Planning a trip to Europe is not an easy task.

Where should I start?”, “ Under what conditions can I enter the Schengen countries?”,  “How long in advance should I start planning my trip to the Schengen Area?” – These are the most common questions travellers ask us. 

If you are willing to explore the most beautiful destinations within the Schengen Area, the Visas Association team can help you out. 

Thus, the first step you must take when planning a trip to Europe is determining whether you need a Visa to enter the Schengen Area or not.  

If you’re lucky enough to be able to travel to Europe without a short-stay Visa, you only need to start planning and managing your vacation itinerary. 

However, if you need a Visa, you should start preparing your application well in advance.

We suggest that you contact us or read our complete Visa requirements guides for further information about the Schengen Visa application process (e.g., Embassy requirements, the 90/180-day period, etc.).  

Table of contents:

1. Who needs a Schengen Visa to travel to Europe?

      1.1. Who needs a Schengen Airport Transit Visa?

2. Who doesn’t need a Schengen Visa to travel to Europe?

1. Who Needs A Schengen Visa To Travel To Europe?

Schengen Visa Holders In An Airport

According to the Schengen Agreement, you must apply for a Schengen Visa to travel to the Schengen Zone if you are a citizen of one of the following countries: 

Afghanistan  Gabon Oman
Algeria Gambia Pakistan
Angola Ghana Papua New Guinea 
Armenia  Guinea Palestinian Authority
Azerbaijan Guinea-Bissau Philippines 
Bahrain Guyana Qatar
Bangladesh Haiti Russia
Belarus India Rwanda
Belize Indonesia Sao Tome and Principe
Benin  Iran Saudi Arabia
Bhutan Iraq Senegal
Bolivia Jamaica Sierra Leone 
Botswana Jordan Somalia
Burkina Faso Kazachstan  South Africa
Burma/Myanmar Kenya South Sudan
Burundi Kosovo Sri Lanka
Cambodia Kuwait  Sudan
Cameroon  Kyrgyzstan  Suriname 
Cape Verde Laos Swaziland 
Central African Republic Lebanon Syria
Chad Lesotho  Tajikistan 
China Liberia Tanzania
Comoros  Libia Thailand 
Congo  Madagascar  Timor-Leste (East Timor)
Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Malawi  Togo 
Cuba Maldives Tonga 
Democratic Republic Of Congo Mali  Tunisia
Djibouti Mauritania Turkey
Dominican Republic Mongolia Turkmenistan 
Ecuador  Morocco  Uganda
Egypt Mozambique Uzbekistan
Equatorial Guinea Namibia Vietnam 
Eritrea Nepal Yemen
Ethiopia Niger Zambia 
Fiji Nigeria  Zimbabwe 
North Korea Northern Marianas   

1.1. Who Needs A Schengen Airport Transit Visa?

Travellers With Transit Schengen Visas

Do you need to change flight at a Schengen airport to travel to a non-Schengen country? 

In this case, you may need a type-A Schengen Airport Transit Visa for European countries. 

If you are passing through the international transit area of a Schengen airport, you must apply for a Schengen Transit Visa if you are a citizen of one of the following countries:

Afghanistan Ethiopia Nigeria 
Bangladesh Ghana Pakistan
Democratic Republic Of Congo Iran Somalia
Eritrea Iraq Sri Lanka

However, every Schengen country has specific requirements concerning the Airport Transit Visa. 

Therefore, you should find in the table below the Schengen airport you will pass through and see if your country of citizenship is listed next to it (in this case, you must get an Airport Transit Visa). 

If the Schengen airport you will pass through is not on the list and you are not a citizen of the countries mentioned above, it means you do not need to apply for a Schengen Airport Transit Visa. 

Austria – Syria
Belgium – Dominican Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nepal, Palestinian Authority, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen
Switzerland – Syria, Turkey 
Czech Republic – Algeria, Armenia, Chad, Cuba, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Palestinian Authority, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Yemen

Germany – India, Jordan*, Lebanon, Mali, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkey

*You do not need an Airport Transit Visa if you hold a Jordanian passport and own a valid visa for Australia, Israel or New Zealand and a confirmed airline ticket or valid boarding pass for a flight to the country in question. Or, you do not need a Transit Visa if you are returning to Jordan after an authorized stay in one of the above countries and accordingly hold a confirmed airline ticket or valid boarding pass for a flight to Jordan. The onward flight must leave from the airport within twelve hours of your arrival in Germany.

Denmark – Syria
Greece – Cameroon, Congo (Brazzaville), Sudan, Syria
Spain – Cameroon, Congo (Brazzaville), Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Cuba, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, India, Liberia, Mali, Palestinian Authority, Sierra Leone, Syria, Togo, Yemen

France – Angola, Bolivia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guinea*, Haiti, India, Mali, Mauritania, Palestinian Authority**, Philippines, Russia***, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria

*This requirement also applies to holders of Guinean service passports

**This requirement applies to holders of the travel document forPalestinian refugees 

***Only if you are travelling from an airport located in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Turkey, or Egypt

Italy – Senegal, Syria
Netherlands – Cuba, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nepal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen
Norway – Syria, Turkey
Polonia – Cuba
Portugal – Guinea, Senegal

Note: The table above has been updated on July 30, 2021, and published on the European Commission’s official website (you can find the full version here).  

Important: You may not need a Schengen Airport Transit Visa if you hold: 

  • A residence permit from a Schengen member country or a valid Schengen Visa for short or long stays
  • A residence permit from one of the following countries: Andorra, Canada, Japan, San Marino, or the U.S.A.
  • A Visa valid for a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area, Canada, Japan or the United States
  • Proof of having a spouse or close family member who is an EU, EEA, or Switzerland citizen
  • A diplomatic passport
  • Proof of being a flight crew member national of a contracting party to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation

However, we strongly recommend you contact the Embassy or Consulate of the Schengen country where you need to change your flight as the rules mentioned above may vary by country. 

2. Who Doesn’t Need A Schengen Visa To Travel To Europe?

Travelling To Switzerland With A Schengen Visa

If you are a citizen of one of the following countries, you do not need a Schengen Visa to travel to Europe:

Albania *only if you hold a biometric passport  Israel Saint Vincent 
Andorra Japan Samoa
Antigua and Barbuda  Kiribati  Serbia*only if you hold a biometric passport 
Argentina Macao S.A.R*only if you hold a “Região Administrativa Especial de Macau” passport Seychelles
Australia Malaysia Singapore 
Bahamas Marshall Islands  Solomon Islands
Barbados  Mauritius South Korea 
Bosnia and Herzegovina *only if you hold a biometric passport  Mexico  Taiwan *only if your passport contains an identity card number 
Brazil Micronesia  Timor Leste
Brunei Darussalam Moldova*only if you hold a biometric passport  Tonga
Canada Monaco Trinidad and Tobago 
Chile Montenegro*only if you hold a biometric passport  Tuvalu
Colombia Nauru  Ukraine 
Costa Rica New Zealand  United Arab Emirates
Dominica  Nicaragua  United Kingdom* 
El Salvador North Macedonia*only if you hold a biometric passport  United States of America 
Giorgia Palau Uruguay
Grenada  Panama Vanuatu 
Guatemala Paraguay Venezuela 
Holy See (Vatican City State) Peru   
Honduras  Saint Kitts and Nevis   
Hong Kong S.A.R*only if you hold a “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” passport Saint Lucia  

Important – The visa-free access to the Schengen States also applies to British citizens who are not nationals of the United Kingdom: British Nationals (Overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizens, British Overseas Citizens, British Protected Persons, and British Subjects.

Celebrating Schengen Visa Approval

Hopefully, this post has helped you determine whether you need to get a Visa or not to travel to the Schengen Area.

In case you need to apply for a Schengen Visa, our FREE consultation report will help you better understand what type of Visa is suitable for you. Do not hesitate to contact us as we would be more than glad to guide you through your application process.