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?

  1. 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 GabonOman
AlgeriaGambiaPakistan
AngolaGhanaPapua New Guinea 
Armenia GuineaPalestinian Authority
AzerbaijanGuinea-BissauPhilippines 
BahrainGuyanaQatar
BangladeshHaitiRussia
BelarusIndiaRwanda
BelizeIndonesiaSao Tome and Principe
Benin IranSaudi Arabia
BhutanIraqSenegal
BoliviaJamaicaSierra Leone 
BotswanaJordanSomalia
Burkina FasoKazachstan South Africa
Burma/MyanmarKenyaSouth Sudan
BurundiKosovoSri Lanka
CambodiaKuwait Sudan
Cameroon Kyrgyzstan Suriname 
Cape VerdeLaosSwaziland 
Central African RepublicLebanonSyria
ChadLesotho Tajikistan 
ChinaLiberiaTanzania
Comoros LibiaThailand 
Congo Madagascar Timor-Leste (East Timor)
Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)Malawi Togo 
CubaMaldivesTonga 
Democratic Republic Of CongoMali Tunisia
DjiboutiMauritaniaTurkey
Dominican RepublicMongoliaTurkmenistan 
Ecuador Morocco Uganda
EgyptMozambiqueUzbekistan
Equatorial GuineaNamibiaVietnam 
EritreaNepalYemen
EthiopiaNigerZambia 
FijiNigeria Zimbabwe 
North KoreaNorthern 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:

AfghanistanEthiopiaNigeria 
BangladeshGhanaPakistan
Democratic Republic Of CongoIranSomalia
EritreaIraqSri 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, India, Liberia, Mali, Palestinian Authority, Sierra Leone, Syria, Togo, Yemen
France – Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guinea, Haiti, Mali, Mauritania, Palestinian Authority, Philippines, Russia*, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria*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 October 5, 2020, 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: 

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 IsraelSaint Vincent 
AndorraJapanSamoa
Antigua and Barbuda Kiribati Serbia*only if you hold a biometric passport 
ArgentinaMacao S.A.R*only if you hold a “Região Administrativa Especial de Macau” passportSeychelles
AustraliaMalaysiaSingapore 
BahamasMarshall Islands Solomon Islands
Barbados MauritiusSouth Korea 
Bosnia and Herzegovina *only if you hold a biometric passport Mexico Taiwan *only if your passport contains an identity card number 
BrazilMicronesia Timor Leste
Brunei DarussalamMoldova*only if you hold a biometric passport Tonga
CanadaMonacoTrinidad and Tobago 
ChileMontenegro*only if you hold a biometric passport Tuvalu
ColombiaNauru Ukraine 
Costa RicaNew Zealand United Arab Emirates
Dominica Nicaragua United Kingdom* 
El SalvadorNorth Macedonia*only if you hold a biometric passport United States of America 
GiorgiaPalauUruguay
Grenada PanamaVanuatu 
GuatemalaParaguayVenezuela 
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” passportSaint 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.