Airport transit visa

If you will be making a short stop at a Dutch airport you may need an airport transit visa.

What is an airport transit visa?

An airport transit visa allows you to change planes at a Dutch airport for onward travel to a destination outside the Schengen Area. The visa (also referred to as an 'A' visa) does not allow you to enter the Netherlands or another Schengen country. This means you cannot leave the airport, nor the international zone of the airport.

Changing planes for onward travel within the Schengen Area: short-stay visa

If you are travelling to another Schengen country via the Netherlands, you will need a short-stay Schengen visa. Airport transit visas are not valid for this purpose.

Do I need an airport transit visa?

Whether you need an airport transit visa depends on a number of things, including your nationality. The Visa Advisor helps you determine whether you need an airport transit visa.

Regardless of whether or not you need an airport transit visa, it is the airline that decides to allow you onto the flight or not. Even if you have the necessary documents for your journey.


Under certain circumstances, you do not require an airport transit visa. For example, if you:

  • have a visa or residence permit for a country in the Schengen Area, the EU or the EEA 
  • have a visa for Canada, Japan or the United States
  • have a residence permit guaranteeing unlimited return for Andorra, San Marino, Canada, Japan and the United States
  • are a family member of a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland (you need to be able to prove this)
  • hold a diplomatic passport
  • hold a service or official passport. Please note: this only applies to nationals of certain countries
  • are on-duty aircrew and a national of a country that is a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

As of February 2, 2020
You do not need an airport transit visa if you have a valid visa or a residence permit for Aruba, Curaçao, Sint-Maarten, Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius or Saba.

Applying for an airport transit visa

Procedures for applying for a transit visa vary from country to country.