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  1. ashytom
    March 4, 2024 @ 1:17 pm

    I’ve just found out about the Schengen ETIAS policy, sounds like a lot of people will need it soon!

    This says that from 2025 anyone who can enter without a visa will have to get it: but it sounds like it’s been pushed back a lot.

    Do you know anything else about it?


    • Ali Garland, travel packing expert 20+ years
      March 6, 2024 @ 2:48 pm

      Yes, it’s been pushed back so many times, which is why I don’t even mention it yet. Whenever it does go into effect, it is NOT a visa. It’s for citizens of the US, Canada, and a bunch of other countries that don’t need visas, and you basically fill in a form and pay a small fee, and it’s valid for several years. It’s very similar to what EU citizens already have to do to visit the US. Whenever this does go into effect, I will update this blog post to include the info, but until it’s official, I wouldn’t worry about it. You can’t do it until it’s official, and they’re obviously having some issues since this was supposed to go into effect years ago and keeps getting delayed.

  2. Sourath
    February 28, 2023 @ 9:28 pm

    Hi Kim my name is Sourath
    I was in Paris from Dec12-22 to Jan 22-23. When can I allowed to travel to Paris again. I have US passport. I am confused about 90/180 rule.
    Greatly appreciate your help

    • Ali Garland
      March 1, 2023 @ 2:23 pm

      Hi Sourath! Yeah, the 90 days out of 180 rule can be a bit confusing. If you entered the Schengen Zone (in Paris) on December 12, that’s day 1 of your 180 day window. Remember it’s anywhere in the Schengen Zone that counts, so any of the countries listed in this article. You spent 13 days in Paris with those two trips. So you can return for another 77 days, although I would probably be cautious and do a few less. This is within the 180 day period that started on December 12, and 180 days later is roughly June 9th. Again, I would be a little cautious on that and aim for maybe June 6th or something just to be safe, like if there’s a flight delay or cancellation or something else that keeps you in the Schengen Zone. But you are allowed 90 days starting with December 12 and ending with around June 9 or a bit earlier. You have so far used 13 days, so you have 77 days left, maybe I’d say 75 to be safe. I hope that makes sense!

      • Sourath
        March 1, 2023 @ 11:28 pm

        Hi Ali thanks for your response. I will wait for another 3 months after June 9 which is 180 period to visit in September. Then I should be find. Thanks again!

  3. Kim Ekengren
    April 17, 2022 @ 11:28 pm

    Nevermind! I think I figured it out. (I forgot to mention that I am in Morocco).. I can fly into and out of London and avoid the tricky Schengen situation (& the flights are cheaper! 🙂 )

    • Ali Garland
      April 28, 2022 @ 3:25 pm

      Hi Kim, I’m glad you found a solution! The Schengen Zone can be tricky, and you don’t want to overstay and risk getting in trouble.

  4. Kim
    April 17, 2022 @ 11:12 pm

    Hi there! I am having a real hard time coming up with a solution to this tricky situation. I spent 2 months in Crete and 1 month in Gran Canaria, exhausting my 90 day visa. However, all the flights I look at flying to another country (Turkey, Egypt or other places outside of Europe) have a very long layover in a Schengen country! How do I get around this?? I do not think they’ll let me stay overnight now that I’ve already stayed my 90 days in Schengen. Help!

  5. Mia
    February 20, 2022 @ 11:50 pm

    I am traveling to Italy and Sweden on a Uk passport and I would like to stay for 6 months but I know 3 months is the time I also have a Canadian passport can I during my time with in 90 days in Italy exit Shengen to Croatia for a few days and then go back in fresh to Italy on my Canadian passport for a 90 day stay

    • Ali Garland
      February 22, 2022 @ 2:13 pm

      Hi Mia! I can’t say for sure if this is possible, but since it’s still YOU, I imagine it is technically against the rules. But I could easily see it working. Sorry, I can’t advise you on what’s the right decision.

  6. Gonzalo
    February 3, 2022 @ 11:16 am

    Hi Ali, I’m Gonzalo from Colombia.

    First, thanks for taking the time to explain all of this, it can get confusing sometimes.

    I have a tricky one, I’m planning to travel from Bogotá to Paris in December 2022, and my flight has a stop in London.

    The thing is a came across this information regarding an ETIAS France requirement (, I couldn’t find that in your post and I wanted to ask you (and your community) since this ETIAS thing is supposed to be live precisely in late 2022.

    I’m a bit confused about how could this affect my trip, especially considering my stop in London.

    Any help will be much appreciated!

    • Ali Garland
      February 15, 2022 @ 12:28 pm

      Hi Gonzalo, sorry for the late reply! The ETIAS thing isn’t in effect yet. From my research, it won’t be mandatory until sometime in 2023: Although that website says it’s starting “late 2022”, this one says it’s not going into effect until 2023, which is what I’ve mostly heard: Since you can’t really do anything about it right now, I wouldn’t worry about it. Check the website as your trip gets closer, because you’re too far ahead of time right now anyway. If they’ve made it possible to register by the time your trip gets here, you should do it.

      As for the London layover, that’s not a big deal. The UK isn’t part of the EU or the Schengen Zone, and since you’re not staying there, you should be able to bypass customs and immigration. When you land, look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and you should be able to go through security again and continue on to your next gate. I have info about how layovers work here. That said, you should check the UK embassy website to make sure you don’t need a transit visa, just to be sure.

      I hope this helps but let me know if you have any other questions!

  7. Geraldine Chavez Saldivar
    November 1, 2020 @ 9:17 pm

    Hello Ali, thanks for the article very appreciated so I need your opinion please. It will be my first time traveling to Europe (Schengen Zone) and I don´t need visa to transit (from Peru). So my tickets are Lima, Peru – Paris (8h layover) and final destination Amsterdam. My boyfriend lives in Amsterdam and all the forms that I need to enter will be from the Netherlands so was wondering if I need to change them since my check point will be Paris? For me is pretty logical to use the forms from the Netherlands but still with some doubts about it. And just wanna doble confirm that from Paris to Amsterdam will be a domestic flight and I wont need to go trough migrations control again?
    Finally, regarding my luggage do you think I will need to check in again from Paris to Amsterdam. My flights are with Air France and KLM, they both are part of Sky Team alliance.
    Thanks so much for your time and looking forward for you reply.



    • Ali Garland
      November 11, 2020 @ 10:57 am

      Hi Geraldine, sorry for the delayed response, I was offline for a bit. When you land in Paris, that is your point of entry into the Schengen Zone, so they are the ones who will verify that you have permission to be there. So if you have forms showing you’re allowed to be in the Netherlands, that’s what you’ll show the immigration/passport control people in Paris. For example, I live in Berlin with a residence visa (I’m a US citizen) and if I transit through another city like Paris, I show them my visa. It should work the same for your papers for the Netherlands.

      And yes, the Paris to Amsterdam flight is very similar to a domestic flight, so you won’t go through any other customs or immigration procedures there, only upon entering the Schengen Zone through Paris. Your checked luggage *should* get transferred from one flight to the next since your flights are together and with partner airlines, but it’s always best to verify that when you check your luggage.

  8. Clare Copeman
    February 20, 2020 @ 10:00 pm

    I have a house in Spain and am a British Citizen. Up to the end of the year I have spent 182 days a year there. But as of January 2021 will I only be able to spend 90 days in 180 days and then be out of Spain for 90 days before I can really enter Spain again for 90 days? How can I get a 182 day visa as I own a house there? Thanks. Clare

    • Ali Garland
      February 23, 2020 @ 8:07 pm

      Hi Clare! Unfortunately there’s still a lot that’s unknown about how the rules will apply for UK citizens spending time in a Schengen country. But currently for all other non-EU citizens, the rule is 90 days in a 180 day period. So that would mean you could be in Spain for 90 days, then you’d have to be out for 90 days before you can reenter. And remember that the day you leave will also count as the first day out of the Schengen Zone, so you might want to actually wait 91 or 92 days. But also, talk to your local foreigner’s office in Spain, maybe you can get a resident visa depending on your situation. I don’t know how it works in Spain because I live in Germany, but check out some expat groups on FB for your area. I’m sure there are other people in a similar situation, and you might be able to find some better answers there about whether you might qualify for a visa. It’s pretty difficult to get a normal tourist visa for longer than the standard 90 days. But Spain has something called a non-lucrative visa, which is for people who don’t need a Spanish job or the Spanish healthcare system, and you might qualify for that. I don’t know all the details though.

  9. Helena
    November 15, 2019 @ 9:17 pm

    Hey Ali
    Thank you for your information, I need you opinion. I am Canadian citizen I didn’t need visa to inter Schengen country only the 90 days rules which I had no idea. So have over stayed in Norway for couple of month and now I want to leave the country with out fee to pay or ban. So am thinking to go from France to London by train and hoping I only getting checked with uk migration control not to have a stamp leaving Schengen and for them not finding out over staying , what do you think?? Pls I need you advice on this.

    • Ali Garland
      November 16, 2019 @ 11:04 am

      Hi Helena! Leaving through France to UK on the train is probably one of the WORST ways to leave the Schengen Zone if you’ve overstayed. The UK immigration is notorious for thoroughly checking through passports and grilling people who they think might try to overstay in the UK, so if you’ve already overstayed in the Schengen Zone, the UK might not even let you in. And France will almost definitely check your passport to see when you entered in order to stamp you out of Schengen. I would avoid the UK at all costs.

      I’m guessing you’re trying to get back to Canada? I’ve always heard there’s a good chance of not getting caught for overstaying if you fly out from Italy or Greece or Spain. Italy seems to be one of the countries I hear the most about not checking so closely. Obviously I can’t make you any guarantees. No matter where you go, you might run into an agent who really wants to check through your passport, and remember that overstaying is illegal and they have every right to fine you, ban you, or whatever. But leaving from Italy would probably be worth trying. Just make sure your flight from Italy is the one that leaves the Schengen Zone, so no connecting from Italy to Germany, for example. I just did a quick search, and there’s a direct flight from Rome to Toronto on Air Transat.

      Good luck, I hope you make it through with no problems. If you think of it, come back and let me know how it went!

  10. Mario
    November 5, 2019 @ 11:11 pm

    I was in Italy for 90 continual days. I have been back in the U.S. for two weeks. I found out that I need to travel to Albania for work in another two weeks. The flight they booked goes through Rome’s FCO airport. Since I have already used by allotted 90-day tourist visa and must wait another 3 months before I can reenter, is it okay for me to layover in Rome? It would be great if I could layover in Rome and see my fiance. I can’t find any real help on this on the web. Thanks.

    • Ali Garland
      November 6, 2019 @ 10:56 am

      Hi Mario! If you’ve already used your 90 days for the Schengen Zone, you will not be able to leave the airport in Rome. A layover should be fine since your just connecting to Albania, which means you won’t have to go through customs and immigration.

    • Helena
      November 16, 2019 @ 12:06 pm

      Hi Ali
      Thank you again, that’s very helpful information am glad you you told me. Actually my plan is not going to Canada. I want to be out of Schengen zone for a week and I want to come back again. My situation is I have a fiancé in Norway but when I over stayed we had no idea that we need to extended the visa so we just learn that. And now on order for me to stay with him in Norway I want get out and back with out getting back and try to apply for permanent visa. Am 6 month pregnant and I want to have my baby here in Norway. So do you think getting out of Italy to turkey would be good option? So turkey is non Schengen So they wouldn’t check me out? Or any batter idea where to go from Schengen Zone to non Schengen and back again as new visitor??
      Thank you so much for your time.

      • Ali Garland
        November 16, 2019 @ 6:52 pm

        You can’t really leave the Schengen Zone and then go back in so quickly. You’re only allowed to be in for 90 days out of every 180, which means once you’ve used up your 90 days and leave the Schengen Zone, you can’t go back until another 90 days has passed. If leaving from Italy works, you will still get stamped out of the Schengen Zone. It’s just the hope that they won’t notice when you entered the Schengen Zone, and therefore won’t fine you or anything. But I think it’s risky to try to come back after that because not only will you have to go through immigration again when entering the Schengen Zone, but the airline is required to verify that you are allowed to go, which means more people checking your passport, and it’s likely that they’ll see you’ve overstayed and won’t let you on the flight back to a Schengen country. I don’t know if it’s easier if you were to go over land, like flying from Norway to Hungary (since there won’t be any immigration/passport control for a flight within the Schengen Zone) and then taking a bus or train into Romania or Serbia, neither of which are Schengen countries. But you will still go through border control and someone will still check your passport, I just don’t know if it’s easier that way to not get found out that you overstayed.

        Have you spoken to an immigration expert or lawyer in Norway? Maybe there’s a way to apply for a partner visa or family visa or something like that? Or maybe you could get married sooner than you planned? I know that’s not ideal, but I feel like if you leave the Schengen Zone, even successfully, you might not be able to get back in for another 3 months, and that gets you to your due date. Honestly I think your best option at this point is to find an immigration lawyer in Norway who can help you with your options and see what the best steps might be. Because really what you need is the ability to stay in Norway legally, and that’s definitely outside of my area of expertise.

    • Helen
      February 23, 2020 @ 8:57 pm

      Hey Ali I came back to update you about my situation , am home safe. I got lucky I came back to Canada with out any problem. My flight was from Oslo to Denmark, then to Toronto Canada. But they had weather problems, so they changed my flight from Oslo to Frankfurt. So since I was in Norway for 13 month with out visa, I was preperd to get panshed. there was no passport check from Oslo to Frankfurt. I was expecting for them to check my passport in Frankfurt since I had to leave Schengen from Frankfurt. I arrived there and handed my passport to the officer, and the officer checked my passport and count every page. Then stamp right beside where they stamp it in Norway the first time I arrived. At that point I believe she checked the date but she dose not say anything and she let me pass, I arrived to Canada with out any problem or fees. So maybe Germany is not very strict or I got lucky. Am so happy that everything went smooth. And good luck everyone in a station.

      • Ali Garland
        February 28, 2020 @ 1:40 pm

        You definitely got lucky! I wonder if the passport agent got confused and forgot we’re in 2020 now and it looked like you had only been there a month. In any case, I’m glad you made it back with no problems, just remember you can’t go back on a tourist visa for at least 90 days. And I wouldn’t recommend overstaying again, you might not get so lucky next time around!

  11. Duyen
    November 5, 2019 @ 3:04 pm

    Dear all,

    I am Vietnamese and just got a Type D long term visa of Belgium. I moved to Belgium last Fri with my husband. My husband is Vietnamese too and have worked in Belgium for 2 years. Could you please support to show me that whether i am able to visit other countries within Schengen Zone without ID card because i have not registerred yet? Many thanks.

    • Ali Garland
      November 6, 2019 @ 10:50 am

      If you have a long term visa for Belgium, you should be able to travel to other Schengen countries with no problems, BUT please verify with the foreigner’s office where you live because I can’t say with complete certainty what the rules are about your particular visa.

    • Helena
      February 28, 2020 @ 1:58 pm

      Thank you so much. No actually I learn my leason. It was so stressful to figure it out. But you are right I am not going back before 90 days.

  12. Bhavika Arora
    October 14, 2019 @ 12:44 pm


    I am an Indian with D type long stay visa for Denmark. Can I travel to other schengen countries with that. The stamp mentions ‘Denmark’ and not ‘Schengen States’. Will that be a problem? I will be taking flight from Copenhagen to other scehngen countries as I am living in Copenhagen right now.

    • Ali Garland
      October 15, 2019 @ 11:12 am

      Hi Bhavika! I’m not a visa expert, so I really can’t advise you on this. I can tell you from my own experience with a residence visa in Germany that I am allowed to travel to other Schengen countries, but I believe you are still only allowed 90 days out of 180 in other Schengen countries. But I’m not completely sure of all the rules with this, especially since I don’t know how your specific visa works or what Denmark’s approach is. Your best option is to ask the foreigners office there or maybe check expat/foreigner groups on FB and see if anyone has better info for you. I’m almost positive you would be fine to take a vacation to another Schengen country, especially since you won’t go through passport control anyway, but I don’t want to give you false information.

  13. Christina
    September 23, 2019 @ 3:42 am

    Next month I’m traveling to the UK from the US. Then we are taking the train from the UK to Germany. We will be flying back to the US from Germany. I guess we will get our passports checked in the UK and then in Brussels when we switch trains? Then we will be ok flying out of Germany even though we never got a stamp that we entered Germany?

    • Ali Garland
      September 24, 2019 @ 11:29 am

      Hi Christina! Yes, you will get stamped out of the UK before you get on the train. I think they even do the Schengen/Belgium entrance passport control at the train station immediately after you get stamped out of the UK if I remember correctly. I haven’t done it in over 4 years, but I’m almost positive we did exiting UK and entering Schengen while still in the train station in London. That way they don’t have to worry about which train station you’re getting out at on the other side. Any borders you cross within the Schengen Zone, so from Belgium to Germany as an example, will not involve border control. And when you leave from Germany, the exiting passport control agent will look for the stamp where you entered the Schengen Zone, so they’ll look for that Belgium stamp. You don’t need a stamp into Germany since you will get one entering Belgium.

      • Christina
        September 24, 2019 @ 2:45 pm

        Thank you so much! That’s what I understood, but wanted to make sure. It’s a tad confusing when going to both the UK and Germany.

  14. Magdalena Juliati
    September 19, 2019 @ 7:34 am

    My name is Julia , I’m indonesian citizen and got a SINGLE entry Schengen Visa from Findland Embassy .

    My travel plan is like this :
    *I am going to enter Findland direct to Helsinki with Turkish Airlines
    *Stay there a couple of days
    *Fly to Rome through Helsinki Airport with Finnair direct flight

    My question s are :
    *Do I need to enter immigration before going to Rome from Helsinki ?
    *Will they chop ‘exit’ there(means my visa will be ended)
    * I am worrying about this “single entry visa” as I will travelling to 2 schengen countries ( Findland and Italy)

    Can anybody help me ?

    • Ali Garland
      September 19, 2019 @ 10:01 am

      Hi Magdalena! A Schengen tourist visa allows you entry into the entire Schengen Zone. If it’s single entry, that means you wouldn’t be allowed to leave the zone and come back in on the same visa. But you are allowed to move around between countries that are in the Schengen Zone, so even though Finland issued your visa, you can still travel to as many Schengen countries as you want to within the timeframe of your tourist visa. So if you’re flying to Finland, that’s where you’ll enter the Schengen Zone and your visa will start. Italy is still within the Schengen Zone, so you are allowed to go there. You’ll have to go through security to get on the Helsinki to Rome flight, but you will not go through customs and immigration. They treat flying from one Schengen country to another like a domestic flight in that way. I hope that helps!

      • Magdalena Juliati
        September 19, 2019 @ 3:18 pm

        Thank you very much , it really helps !

  15. Lovina Newton
    July 22, 2019 @ 9:23 am

    Hello, my name is Lovina Newton and I am from India. I will be travelling to London this september on a student visa for my course. I was going through your articles, while trying to get more information on travelling by air. At the same time, while browsing through webpages of various airlines to see what options I have to choose from, I came across a quite economic business class flight with Air France partnered with KLM, but it has 2 layovers on the route. So the first flight is from Mumbai to Paris (operated by Air France), the second is after a layover of about 3 hours from Paris to Amsterdam (operated by KLM) and again after a layover of about 3 hours, the third flight is from Amsterdam to London (operated by KLM). I am a bit confused with this Schengen countries thing. Could you please explain to me how this particular route will work and is it recommended to fly with these two layovers or should I go with a route that has just one layover?

    • Ali Garland
      July 22, 2019 @ 11:04 am

      Hi Lovina! If you book a flight that goes to Paris and Amsterdam, you will have to go through customs and immigration in Paris and then exiting passport control in Amsterdam since France and Netherlands are both in the Schengen Zone. So if you need a visa to go to the Schengen Zone countries (I don’t know if Indian citizens require one or not) then this is not a good option. I tend to go for flights with the least number of layovers since layover can be a hassle.

      • Lovina Newton
        July 24, 2019 @ 9:49 am

        Okay. Thank you for your help!

  16. Wassim
    July 19, 2019 @ 1:19 am

    Thank you for the information…
    I’m a lebanese citizen and I have a multiple entry shengen visa and I’m planning to fly to germany from turkey then go to Switzerland by bus and then flying back from zurich to istanbul …can I do that or I must exit from germany because someone told me that this might affect future shengen visa applications and I might be ban…is this correct????

    • Ali Garland
      July 22, 2019 @ 10:37 am

      Hi Wassim! I’m not a visa expert so I really can’t answer your visa questions, but it’s my understanding that the Schengen tourist visa gives you access to any country in the whole region, so you can enter or exit any country in the Schengen Zone. If you got your Schengen visa from Germany, that’s the country you’re expected to spend the most time in, but you could easily have a flight home that went from somewhere in Germany and connected into another Schengen country before flying to Zurich. I think the person who told you that is wrong, but PLEASE check with the authorities who issued you the Schengen visa to be sure. I cannot make you any guarantees.

  17. Tim
    June 23, 2019 @ 5:55 am

    Thanks for the information. I’m planning on flying from the US to Amsterdam and visiting the city for a day. The next day I will fly from Amsterdam to Frankfurt and spend a few days in Germany. After my time in Germany, I will fly from Frankfurt back to the US. If I am reading this information correctly, when I travel between Amsterdam and Frankfurt, there won’t be a passport check. Since I will only get an entry stamp when I arrive in Amsterdam and an exit stamp when I leave Frankfurt, will it look suspicious on my passport when I arrive back in the US and it doesn’t have an exit stamp from the Netherlands nor an entry stamp into Germany? Probably a silly question, as I’m sure that people from the US enter one Schengen country and leave out of another when headed back home all the time. I’m a novice when it comes to international travel. Just making sure I do things correctly. Thanks again for the info and help!

    • Ali Garland
      June 26, 2019 @ 11:16 am

      Hi Tim! Correct, there won’t be any border control between the Netherlands and Germany, so you’ll have an entry stamp from Amsterdam and an exit stamp from Frankfurt. And this is totally normal, no one will question it. The Frankfurt passport control agent might flip through your passport to find your entry stamp into the Schengen Zone because they want to make sure you didn’t overstay, but that’s about it. Enjoy your trip!

      • Tim
        June 27, 2019 @ 9:28 am

        Thank you so much!

  18. Gill
    May 10, 2019 @ 5:29 pm

    Thank you for that information. If we have flown in to Amsterdam, travel to Czech Republic then Croatia can we leave from Croatia or must we go back into a Schengen area to fly out?
    Many thanks

    • Ali Garland
      May 14, 2019 @ 10:06 am

      Hi Gill! Yes, you can leave from Croatia. When you leave Czech Republic to go to Croatia, you’ll have to go through immigration and get stamped out of Schengen. So if you’re flying, you’ll go through exiting passport control in Czech Republic, they’ll stamp you out, and then you’ll go through immigration in Croatia and get stamped in. Then you’ll get stamped out of Croatia when you fly out to go home. If you’re traveling overland from Czech Republic to Croatia, you’ll get stamped out of the Schengen Zone at the border of the last Schengen country you’re in before entering Croatia (probably Slovenia).

  19. Sarap
    February 15, 2019 @ 3:48 am

    HI Ali,

    So I am a US citizen and will be travelling to Lisbon, Portugal. On my return flight from Lisbon there is an 18 hr layover in Brussels. We want to go explore are we allowed to leave and come back a few hours before the flight? We wouldn’t have to go through customs and immigration if we leave the airport and go through security again, would we?

    • Ali Garland
      February 15, 2019 @ 5:25 pm

      Yes, you can leave the airport, and with such a long layover, I’d highly recommend it! So here’s what’ll happen: When you fly from Lisbon to Brussels, it’ll feel similar to a domestic flight in the US. Someone might look at your passport when you check in, but you won’t go through passport control in Lisbon. When you arrive in Brussels, you are free to leave the airport and enjoy your long layover. The only part that’s a little iffy is your checked luggage. Normally it would automatically be transferred from the Lisbon-Brussels flight to the Brussels-US flight, but sometimes with such a long layover, they aren’t able to do it. So you’ll want to verify with the airline how they’ll handle that. If they can’t transfer your checked luggage because of the long layover, either take it to your hotel if you’re getting a hotel for the night, or if not, it looks like the Brussels Midi train station has luggage lockers. The next day when it’s time for your flight to the US, I recommend getting back to the airport at least 2 hours ahead of your flight, as if this is your first flight on your itinerary. If you had to take your checked bags, drop them off with the airline. Then you’ll have to go through exiting passport control to get stamped out of the Schengen Zone and you’ll have to go through the security checkpoint. You might go through everything in a matter of minutes, but if there are long lines, you want to make sure you have plenty of time for it. If you have more questions about a long layover, I have a few post here and here that should be helpful. I also have a post about Brussels if you’re looking for things to do in Brussels. Enjoy, and eat lots of Belgian chocolate!

  20. Rachel Ellis
    December 28, 2018 @ 9:24 pm

    I am travelling from the US to Belgrade in March of 2019. On my return flight, I have an 18-hr layover at the Frankfurt airport. The first two segments of my 3-segment flight itinerary is as follows:
    Belgrade to Frankfurt
    – 18 hr layover in Frankfurt
    Frankfurt to Houston International

    I am a US Citizen. I will have a carry-on bag only.

    In Frankfurt, can I exit the airport (in order to do some sightseeing and to stay overnight at a hotel) and then re-enter through airport security the next morning 3 hrs prior to the flight to Houston? Are there any considerations for my doing this?

    • Ali Garland
      December 30, 2018 @ 5:16 pm

      Hi Rachel! Yes, you can leave the airport in Frankfurt on your layover and go explore the city a bit and get a hotel. Since Serbia is not in the Schengen Zone but Germany is, you’ll have to go through immigration and customs in Frankfurt to get stamped into Schengen. Then you’re free to go enjoy the city! If your airline was NOT able to print your Frankfurt-Houston boarding pass (which is possible given the long layover time) then you’ll have to either go online at your hotel and print it or go to a check-in counter in FRA before your flight to get it printed. Sometimes the airline just can’t print the second boarding pass if the second flight is more than 24 hours ahead, so you might be ok on this one. Either way, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Then you’ll have to go through exiting passport control to get stamped out of Schengen. How long you need for this varies greatly depending on the lines. I used to live near there and use that airport a lot, and sometimes it was quick, but other times it took an hour to get through. I think getting to the airport 3 hours ahead of your flight is plenty of time. You might end up with too much time on your hands, but if it’s one of those days where there is a ridiculous line, you’ll be glad to have that time. After passport control, you’ll start heading towards your gate and go through security. It should all be easy. I have more info about layovers here: . Also, the Frankfurt airport has a train station and Sbahn lines, and you can easily use the Sbahn to get into the center of the city. Enjoy!

  21. Ozay S
    May 10, 2018 @ 7:38 am

    Hi, I have a question about layover. I will have to stay more than 4-5 hours (sometimes 6) in one of the Europe countries. Is there any restriction about layover? because some of my friends told me there are Schengen visa rules applied even we stay for layover in airport waiting another flight in those countries, such as Greece, Italy. Any help? Should I get any visa for only layover? I am a citizen of Turkey, and flying to Albania. only I have to transit Italy or Germany.

    • Ali Garland
      May 10, 2018 @ 9:59 am

      Hi Ozay! I’m not a visa expert, but check this link to get you started looking into whether or not you need a visa to transit through the Schengen Zone: They do list Turkey as a country whose citizens would need a transit visa, but I suggest contacting the embassy and asking more questions. I also have layover tips here.

      • Ozay S
        May 10, 2018 @ 11:59 am

        Well, lastly, I came over Rome, tiran to Singapore, and they did not ask for visa. but this time I am just hesitating.

        • Ali Garland
          May 10, 2018 @ 1:33 pm

          Yeah I’m sorry, I just don’t know enough about the visas for other countries to help you on this one.

          • OS
            May 11, 2018 @ 1:49 am

            Thank you for your help, I found that information in Italy embassy’s website. For others who are looking for.
            The citizens of the following countries are required to obtain visas for transit through Italian airports (Airport Transit Visa – ATV) as per Art. 3, EC Reg. no. 810/2009:

            Democratic Republic of Congo
            Sri Lanka

  22. Elizabeth
    October 26, 2017 @ 11:07 pm

    Hi Ali,

    Came across your blog looking into flights for my little sister. She’s flying from Miami, FL to Florence, Italy for a study-abroad trip. She’ll be there for 5months so we know she needs an Italian visa. Her flights there and back have a layover in Zurich, Switzerland. From what I understand, she doesn’t need an additional transit visa because both Switzerland and Italy are within the Schengen zone.

    But, I’m a little confused on your explanation of the single entry situation. Specifically this part: “So if you’re traveling throughout Europe for four months, 90 days of that can be within the Schengen countries, but the remaining 30 days must be somewhere else, such as the UK, Ireland, Croatia, Romania, etc. The 90 days don’t have to be consecutive though, just within the 180 day period.”……..Could you maybe help clarify?

    Thanks so much!

    • Ali Garland
      October 27, 2017 @ 1:43 pm

      Hi Elizabeth! You are correct, she will not need any additional visa to transit through Switzerland. Since she will have to get a student visa of some kind to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days, she won’t have to worry about the 90 days out of every 180 rule. It’s only for people traveling without any longer stay visa. But what that rule means is for normal tourists, you’re only allowed to be in the Schengen Zone for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 day period. So a tourist can’t travel to, for example, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal for one month each because that would be longer than 90 days. But that person could spend a month in Germany, a month in Italy, then leave the Schengen Zone and go to the UK for a month, and then back into Schengen to France for a month. That would amount to 90 days total within the Schengen Zone. The clock starts ticking on the first day you enter the Schengen Zone, so that’s day 1 of 180, and within those 180 days, you’re allowed 90 days in Schengen countries. But like I said, this will not apply to your sister because she will have to get a student visa to study abroad in Italy for 5 months. With that visa, she will also be able to travel to other parts of the Schengen Zone with no issues. If she has to deal with any border control (which doesn’t happen often within Schengen) she will have to show her visa so they know she’s allowed to be there for more than 90 days. If she wants to travel to non-Schengen countries, she’ll probably have to show her visa to get back into Schengen. So if she wants to take weekend trips to other parts of Europe, she totally can. I hope this makes sense!

  23. Daouda
    July 5, 2016 @ 5:12 pm

    If I am a permanent resident in the us & don’t need a transit visa in a schengen airport does it mean I have access to the baggage claim & recheck my luggage on a different airline company ?

    • Ali Garland
      July 6, 2016 @ 10:23 am

      Hi Daouda! If you have two flights that are not on the same itinerary (you booked each one separately) then you’ll have to go through immigration and customs, claim your luggage, and check it with the next airline. It helps that you don’t need a visa for the Schengen Zone, but it doesn’t really affect having to claim and recheck your luggage. If you’ve booked your flights on the same itinerary, your luggage should get tagged to go to your final destination, even if they’re on different airlines, as long as the airlines are partners. Which they are in most cases if you were able to book them on the same itinerary. I hope that helps!

  24. Matthew Cheyne
    June 25, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

    Thank you for spelling out the Schengen Zone in this article. One remark I would like to make is that it is quite strange that the UK, being such an important member of the EU, is not part of the Schengen Zone yet Iceland, a non-EU member actually is in the zone. Your article spells out the real world implications of the Schengen Zone in an easy to read manner and for that I am deeply grateful.

    • Ali Garland
      June 25, 2014 @ 9:50 pm

      Glad to help, Matthew! I’ve had this sitting in my drafts for awhile, so thanks for asking questions about the Schengen zone on my other site last week, it nudged me to finish this post.

      I don’t really understand why certain countries decided to become part of Schengen and others didn’t. I can only guess that the UK decided they wanted their own control over their own borders. In theory, you can get up to 6 months on a tourist visa to the UK, which is obviously even better than Schengen, but then I’ve heard soooo many stories from people (long term travelers really) who have had problems with UK passport control/immigration giving them a hard time, denying them entry for no real reason, or just giving them a week or two. Who knows.

      But yes, Schengen, the EU, and the use of the euro are all mostly separate.

      • Matthew Cheyne
        June 25, 2014 @ 10:07 pm

        I can understand the obvious reasons why Europeans want closer integration but they have made a total mess of it. Europe needs to decide whether it becomes one federated super state or not with all the problems, rights and responsibilities that that entails for all of its citizens.

        Imagine the United States (or Australia) being run according the the European example. It would be totally ludicrous to have a common border policy in the US but have different currencies in operation in say New York, Chicago and LA. It would be even stranger if Americans in Chicago had a different visa rule applying to them when they travel abroad to Americans in New York or LA. But that’s the reality for Europeans and they wonder why their continent has so many problems.

        I’m not trying to say that the United States or Australia are superior countries to Europe because at least in terms of education outcomes and the state of their infrastructure, the complete reverse is true. But the day is coming in my opinion, at least in a practice sense whereby Europe will have to decide whether it goes down the federated albeit mega nation state model and abolish the Schengen Zone, the different currencies in play across the EU, and even the EU itself as in this case it may no longer be relevant in a federated union of states. From the outside looking in, its just too complicated, costly and unwieldly to maintain forever.

        And there you have it. My take on the Schengen Zone 🙂

        • Ali Garland
          June 26, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

          I think it’s that they’re NOT one country, it’s many countries. So it makes things more complicated. And I think the Schengen zone is actually the least of the issues. I think if Schengen didn’t exist, it would be too easy for people to “live” in Europe without getting a visa because they could easily bounce around from one country to another. They can still do it now, but it’s a little harder when they only have 90 days in this block of 26 countries. The euro is good for a lot of things but also causes lots of problems for some countries. They’ll never fully merge into one country because they all have such different cultures, languages and histories, and I can understand that. But because they’re mostly small (geographically) countries, it makes sense to have these agreements in place to make things less complicated, even if it sometimes adds complications in other ways. I can’t imagine having to deal with passport checks every time we went to France or Switzerland. I’m no expert on the EU (which is really separate from Schengen) but it does seem to have its problems.

          • Ann
            August 7, 2017 @ 11:34 pm

            Hello im a filipino which was granted a schengen visa single entry for tourist. I entered thru rome italy. We will be visiting greece which is still part of the schengen area but has booked a ticket ( rome – greece ) with a layover of 1 hour at istanbul turkey. We were not allowed to board the plane because the officerS said we had already used up our single entry visa by going out of rome. What shall we do?

          • Ali Garland
            August 8, 2017 @ 4:38 pm

            Hi Ann, I’m sorry this happened to you. Since your flight went through Istanbul, you did technically leave the Schengen Zone, and since you only have a single entry on your visa, that’s why they wouldn’t let you on that flight. I’m not sure why the airline employee who checked you into the Rome flight didn’t point this out and even stop you from boarding the first flight. I am not a visa expert by any means, so you should probably contact the embassy for assistance. For future reference, in a situation like this where you want to get from Rome to Greece, look for a direct flight or one that connects through another city within the Schengen Zone.