Transit Visa – What is it & Would You Need One?

HomeUS Visa & ImmigrationTransit Visa – What is it & Would You Need One?

What is a Transit Visa?

As the name suggests, a transit visa is required by a traveler from a foreign country who is transiting through the U.S. to reach another destination. According to the U.S. Department of State website, in general, a citizen of a foreign country traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States to a foreign destination requires a valid transit (C) visa.

The website further states that to be eligible to obtain a transit visa, you must be able to demonstrate all of the following requirements:

  • Intend to pass in immediate and continuous transit through the United States.
  • Possess a common carrier ticket or other evidence of transportation arrangements to your destination.
  • Have sufficient funds to carry out the purpose of the transit journey.
  • Have permission to enter another country upon departure from the United States of America.

Travelers going to another destination via the U.S. need a transit visa. A lot depends on the route your vessel takes or which country is your final destination. Transit visa requirements vary depending upon:

  • The diplomatic relationship a country has with visitor’s home country.
  • The visitor’s citizenship and resident status.

Transit Visa in Germany

Germany is located in Central Europe. Germany is a popular tourist destination and an equally popular in transit location for air travelers. Entry and exit clearance requirements depend on the visitor’s citizenship and resident status.

Due to its location at the heart of Europe, Germany is an important transit country. The vast majority of travelers, including Indians (read exceptions below) do not need a visa when air transiting through Germany. However, citizens of other countries need a transit visa. The Consular of Germany has a clear list of countries that need a transit visa.

Not all port of entries in Germany have international transit areas. Only three airports in Germany have an International Transit Area:

  • Frankfurt/Main
  • Munich (Munchen)
  • Hamburg (limited time frame only 4:30 am to 11:30 pm)

Travelers are required to check with the airline or their travel agent if they need a transit visa or not. There are many scenarios that can be confusing for the traveler and the inspection officials. For example, if a traveler is flying over Germany, they may not need a visa. However, if they have to pick up baggage and have to check-in again, they are technically on German soil. This will require a valid transit visa.

For how long can a visitor stay on a transit visa in Germany?

At the very onset, it is advised that you check with your airline or travel agent about visa restrictions that may apply during your travel.

Remember that you are allowed to stay in a country for a short while on the transit visa. In many countries, passengers are not allowed to leave the airport’s international transit area or stay overnight. They must continue their onward journey.

Do Indians need a transit visa in Germany?

Yes, Indians need a transit visa in Germany. According to the German Missions in the United States, some exceptions apply and the following Indian travelers do not need an airport transit visa.

Indian airport transit travelers who:

  • are holding a valid visa (such as the H1B visa/H4 visa/L1/L2, etc.) or other residence permit for the USA (this includes advance paroles, but not approval notices), Canada or Switzerland and travel to the country which issued that visa or residence permit
  • or, after a legal stay in the USA (this includes holders of valid approval notices), Canada or Switzerland, return to the country whose citizenship they hold

You may contact the German Mission if you are unable to find out if you need the transit visa or not. Contact the nearest Consulate using their Consulate Finder.

In general, a transit visa is required even if a traveler remains on the same aircraft in the same airport. Duration of validity may vary depending on the country’s regulations. The transit visa can be valid for a few hours or few days. They also have airport transport available free of charge for passengers’ tour.


Indian citizens holding a valid Indian passport and a valid US visa, traveling to USA via UK, Germany, Holland, Italy, Paris, Switzerland, Tokyo, or Hong Kong, do not need a transit visa if they do not leave the airport. You may need a transit visa if you need to change airports or leave the airport.

Transit Visa

Few countries/airports process transit visa at the airport itself. Some transit visas must be issued in advance from the traveler’s home country by the applicable consulate of that country. Other countries do not require a visa. For example, no transit visa is required if you have a valid US visa stamped in passport. This means that if you are planning to travel to India via London, you will not need a British transit visa. Since these rules and regulations are subject to change from time to time, it is good to check with the airline about transit visa requirements.



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