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Single entry Schengen - connectting with an open ticket

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Single entry Schengen - connectting with an open ticket

Hi dear forum members,

I have a confusing travel question about Schengen area. I am a Turkish citizen, trying to travel from Turkey to the US, connecting through Europe (specifically Italy). My flight from Turkey to Italy is going to be a paid confirmed ticket. However, the Italy-US leg of the flight is going to be on American Airlines as a non-rev standby with an unconfirmed open ticket. Since the outbound flight from Italy is not confirmed, for the airline operating Turkey-Italy flight to accept me on the plane, I had to apply and get an Italian visa. However I ended up getting a 10 day stay single entry Schengen visa. Under this circumstances, getting into Italy is not going to be a problem (with a paid outbound refundable dummy ticket), but the procedures I have to go through as I am leaving Italy kinda makes me worry. I will have to check my bag and pass the security to go to the departures and wait until 40-60 mins prior to the flight to figure out if there is going to be an available seat left on the the plane for me to get on. Although I am not going to try to get on a plane where there isn’t a high chance I am getting on, I may end up not getting on the plane. Once I am in the departure area, am I considered gone out of the Schengen zone? Will I be let back to Italy with a single entry visa to collect my bag and wait for another for the next flight? Why would Italy consulate issue me a single entry visa even though I explained the situation explicitly? I tried to contact the consulate and they didn’t really understand what I was asking and was not being helpful, kept saying I have a single entry visa and act accordingly. Is there an office I can contact in Italy as an ultimate source of information?

Thanks in advance.

8 replies to this topic
1. Re: Single entry Schengen - connectting with an open ticket

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Amsterdam, The...
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2. Re: Single entry Schengen - connectting with an open ticket

Pretty weird situation. If I understand you correctly, once you arrive in Italy from your flight from Turkey, you will need to pass Italian immigration, collect luggage and go landside to possibly check in for a standby flight to the USA, either that same day or some day within the visa period? Correct? And although you will only check in for the standby flight to the USA if you have a high chance of being boarded, you may not be boarded and will have to go back landside to collect your bags and either go somewhere else or wait till the next AA flight and try the standby thing again? Is this your situation?

In any case, once you clear Italian immigration to go landside, i.e. leave the non-Schengen transit area, upon arrival, you will have used your single entry. If you re-enter the non-Schengen transit zone airside from landside or from the airside Schengen transit area for that matter you will not be able to re-enter Italy. This was not such a clever plan to begin with as you are discovering. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't understand what you were planning and if they did there are not really any valid grounds to issue you a MEV anyways. If you had no checked baggage you could stay in the non Schengen transit and either get onto that flight to the USA or fly home, without the need to re-enter Italy for the 2nd time in order to collect your bags which would not have been loaded onto the flight for which you didn't succeed in getting a standby seat.

Edited: 15 December 2017, 17:15
UK
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3. Re: Single entry Schengen - connectting with an open ticket

"I will have to check my bag and pass the security to go to the departures and wait until 40-60 mins prior to the flight to figure out if there is going to be an available seat left on the the plane for me to get on."

Are you absolutely sure that you will definitely have to go airside?

I can't really see a reason why you couldn't wait landside until your flight is confirmed. They will know when check-in closes, and check-in closing times are always calculated to give passengers enough time to go through securiy - so couldn't they just let you wait by the check-in desk until your flight is confirmed?

Getting the airline to modify their procedure will probably be easier than trying to get a multiple-entry visa...

Brussels, Belgium
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4. Re: Single entry Schengen - connectting with an open ticket

"Once I am in the departure area, am I considered gone out of the Schengen zone? Will I be let back to Italy with a single entry visa to collect my bag and wait for another for the next flight? Why would Italy consulate issue me a single entry visa even though I explained the situation explicitly?"

You go through Schengen ENTRY control when you enter landside and then Schengen EXIT control when you re-enter airside, and you will not be able to return landside because you will have used up your single entry.

However, I agree with the preceding post: in my opinion, you should not be able to check your bag with AA at FCO (landside) until it is confirmed that you have a seat on a flight, and you should not be able to get airside again until you have a BOARDING PASS. You have to present this with your passport on exit (otherwise, what could you be doing in the transit area?!) and sometimes they ask for it again at security check.

That is likely to be why the Italian consulate is not understanding you, and will see no need to issue you with a multiple entry visa. At all events you don't have one and you don't need any "ultimate source of information" regarding what happens with the visa you have. It's perfectly clear: you have a single entry visa, and in my opinion, that is all you need.

Kansas City...
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5. Re: Single entry Schengen - connectting with an open ticket

Keep it simple, buy a ticket. Endless opportunities for issues with non-rev standby and immigration. The better option for non-rev standby is no checked luggage, also. In the end immigration may send you back to the point of origin.

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6. Re: Single entry Schengen - connectting with an open ticket

Thanks Lenny Bruce and all other responders. You got me very well. Thanks for informative explanation. I used travel visa free through Schengen like this, however my legal status has changed so I thought I could somehow pull it off with a tourist visa. I never thought single entry would be a problem. Furthermore, a consulate worker confused me by saying “you are not considered having left Schengen zone until you get on a plane” which doesn’t make sense interms of immigration processes.

The fact that consulate workers cannot answer such questions or direct people to the right entity to seek answers is quite frustrating.

UK
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7. Re: Single entry Schengen - connectting with an open ticket

"Furthermore, a consulate worker confused me by saying “you are not considered having left Schengen zone until you get on a plane” which doesn’t make sense interms of immigration processes. "

That does actually make some sense.

Sometimes flights get cancelled at the last minute, when passengers are already airside. There must be procedures in place to let single-entry visa holders go back landside.

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8. Re: Single entry Schengen - connectting with an open ticket

To #7, I have read about this too. I guess with the intervention of the airline, they let passengers back to the landside by withholding passengers’ passport and escorting them to the hotel and back. But still, this must be an operational procedure and the decision must be up to the personnel working at the airport. As a passenger trying to travel as a non-rev without a confirmed ticket, I would not want AA to put extra effort in the case, consequently wouldnt want to get a red flag for employee benefits.

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