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Non EU husband with EU (plus US) wife traveling in Europe (Schengen Area)--more than 90 days?

We live in the US and intend to keep living here, but would love to travel for more than the usual 90 days in Europe, and all over the place. We were wondering how that work for my husband. Do we need to take the US marriage certificate? Do we need to get some paperwork done before we leave the US and what would that be? What would happen if we just overstayed the 90 days (i.e. no previous paperwork) and then tried to fly back from wherever we entered--would border patrol give us major grief?

Posted by
6953 posts

As a dual, you are fine to stay as long as you want. Your husband has the choice of respecting the 90 days or getting a visa for one of the countries. His status is completely independent of yours. If the two of you overstayed, only he would be penalized. A marriage certificate wouldn’t affect his status. But he could apply for a long-stay visitor’s visa. Your country’s consulate in the US would be the logical place to start.

Before I became a dual citizen, I was instructed to follow this procedure in my husband’s EU country. Whenever we were living there, I had a visa.

It’s the same for any non-citizen married to an American coming to the States. They come either as a visitor and leave before 90 days is up, or they apply for a visa.

Posted by
10 posts

As a dual, you are fine to stay as long as you want. Your husband has
the choice of respecting the 90 days or getting a visa for one of the
countries. Your country’s consulate in the US can help you.

Before I became a dual citizen, I was instructed to follow this
procedure in my husband’s EU country. Whenever we were living there, I
had a visa.

It’s the same for any non-citizen married to an American coming to the
States. They come either as a visitor and leave before 90 days is up,
or they apply for a visa.

So, for example, in my case, I'm German--we'd just get a visa at the German Consulate that's for more than 90 days?

Posted by
10 posts

Or, rather, does he need to get a residence visa? Or residence permit, not sure about the correct term?

Posted by
6953 posts

I never paid attention to the terms either, but try long-stay visitor visa. Your consulate will have all the info. I deal with the French consulate. But, FYI, don’t overstay that 90 day limit if you go the 90-day route.

Posted by
6522 posts

Do you plan to live there or just want to visit for more than 90 days?

With the info provided, I think your best course of action is to contact the German Embassy/Consulate, explain to them what it is you want to do and find out what 'paperwork' has to be done to make it happen. (assumes what you want to do is permissible with the proper paperwork)

Just over staying the 90 days is likely to get some temporary ( perhaps permanent) restriction on re-entry

Posted by
20729 posts

Do not treat over staying lightly. There have been reports here of stiff fine for just one day over and being ban for long over stays. And you will be caught because that will be checked carefully. He doesn't want to become an illegal alien.

Posted by
2815 posts

Germany is very casual concerning foreign students. No visa is required at all: one applies for a residence card after arrival.

It’s possible that your spouse can get a residence card after arrival in a similar manner by showing a marriage license, but I don’t really know. Just suggesting that you shouldn’t be surprised if Germany has a no visa process.

Overstayers returning to the US from Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland have reported that fines and hassles are common.

Posted by
774 posts

You marriage brings no additional rights to your non-EU partner, they are still subject to the standard 90 day Schengen rules.

In accordance with EU law, if you take up residence in Germany, you are entitled to apply for a family reunification visa.

The German embassy may be willing to issue travel documents in certain circumstances, but they are restricted to the German territory.

A failure to comply with Schengen rules can result in:
- Fines
- Deportation at the tourist's expense
- Exclusion order for 1 to 20 years

Posted by
2815 posts

As I suspected, this can all be arranged after arrival in Germany. Not sure if your spouse can apply for a residence permit if you are not a resident.

https://www.germany.info/us-en/service/visa/residence-visa/922288

Citizens of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the Republic of Korea, as well as EU citizens may apply for their residence permit after entering Germany without a visa.

You can apply in advance at a German mission but it is not required.

A lot of Americans (and other nationalities) are used to a “You must enter the country with the status or visa you want because it can’t be changed after entry,” but it the Schengen area everyone is admitted with the same stamp. Those with resident status wave their residence cards at immigration.

Posted by
615 posts

The best advice is the appropriate consulate. Too many speculations on a forum to be safe.

Posted by
5630 posts

it the Schengen area everyone is admitted with the same stamp but only tourists are subject to the terms of the stamp. Those with resident status wave their cards at immigration upon leaving Schengen and the 90 day limit they were admitted under is ignored.

Huh ???????

Posted by
10 posts

It's weird, maybe, but I've never in 25 years gotten a stamp on arrival in Germany. I'm German EU citizen. My passport looks as pristine as the day it was born.

Posted by
10 posts

What's also weird is that there only seem to be 2 options for my husband to stay longer in Germany (which we don't want to do) that the 90 days is a) a long stay visa and b) a residence permit. They only seem to apply to Germany, but that's not where we wish to spend most of the 4-5 months. We'd like to go all over Europe. The two visas mentioned above also seem to apply to very specific circumstances, like working and studying and living in G. None of which he wants to do. Which makes filling out the forms (that don't apply to his situation) a problem. So it looks like we're stuck and need to treat his (married to a EU citizen) situation as if he were just any other US citizen. Ridiculous.

Posted by
2491 posts

You'll just have to spend the other 1-2 months in non-Schengen countries-like the UK.

Posted by
10 posts

You'll just have to spend the other 1-2 months in non-Schengen countries-like the UK.

That's true, if annoying.

Posted by
56 posts

OK - now I'm confused. Not that you want to break any rules. You/he would still need the paperwork - but??
Could you not - fly into and out of Germany? The only points we have had passports checked/stamped while in the EU has been entering and leaving to/from non Schengen countries. How would "they" know where you had been in the interim?

Just asking.

Posted by
10 posts

OK - now I'm confused. Not that you want to break any rules. You/he would still need the paperwork - but??
Could you not - fly into and out of Germany? The only points we have had passports checked/stamped while in the EU has been entering and leaving to/from non Schengen countries. How would "they" know where you had been in the interim? Just asking.

I thought of that, too. We would indeed be entering and leaving via Germany. But then I remembered two years or so ago that our passports were checked on a train crossing the border from Germany into Austria. Austria is a Schengen member. So... no idea why they did that, but since it can happen, we can't take the risk to overstay the 90 days.

Posted by
20729 posts

... as if he were just any other US citizen. Ridiculous. .... What is ridiculous??? That is exactly what he is. And a German citizen would be treated exactly the same way if the situation was reversed. Most immigration/visitor policies are mirror images between two countries. You treat my citizens one way and I will treat your citizens exactly the same way. And remember it is a look back determination -- 90 days out of any 180 day period looking back. Staying out one or two months doesn't "re-set" the clock. There is no re-set.

PS Quilter17, we have had our passports checked every time we have entered and left the Schengen zone -- no exceptions - over the past 25+ years. That is very close to standard protocol.

Posted by
6522 posts

The only points we have had passports checked/stamped while in the EU has been entering and leaving to/from non Schengen countries. How would "they" know where you had been in the interim?

The 'where' is not the crucial point; it is the interim ( i.e., how long between the entry and exit), that is the concern.

Posted by
6953 posts

We don't get physical stamps in our EU passports when entering or leaving, but they get scanned, so border control does have a record of our entry and exit of the zone. That's probably why your EU passport is pristine.
In fact, when traveling inside the EU, we use only our National Identity cards; passports aren't required.

Posted by
8731 posts

Think of Schengen as one place. It doesn't matter where you enter or exit, a record is made. Even if you are going to only one country, they know.

I have numerous Schengen entry and exit stamps. On a visit a couple of years ago, the entering immigration agent, instead of putting the stamp in order, found an empty spot near the front of the passport. Upon exiting Schengen, the immigration officer was having a hard time finding the entry stamp and was not happy.

For an American citizen, there are few legal ways to travel throughout Schengen for more than 90 days at a time without residency. Getting a visa is not easy.

Your husband, as it is now, will be treated like any other American citizen. And that also means while Europe is closed to Americans, he can't go. However, with a residency visa, he can. A friend of mine holds a U.S. passport and is married to an Italian woman (dual citizenship). He also has a Italian residency visa. With that visa, he can enter anywhere Italians are allowed to enter. He wanted to go to Iceland, contacted the Icelandic consulate in the U.S., and was told he can enter.

Posted by
6953 posts

One correction Frank ll: her husband might be able to enter at this time as the spouse of a citizen. That is the current rule in France. In fact, the couple doesn't even have to be married, if they have a domestic partnership. Various proof of partnership or marriage needs to be provided. This applies to both hetero and homosexual couples. As I said, might be able, because I don't know if the same rule applies in Germany. In any case, they are looking at post pandemic, which could be once again, another situation.

Posted by
2815 posts

Think of Schengen as one place

Schengen is not really one place, every country has completely different special visa requirements— night and day differences. Schengen is a common veneer that tourists inhabit that hides different country to country visa and immigration realities underneath.

Posted by
10 posts

I just got this from the German Consulate (from a different person there):

Your husband has - unlike you with your German/European passport - no legal claim to a stay in Europe exceeding 90 days. Since no residence in Germany or any other EU country is planned to be established, your husband cannot apply for a family reunion visa. You have to limit your vacation to 90 days. Of course, you are free to inquire about this in Germany at the local aliens' registration office. There is no legal basis for your husband to stay as a tourist in Europe beyond the permitted 90 days. Marriage to a German citizen does not change this fact.

This jibes with what many of you have said. There's no mention of a residence or long stay visa, but I assume that also isn't an option since he doesn't intend to have an address there. So there's my answer, I guess.

Posted by
17156 posts

Quite a number of us (without EU spouses) would like to get visas allowing us to spend more than 90 days in the Schengen Zone, but the long-stay visas often require the applicant to have a lease for the planned length of the visit, among other documentation. I, for one, am not interested in signing a lease for more than 3 months just in order to avoid the Schengen limit. Instead, many of my itineraries include time in non-Schengen countries.

Posted by
2491 posts

Tracker, thanks for posting the information you got from official German sources. I know it 's not the answer you were looking for, but better safe than sorry.