Please sign in to post.

Schengen Agreement

Good Afternoon- I'll be traveling from the US to Europe and was looking to do a few (over 3) months. I have come across the Schengen Agreement which is dampering my plans. I have done a signifigant amount of research and haven't quite seemed to find an answer to my question- Is there any way around this for just a tourist? From what I could tell the only way to get a visa to stay in the area for over 90 days is if you are a student or working over there. It is possible for me to shorten the trip and see other countries outside the Schengen area, but the majority of the ones I would like to visit are about of Schengen. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by
9110 posts

Essentially Shengen say 90 days out of 180 from initial entry into the zone. There's no limit on the number of entries during this period, but reentry does not reset the clock. Assuming this will be your first trip to europe in a while, it's possible you will be okay.

For example, you could fly into Paris, spend sixty days in the zone, go outside the zone for as long as you want, then come back in for thirty days. Of course, if you stayed out of the zone for six months, you'd be back to square one.

Alternatively, you could stay in the zone for ninty days and leave to do whatever else you wanted to do. If the rest of your trip were outside the zone and you had to pass through it (say on a flight from Moscow to New York) and you had to change planes in Paris, there would not be an issue.

Posted by
1631 posts

For more info on this agreement, search the archives on this website. There's been a lot of questions regarding this topic. Go to the top of the listing of questions under "General Europe" and go into the first topic "Get Answers to Your Questions". To make the search easy, click on the first entry and type in your key words using Steve's search. Hope this makes sense. I just checked it out and there were 7 pages of entries on this subject. Have fun on your future trip.

Posted by
21326 posts

If Ed's answer does not solve your problem. Then your only alternative is to obtain a tourist visa from one of the Schengen counties abd that visa will be good for all of the Schengen country for whatever period you requested. I knew there is a Spanish consulate and tourist in the Watertower Bldg in Chicago. Go see them if you need a visa. Americans always seem to be trying to figure someway around the rules. Must be a culture thing. Once you have overstayed the 90 days you become an illegal alien. Are you sure you want that as a title.

Posted by
204 posts

I have you considered obeying the law? It's honest, it leaves a good impression of you and Americans in general and has the great advantage of not getting you thrown out of the country for 10 years or so.

Posted by
8293 posts

Well, April, sometimes the law does interfere with our plans, just as it does for foreigners longing to have long visits to the USA. Maybe you will just have to plan two trips, instead of one, so that you can see all the countries on your list. C'est la vie.

Posted by
839 posts

I hate to seem bitter about it, but hey, be glad you can go to Europe without a visa at all! Some of us have to spend a lot of time and money to be able to go there for even a few days :-/

But yes, as the previous posters have said, if you are interested in visiting countries outside of the Schengen zone (Denmark, for example), look into going there when your 90 Schengen days run out.

Posted by
1167 posts

Since the UK is not part of Schengen you could spend enough time there to stay within the 90 limit when you enter Schengen.

Posted by
295 posts

My oldest daughter, living in Switzerland, just overstayed her schengen 90/180 time by three days and received a 500 euro fine, which I just paid. They also pointed out to her that she could be barred from reentering the schengen zone for a long time. I wouldn't take ignoring the requirement lightly. Both of my daughters now have work visas (Germany and Switzerland)which are really hard to obtain, so they're good now for a year(whew).

Posted by
182 posts

I found the post from Dennis very enlightening and helpful. We always hear alot about what can happen regrading alot of the restrictions that we face, but I honestly haven't read too many posts with actual first hand experience of what happens when one is violated. This obviously shows there isn't much, if any, wiggle room, at least in this policy!

I am curious as to how they found the violation if she is living there at present. I always thought something like this might be caught only when one tries to travel?

Posted by
295 posts

Dennis here. My oldest daughter traveled 7 months alone right after high school, then finished 4 years at u in England. The two years getting Montessori certificate in England. The English visa rules are really tight for study and work. She got job in Switzerland where work visas are also tight and take long time. Aty end of travel visa, waiting for work visa, she had to leave and missed date by three extra days. Hence the fine; they nailed her at the airport leaving. Computers are really good in Europe! Don't overstay. My understanding is that for a big violation they can exclude you from schengen region for up to 10 years as a punishment, but I haven't confirmed that. Perhaps one of you can do some research. But yes, the rules do have teeth. Daughter in Berlin watches her visa renewals and times with great care, too, as result.

Posted by
2 posts

I do understand how it works, and I am not at all trying to disobey the law and stay later illegally. I have read things about people getting fined etc., and I am not going to risk any thing like that. I was trying to see if there is a way to get a visa to stay longer, just by being a tourist. I did do the search already and didn't find anybody who seemed to think it was possible.

Just seems like 90 days is the limit and that's that. Thanks for the help.

Posted by
5457 posts

I think I have lost my link to the penalty info I once had, but Dennis' information matches with what I found. The formal penalty is usually a fine and can result in up to a 10 year ban on re-entry. The informal penalty is that if any question comes up, you are pulled aside and taken to an area for questioning, meaning you miss your flight, usually forfeiting your ticket, requiring you to purchase another one at a premium price.

Computers are mentioned, and indeed, the scan done on entry and exit will retain info on Visa compliance. It does bring up another point though, if you do depend on days outside the Schengen zone to extend your 90 days, retain some proof of your days out (Hotel receipt, transit receipts, itinerary, etc); especially if you are using land crossings, as your passport may or may not be scanned.

Finally, actual experiences may vary greatly on this issue. The agent manning the checkpoint has a great deal of latitude and discretion whether to elevate the issue or not. If you are questioned, the burden of proof is on you, they do not need to "prove" anything if there is a clear case of their records showing an entry and exit greater than 90 days and arguing will not make the situation better.

Posted by
295 posts

Well, don't give up too easily, April. You can get a short-term student visa from a schengen country before you leave the US; the school provides a letter for immigration. You'll also need a letter from a parent (if you are a minor) saying they will accept all responsibility for your health care, living expenses, tuition, and the whole kaboodle. Or, proof that you can do that, including cost of emergency extraction for illness (insurance suffices). They will check this paperwork at entry to that country. Stay in a city for a while, get to know the people, and take trips around the area with fellow students! You can also do eco volunteering, and they can provide a cover letter for you. Some are free, some require that you pay something (plant trees in Greece!).