I will Travel between USA and India via Germany. Do I Need Transit Visa or Schengen Visa for Smooth Connection?

Do Indians need an airport transit visa or a regular Schengen visa for traveling via Germany? The answer to this question depends on your itinerary – whether it has one or more airport layovers in Germany – and the type of US visa you hold. Not fulfilling this additional visa requirement for your travel on Lufthansa flights between India and USA can result in denial of boarding. So, let’s understand what type of Schengen visa you need for transiting through Germany airports – Frankfurt, Munich, or both.

German visa rules, Transit visa Germany, Schengen visa Germany

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Airport Transit Visa for US-India Itineraries with One Schengen Layover in Germany

A Schengen Airport Transit visa (type-A) is the permit you need for transiting through an airport in Germany to your non-Schengen destination. For example, if your Lufthansa flight connects you to your final destination in India/USA either at Munich Airport or Frankfurt Airport, then you need an airport transit visa for this itinerary. It allows you to spend your connection time (up to 24 hours) in the international transit zone within the airport. You cannot leave the airport during the layover.

What documents are required to apply for an airport transit visa for Germany? 

You need the following documents to submit your transit visa application at a German visa application center, embassy or consulate in your country of residence. The German transit visa fee is 80 Euros (nearly 85 USD).

  • German Transit Visa Application form
  • Signed Declaration of Accuracy of Information
  • Passport (issued within last 10 years and with at least 3 months validity from your travel date)
  • A photocopy of your passport’s biometric and address page
  • Confirmed flight ticket to USA/India
  • 2 latest passport photographs

Additional documents may be required for further verification in individual cases.

How long does it take to get a German transit visa?

The standard processing time for German transit visa applications is 15 days. You can submit your application six months in advance but no later than 15 days before the scheduled date of your travel.

I have a US visa/green card. Do I need Germany’s transit visa for layover in Frankfurt or Munich?

Indian nationals holding a valid US visa or Green Card are exempt from the transit visa requirement as long as their US-India itinerary has one Schengen layover. 

Schengen Visa for US-India Itineraries with Two or More Schengen Layovers

If your US-India itinerary has a layover at both Munich and Frankfurt Airport, then you are required to possess a regular Schengen visa (not a transit visa). A transit visa only permits you to catch a connecting flight to a non-Schengen country, whereas you must have a Schengen visa for connecting to a second Schengen airport on your way to a non-Schengen country.

You would also need a Schengen visa for your travel on connecting flights to India operated by Lufthansa and its codeshare partner, SWISS Airlines, which also operates out of Schengen airports in Zurich and Geneva. Simply put, a Schengen visa (type-C) is mandatory for transiting through more than one airport in the Schengen area. Read more about a regular Schengen visa required for international transit by Indians.

Do Indians holding green cards need a Schengen visa for Lufthansa flights via two Schengen airports?

Yes. Neither a valid US visa nor permanent residency status exempts you from the  Schengen visa rules. A Schengen visa is one of the most important travel documents required for hassle-free travel on Lufthansa flights via two Schengen airports in Germany.

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