kuwait via 2 schengen stops by Lufthansa airlines.(tickets from Same itinerary.Iam a university student holding F1 U.S visa in my passport till 2021. Chicago to Brussels(1hr 10 mts layover)brussels to Frankfurt (2hrs 30 mts layover)then finally to kuwait where my parents stay. Please guide me whether I require a schengen visa? Iam traveling next week. Thanks in advance Mohammed
May 5, 2018 @ 9:24 pm
Hi Mohammed! Unfortunately I am not a visa expert, so I can’t tell you for sure one way or the other. The fact that you have a flight within the Schengen Zone means you will have to go through customs and immigration, so if Indian citizens require a visa (and I think they do) then it seems as though you would need to get one. That Brussels to Frankfurt flight is similar to having a domestic flight within the US, so it’ll be in a different part of the airport. You’ll have to get stamped into Schengen when you land in Brussels and then out of Schengen when you’re leaving Frankfurt. Check here to start finding out about getting a visa: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/transit-schengen-visa/.
May 8, 2018 @ 7:31 pm
Thank you for your reply
Chicago to Brussels
Brussels to Frankfurt international airport terminal 1
Frankfurt international airport terminal 1 to kuwait.
Here their is no domestic travel at all .
Iam not leaving the airport outside anywhere ,
Can you reply to this point
May 9, 2018 @ 10:53 am
It’s the Brussels to Frankfurt piece. In order to get on that flight, you will have to be stamped into the Schengen Zone because they are both in the Schengen Zone and you’ll be traveling within that zone. I know there isn’t technically any domestic travel since Belgium and Germany are different countries, but the flight from one to the other is very similar to a domestic flight in the US in that you won’t have to show your passport. So if you are required to get a visa to visit any country within the Schengen Zone, you will most likely need a visa to do this flight itinerary. I know it’s a drag, but that’s how Schengen works. You can’t get to that Brussels to Frankfurt flight without getting stamped into Schengen, and you’ll have to get stamped out of Schengen to get on the Frankfurt to Kuwait flight.
May 4, 2018 @ 6:17 am
I am travelling from Bangalore India via Amsterdam to Portland USA. In that case what i have to do at Amsterdam Airport. Since layover time is only one hour. Jet Airways 9W 236 reaches Amsterdam around 8.45 and partner airways Delta airlines 9W 8019 takesoff at 10.00 therefore very less time of layover. In that case what fastest way to catch the flight. Is it in same terminal and is security or custom clearence required. Pl. guide me
May 5, 2018 @ 10:53 am
Hi Bakshi! First, check that you don’t need a transit visa for the Schengen Zone. I don’t think you do, but I am not a visa expert. There’s some good info to get you started here: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/transit-schengen-visa/. Since you’re not staying in Amsterdam or connecting on to anywhere else in the Schengen Zone, you should look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and you shouldn’t have to deal with customs/immigration. You’ll probably have to go through security again, but in my experience at the Amsterdam airport, it’ll probably be security just for your gate or maybe a handful of gates, so chances are there won’t be long lines. So as soon as you get off your flight, look for a departures board and find out where your next flight is and start heading that way. Since you’re landing in the international section and leaving again from the international section, I think you’ll be fine on time. Just in case, it might help to check out my tips for short layovers here. Enjoy your trip!
May 4, 2018 @ 4:47 am
Hello, I have an elderly person coming from Nigeria to the USA with a valid US visa but she will have a layover in Paris, France for 3hr55mins before connecting flight to Detroit Michigan, then to Orlando florida,; similar route when going back—orlando florida to Schipol airport in Netherland with a layover of 3hrs before connecting flight back to Lagos, Nigeria. My question is would she need a transit visa as she is not leaving the airport, its just for her to wait and connect to the other flight ? Thank you
May 5, 2018 @ 10:48 am
Hi Mary! I’m not a visa expert by any means, but it looks like she won’t need a Schengen transit visa since she has a valid US visa. But please do your own research, I can’t tell you for sure. There’s some good info to get you started here: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/transit-schengen-visa/
March 19, 2018 @ 5:11 am
I’m going international for the first time and I am absolutely confused about the layovers! The flight looks like this:
Chicago to London and then London to Rome (so basically a layover in London LHR for 1 hour and 40 minutes) would I need to go through customs again? Or just security? Would this be enough time? And would i need to collect my bags? I will be flying British Airways the entire time.
Thank you so much!
March 21, 2018 @ 10:36 am
Hi Danielle! The UK is not in the Schengen Zone (Italy and a couple dozen others are though) and since you’re not staying in the UK, you shouldn’t have to go through customs in London, though I can’t guarantee that because I have heard of a few people who have had to do it. But you should be able to bypass it. When you land, look for signs that say “transfer” or “transit” or “connecting flights” and look for your next gate. If you find yourself faced with a passport control/customs line, find an info desk or employee and ask them where to go for connecting international flights. You’ll probably have to go through security again. Your luggage will be transferred to your next flight, as long as you’ve booked both flights together on one itinerary. An hour 40 minutes should be fine as long as you are able to bypass customs, but just in case, check out my tips for dealing with short layovers here. And since you’re going to Rome, check out my Rome tips here. Enjoy!
March 7, 2018 @ 12:20 am
My husband and I will be traveling from Chicago to Munich with a very short layover in Brussels. From what I have been reading, do I understand correctly that because our both flights are booked together on one itinerary and both Brussels and Munich are both in the Schengen Zone that we would not have to get our checked luggage and go through customs in Brussels? Would we only go through customs in Munich at our final destination? I ask because our layover in Brussels is only an hour and 15 mins. I would just like another person who understands travel better than I intervene here. It would put my mind at ease knowing what is expected prior to our travel date. Thank you
March 8, 2018 @ 3:54 pm
Hi Barb! You are correct that your luggage will get transferred in Brussels to your next flight, no need to worry about that. However, you will have to go through immigration and customs in Brussels since it is your first stop in the Schengen Zone. Your flight from Brussels to Munich is similar to a domestic flight in the US, so there won’t be any immigration/passport control when you land in Munich. An hour 15 minutes could be a little tight, but in my experience flying into Europe, it’s usually much faster than when you’re flying into the US. I have some tips here for dealing with short layovers, but mostly I think it would be helpful for you to see if you can get a seat as close to the front of the plane and an aisle seat for your Chicago to Brussels flight, make sure your carry-on is all packed up before the flight lands, and go to the bathroom on the plane before landing so you don’t have to worry about it in the airport.
Also, when you’re flying back to Chicago, you’ll go through exiting passport control to get stamped out of the Schengen Zone in Brussels, or wherever is your last Schengen airport before returning to the US.
March 3, 2018 @ 8:36 am
So, I know you should arrive 3 hours before flight departure for international flights but I’m not sure whether that 3 hours applies to the departure city or the layover city.
We will depart from Newark at around 815pm and will arrive in Houston by 11:30pm.
We’ll then spend the night at a hotel in the Houston airport.
We’ll continue the journey the next morning with a flight that leaves at around 9am to Managua.
Do I arrive at Newark by 5:15 or 7pm?
Do I arrive the next morning back at the Houston airport by 9am or 6am?
March 7, 2018 @ 9:20 pm
Hi! I don’t think you need to arrive at Newark 3 hours before your flight. International flights leaving the US are really no different than domestic flights, except that someone along the way will look at your passport – either the agent when you check in (if you check in at the airport) or the agent when you’re boarding the flight. If you can check in online ahead of time, that will save you a little hassle. If this was me, I’d probably get to Newark by around 6:30, although with rush hour traffic, you might want to aim a little earlier, even if it means you end up with extra time at the airport. I think rush hour is more the issue due to your flight time. As for the next morning in Houston, if your flight leaves at 9am, I’d probably aim for about 6:30 or 7am to get to the airport. You might also have to collect and recheck your luggage in this case since flight #1 leaves so much earlier than flight #2, so definitely ask when you check your bags for the first flight.
When you’re coming back (assuming this is a round trip journey) you’ll need plenty of time leaving Managua to go through exiting passport control in addition to all the normal stuff like security and checking your bags.
March 3, 2018 @ 2:24 am
Thank you this very useful article ! I found it very helpful since I am looking for this very particular information.
I have question which is almost similar to the one asked before but with a slight and specific variation.
If travelling on an International route (Bangalore – Singapore – Auckland) , the origin is Bangalore and destination is Auckland and you have to connect in between because there is no direct flight. So I choose Singapore as my connecting airport. In order get the least expensive tickets, I do not use same airline and not even partner airlines. I find my own combination – say Indigo airways and Scoot which are both low cost airlines and I know they do not provide automatic connection because they are not partners.
The specific situation that I have is that I DO NOT WANT TO TAKE ANY CHECKED IN LUGGAGE on the flight. Only plan to to take hand luggage – a small bag.
In this scenario – can I check-in online and print out boarding pass at home for both the flights – so that I do not have to go into Singapore though the immigration and the get back in the transit area for the next flight ? This is because I do not want to get a transit travel document such as visa for the Singapore transit. I just want to go to my connecting flight directly.
Will the airlines and security allow for home printed boarding passes ? Or do they insist on the small plastic ones that they give at the airport (they give it even if you have checked in and printed your own boarding pass).
So over all will I be able to transit this way by choosing my own flights for the two parts of the journey instead of going through partner airlines / same airlines so as to get a lower price – supposing I have no checked-in luggage.
Aside the boarding pass concern, is there any other concern to find my own connection flights ?
March 7, 2018 @ 9:13 pm
Hi Simon! As long as the airlines you book have online check-in (which they probably do) AND you are able to check in online for both of them ahead of time, you *should* be fine. If the second flight leaves quite a bit after the first flight and the time period for online check in hasn’t opened yet, then you won’t be able to print both boarding passes ahead of time. If that’s the case, you could print your flight confirmation for the second flight in case someone asks to see it. I think the biggest thing here is checking to see if you require a transit visa for Singapore based on your nationality. If you do need one, doing what you’re talking about won’t matter, you’d still need the transit visa. But if you don’t need a transit visa, I think you’ll be fine with this plan. I can’t make you any guarantees, so definitely check the embassy website for info about transit visas for your nationality.
February 17, 2018 @ 9:42 am
Hellooo, so I’m flying to the US for the first time at the end of May. This is also the first time I’ve had checked bag and not just a carry on. I’m flying from Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare, departing at 0820 and arriving at around 1130ish. I have a 6 hour layover then a flight to Tulsa.
My question is what will happen to my luggage when I arrive in Chicago O’Hare? Do I have to get it and then re check it in or will it be moved to where it needs to? Also, when I flying back I’m flying from Tulsa to Charlotte with a 5hr layover, then I fly back to Heathrow, I’m assuming the situation with luggage would be the same?
Not sure if I’ll get an answer or not as it’s so far from when this was posted… worth a try.
February 17, 2018 @ 11:06 am
Hi Jago! No worries, I still answer these questions as best as I can! When you arrive in Chicago from London, you will have to go through immigration and customs, and claim and recheck your bags. That’s because Chicago is your US point of entry, and that’s just how the US does things. You’ll also have to go through security again before your next flight. 6 hours should be PLENTY of time, so I wouldn’t worry about any of that. When you’re leaving at the end of your trip, it’s actually a lot easier. Someone will check your passport when you check in for your flight in Tulsa, but the US doesn’t have any official exiting passport control like in most other countries. Your bags will be tagged to go to your final destination, and you won’t have to do anything special in Charlotte, just find your next gate. A gate agent there might look at your passport again, but that’s about it. This is all assuming you’ve booked your flights on one itinerary, which it sounds like you did. Enjoy your trip!
February 17, 2018 @ 5:41 pm
I did indeed book it in one! And that’s great, I appreciate it. Thanks a lot!