Airport transit


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Flughafentransit, © colorbox


Requirements for transit through a German airport:

Officially recognized and valid passport

In order to transit through Germany via an international airport, you need to hold a valid passport or other travel document which is officially recognized by Germany.

Specific information on the recognition of Palestinian and Somalian passports can be found below.

Transit visa in certain cases

Transit privilege:

Most travellers – including those who would need a visa to enter the Schengen states- enjoy a so-called transit privilege. If you arrive from a Non-Schengen country,  your onward destination lies outside of the Schengen countries and you do not leave the international transit area of a German airport you are not required to have a transit visa.

Transit and entry:

If your transit requires entry into Germany (e.g. when changing terminal, if your route leads you through two consecutive airports within the Schengen area, if your destination lies within the Schengen area or you are transiting through an airport that is not among the below listed 6 airports with transit areas) you need to have a Schengen visa. Please ask the airline or the travel agency for a detailed travel itenerary and check if there will be a terminal change.

Airport transit visa:

For citizens of the following countries the transit privilege does not apply. They generally do need an airport transit visa when travelling through a German airport:

Sri Lanka
Congo (Democratic Republic of)
South Sudan          

*specific exemptions apply


Citizens of the above mentioned countries do not need an airport transit visa if they hold/are:

  • a visa or residence permit of a Schengen member state
  • a residence permit of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Canada, Japan or United States of America
  • a visa of a country of the European Economic Council (all EU member states  and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) as well as Canada, Japan or United States of America
  • family members of a privileged EU citizen (Spouses, children, grandchildren under 21 years, parents and grandparents only if generally sponsored by the privileged EU citizen)
  • holders of diplomatic passports
  • airline crew members

Confirmed airline ticket

If you travel via Frankfurt or Munich airport, you need to hold a confirmed airline ticket for onward travel within 24 hours after scheduled arrival. If you travel through one of the other below mentioned airports you need to hold a confirmed airline ticket for onward travel on the day of scheduled arrival.

Only the six below mentioned airports have an international transit area allowing transit without formally entering the Schengen area:

  • Frankfurt/Main
  • Munich
  • Hamburg (4.30 am until 11.30 pm)
  • Düsseldorf (6 am until 9 pm)
  • Köln (Cologne)-Bonn (4.30 am until 11 pm)
  • Berlin-Tegel (6 am until 11 pm)


If you require a transit visa, you can find more information here.

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