5 Questions EU Border Officers May Ask You Upon Arrival in the Schengen Area

Getting a Schengen Visa for travelling to any of the 29 Schengen Area Member States is the most difficult part of a trip to Europe, but even once the traveller gets the visa, not everything is over.

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It is a rule that upon reaching any of the Schengen countries from a third country, travellers are asked at the passport controls a few questions regarding their trip. Sometimes, there are no questions at all, and sometimes, there are just too many questions that travellers are not always prepared to answer, SchengenNews reports.

Schengen visa holders are not the only ones that may get asked these questions, as those living in the EU on a residence permit and returning to the borderless area from outside, as well as travellers from over 60 visa-free countries, may be asked these questions too.

After interviews with several travellers, we have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions by police officers at the EU external borders.

What Is the Purpose of Your Trip?

Usually, the first question that you will be asked upon arrival in any of the Schengen Area countries, either by land, air, or sea, is regarding the reasons behind your trip.

I arrived at the Bremen Airport in Germany on May 28, and the first question I was asked by the passport control officer was “Why are you here?” a traveller says.

The question might be formulated differently, but its purpose is always the same. The border officers want to know the intention behind your visit before they proceed to ask other questions that they might believe are necessary to ask in order to make sure your visit purpose is in line with the reason why the visa was issued and you do not present any risk to the country you are visiting.

Where Will You Stay?

One of the main Schengen visa requirements for travellers from third countries under the visa regime is showing proof that they have secured a place of stay in the country they plan to visit for their entire stay.

This requirement is made in order to make sure that the Member States won’t have a situation of “homeless tourists” or “campers” at local and national parks that would disrupt the way of life of their residents.

Travellers reaching the external borders of the Schengen countries might be asked about where they plan to reside during their stay in their territory. Travellers might also be asked to show proof of their place of stay.

The police officer at the borders in Hungary asked me where I would be staying. He did not ask me for further information after I told him I’d be staying at my brother’s house in Szeged. It was interesting as previously, when I was travelling to the Netherlands and I told them I would be staying at a hotel, they asked me to show proof I had booked my stay,” another traveller told about her recent experiences.

Do You Have Travel Insurance?

Another very common question is regarding travel insurance. The EU/Schengen Member States want to make sure that travellers visiting their territory are properly insured, and in case of any health troubles, insurance will cover them without the visitors having to spend hundreds or even thousands on treatment.

All those reaching the EU borders need to have a confirmation of travel health insurance in case they are asked by the police officers about it.

Do You Have a Return Ticket?

One of the most common questions that travellers are asked upon reaching the EU is whether they have a return ticket to their home country or an outward ticket to another third country once their trip in the Schengen Zone ends.

The border officer asked me whether I had a return ticket. I told her yes, and she asked me whether I had it. I had the ticket on my email since I had not printed it, but the internet was not working on my phone. I showed her a screenshot of the ticket, and I was good to go,” a traveller explains.

While some travellers may not be asked for proof on the ticket, others might be, so it is best to be prepared in case such a thing happens.

How Will You Support Yourself During the Stay?

The EU authorities want travellers to be able to support themselves financially during their stay, so travellers are often asked if they have enough money for their planned trip. Cash and credit cards are a good way to prove one has the needed means of subsistence to cover their needs.

It must be noted that each Member State has a different minimum amount required per day for travellers to have during a trip. For more details, visit SchengenVisaInfo.

For example, in Belgium, you need to have a minimum of €95 to spend per day if you are staying at a hotel or other similar accommodation, whereas in Germany, you need at least €45 for each day.

What Happens If a Traveller Does Not Have Evidence to Support Their Answers?

Travellers who do not have evidence to support their answer may encounter difficulties in entering the territory of the Schengen country they are travelling to.

If they fail to produce evidence, they might be taken aside for further questioning, and in some cases, they might even be rejected entry and thus turned back with the first flight, bus or ship, depending on the means of transport they used to reach the Schengen Area.