SCHENGEN AGREEMENT & TRANSIT WITHOUT VISA (TWOV)
The Schengen Agreement removes immigration control between Member States, effectively creating a ''borderless'' region, known as the ''Schengen Area''. The Schengen Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, and issue ''D'', ''C'' and ''A'' visas.
''D'' long stay national visa: this is not a Schengen visa but a visa issued for a longer period by an individual Schengen Member State and is indicated as being only valid for the country of issue. Within the validity period of the visa, ''D'' visas allow unrestricted, multiple entries into the issuing Member State as well as entry into other Member States, for a maximum stay of 90 days in a 180 day period.
"C" Schengen visa: issued for transit through or a short stay in the territory of the Member States (maximum 90 days in a 180 day period, from the first day of entry into the Schengen area). The visa must be valid for the Member State being visited. A visa valid for all Member States will be endorsed "Etats Schengen", or equivalent in the language of the issuing Member State. Visas with limited territorial validity will be marked accordingly, e.g., "France", will be valid for France only; "F-I", will be valid for France and Italy only; "Etats Schengen (-F, I)", will be valid for all Schengen Member States except France and Italy. "C" visas will be valid for a specified period and will indicate if it allows single, double or multiple entries. Multiple-entry visas are valid for a period between 6 months and 5 years and will also indicate the maximum permitted duration of each stay. "C" visas must be applied for at the correct embassy/consulate. If:
i. only one Schengen Member State is being visited: applications must be made at the Consulate or Embassy of that particular Member State;
ii. several Schengen Member States are being visited: applications must be made at the Consulate or Embassy of the Member State which is the main destination. For single entry visas, the Member State of main destination should also be reflected in the passenger's itinerary/ticket. For multiple-entry visas, the issuing Member State does not need to be visited on a particular journey;
iii. several Schengen Member States are being visited but there is no main destination:
- for single-entry visas, applications must be made at the Consulate or Embassy of the Member State which is the first point of entry into the Schengen Area; or
- for multiple-entry visas, applications must be made at the Member State expected to be visited on the very first entry.
- Schengen Approved Destination Scheme (ADS) Tourist Group Visas are “C” visas with “ADS” or “SDA” in the “Remarks” section of the visa. The group must travel as a complete group at all times.
When Member States do not have representation in a country, Schengen visas will be issued by representation of the Member State that issues visas on their behalf. In such cases, the “Remarks” section of the visa will be marked with “R” followed by the code for the Member State on whose behalf the visa was issued. For example, if an Austrian embassy has issued a visa on behalf of Germany, the Remarks section will contain “R DEU".
Schengen Transit Without Visa (TWOV)
The Schengen Area is a group of 26 countries that agreed to remove border controls between its members. Flights between Schengen Member States are considered domestic; passengers are allowed to travel without clearing immigration.
Transit Without Visa (TWOV) in a Schengen Member State IS possible when:
- arriving from a non-Schengen country and departing to a non-Schengen country (e.g. JFK-AMS-SIN)
Transit Without Visa (TWOV) in a Schengen Member State is NOT possible when:
- arriving from a non-Schengen country and departing to a Schengen country (e.g. JFK-AMS-FRA)
Passengers in the Schengen Area have already complied with entry requirements and are allowed to transit when:
- arriving from a Schengen country and departing to a Schengen country (e.g. FRA-AMS-CDG)
- arriving from a Schengen country and departing to a non-Schengen country (e.g. FRA-AMS-SIN)
In case of "double transit" (e.g. JFK-AMS-FRA-SIN) passengers enter the Schengen Area at the first transit point (AMS) and must comply with entry regulations of the first point (AMS).