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Traveling from the United States to Egypt with an 8 hour layover in Schiphol

Next week I will be flying from the United States to Egypt with an 8 hour layover in the Schiphol Airport. I am fully vaccinated including a booster for Covid-19 and will have a Covid-19 test taken before I leave the United States. With the layover I was hoping I could visit Amsterdam for 3 or 4 hours but not sure if it is possible with all of the new rules.

  1. Will I be able to leave the Non-Schengen part of the airport to see Amsterdam during the layover and be able to return to the Non-Schengen part of the airport to continue to Egypt without an issue? (The Schengen vs Non-Schengen and Passport control at Schiphol: is confusing to me)

  2. Will my negative Covid-19 test that I took in the United States within 72 hours qualify once I leave the airport to visit Amsterdam

  3. Considering what I want to do what are some tips to minimize any issues/problems I may have?

Before Covid-19 visiting Amsterdam during a long layover was not a problem. However, the more I read and try to understand what to expect and do on the Kingdom of the Netherlands website the more I am confused.

If anyone can help me navigate this I would greatly appreciate it.

Posted by
61 posts

Hi Travel4Fun,
I transited through AMS last week and can report what I experienced personally but please don’t take it as gospel. From what I understand, Covid testing and quarantine were required if we wanted to visit the Netherlands. Transiting passengers only had to fill out a brief questionnaire; do you have a cough, fever, been in contact with a Covid positive person, etc. (I was enroute to Poland not that it matters.)
We had a seven hour layover at Schipol. After going through immigration, I believe we were to stay in that part of the terminal but no one ever said that nor were there signs to do so. The Yotel Hotel in that terminal for short term (hourly) stays has vanished. There was limited dining options so we decided to see what was available in the rest of the airport. Upon exiting the international terminal to the hub where rail, bus and other transit options are we were given two free Covid tests each as were all passengers exiting that terminal. Had we chosen to leave the airport, nothing was there to stop us or warn us not to jump on a train into Amsterdam. We did run into a problem trying to buy a cup of coffee or snack in the main terminal though. There is a health pass or something like France’s pass sanitaire (?) required to make any food or drink purchase in the main terminal. After getting a breath of outdoor air and stretching our legs out front, we went back through security to the international terminal where we were allowed to buy food and drink without the health pass. Nobody said anything about us going beyond our area of the terminal either leaving or entering. I guess I was expecting more of a barrier between getting into the Netherlands opposed to being a transit passenger. That was my observation. I hope your travel is delightful!

Posted by
2133 posts

@Travel4Fun, below is the CURRENT situation at AMS Schiphol based on my four flights through there in the last 10 days. These thoughts are based on the NL rules, yet you need to read through the Egyptian parameters as often ENTRY into a country is determined by where you've been in the previous 10-14 days. (And you don't want to exit the AMS airport if that impacts your ability to enter Egypt).

Will I be able to leave the Non-Schengen part of the airport to see Amsterdam during the layover and be able to return to the Non-Schengen part of the airport to continue to Egypt without an issue?

Yes, you will be able to exit the airport, enter the NL, and return, as you have proof of vaccination and a negative test. Simply exit your plane and walk towards the Arrivals area (Baggage control). You will have to clear immigration (passport control), exit through the Baggage Carousel area, and enter the LANDSIDE section of the Schiphol airport. Once there, you can purchase a train ticket to Amsterdam Centraal or take a taxi, bus, etc. to the city.

Will the negative Covid-19 test that I took in the United States within 72 hours qualify once I leave the airport to visit Amsterdam

Yes.

Considering what I want to do what are some tips to minimize any issues/problems I may have?

In advance, complete the NL Traveler Health Declaration Form - you can find it online. (I've only ever had to show my once in my last 10+ flights through AMS, but it is the current requirement). Give yourself plenty of time for your return as you will have to go through security and passport control on your re-enter AMS. Having a boarding pass in advance for your second flight is advantageous - if possible - as you can simply "scan in," and head for security. Once you clear that, then passport control. Finally, you will walk into the Non-Schengen terminal area of AMS. From there, simply walk to your gate.

Referencing @thenosbigs comment on purchasing food in a restaurant, yes, you are supposed to have an EU Digital Certificate to enter a restaurant, cinema, cafe, etc. That said, I have spent the last few days traveling with Americans in Den Haag, Maastricht, and points south... and their CDC cards were accepted as NONE of them had the EU Digital Certificate. Perhaps near the airport, the restaurants were following the "letter of the law" but frankly, we've only been asked for our pass about 50% of the time. I suggest you show your CDC card - or move on to the next restaurant if it's an issue.

So yes, this can be done - just watch your timing... and check on the Egyptian entry parameters coming from an EU country.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you Thenosbigs and RnR,

Both of your responses have been very helpful. With your help I feel comfortable visiting Amsterdam during my long layover.

Sincerely,
Travel4Fun