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Odd ball question regarding Schengen zone

Hi there, so I have a bit of an odd ball question I haven’t been able to get a concrete answer on yet and I’m wondering if anyone has ever experienced a similar situation

My wife and I are Canadian citizens. She recently applied for, and received her Portuguese citizenship and is currently awaiting her citizenship card and passport.

Now, the Portuguese consulate here is completely useless and it’s been like pulling teeth for her to get to this point, the people who work there don’t understand English too well and have trouble answering complex questions.

So..my question is..with her citizenship she is obviously exempt from the 90 day rule. If our marriage is registered in Portugal, am I also? Lol..

Kind of a long shot but I’m hoping someone may have experienced a similar situation

Posted by
308 posts

You might be in luck:
From here https://vistos.mne.gov.pt/en/national-visas/general-information/who-needs-a-visa

Third-country nationals are required to hold a long stay visa to enter
and stay in Portugal for over 90 days.

The following citizens are exempt from that obligation:

European Union Member State citizen; State party to the European
Economic Area Agreement, or a third-countries with whom the EU has
signed freedom of movement agreements;
Family members of portuguese citizens or foreign nationals included above.

My bolding. That would work in Portugal - not sure if it would work in the rest of Schengen

Posted by
38 posts

Oohhhh thank you! That’s going to be huge (especially if it applies to the entire EU!)

Posted by
10986 posts

It doesn't. Technically, when you get a visa for long term stay in one country, it is only good for that country. You still have to abide by Schengen rules for the rest of those countries that are members.

That's why there is no "Schengen" visa only ones from each country.

Now your wife, with Portuguese citizenship, can visit or even live anywhere in the EU without problems. You would still need a visa.

Posted by
5486 posts

You really need confirmation from the embassy, as what we think doesn’t matter.

My understanding has always been that your wife would be free to travel anywhere, but you wouldn’t but I can’t find anything online to confirm the answer either way for your circumstances.

Posted by
170 posts

I am not an expert on this, but so far as I understand, it is rather more complex. Each country sets their own rules for their own citizens, so if you wanted to stay for more than 3 months in Portugal, you would need to check what they require for residence paperwork and procedures. It probably involves enrolling in health insurance and taxes and so on.

If your spouse lived in a different EU country, you would be entitled to join, but again, after three months, you have to register and follow the legal guidelines for residents in the respective country that the spouse is in (health insurance etc). Here is the official EU language on this, with respect to joining a spouse living in a different EU country than his or her country of citizenship.

Here is an article that discusses precisely your scenario, but with a British spouse, post-Brexit.

(In fact, if you look at the legislation, the freedom of movement rights are not absolute even for internal migrants within the EU. It can become quite complex quite quickly.)

Posted by
1053 posts

Schengen was designed for EU countries to do away with internal borders and make life and business easier for EU citizens. However, you are a non-EU citizen.

Passports and visas are for individuals, not couples. Your first concern and question should be about yourself. How can YOU stay in Portugal for more than 90 days with your wife. Forget other Schengen countries for the moment. Portugal will require **YOU to get an extended stay visa.** There will be forms to file and documents to show. Generally, most countries do not allow an extension over 90 days just to "travel", otherwise we all would be getting them. There has to be another reason outlined by Portugal in your case. Don't assume you can stay in Portugal longer than 90 days just because your wife has a passport, citizen card and can.

Another thing is your statement that your marriage was "registered" in Portugal. Were you actually married in Portugal and have a Portuguese marriage certificate or are you just "registered" because of your wife?

Staying longer than 90 days in the Schengen zone is not very easy to do. Not impossible, but the exceptions require a lot of documentation and are NEVER granted because you want to travel longer. I am assuming Rick Steves and crew get a work visa as an independent to stay longer. The average tourist won't have any such luck.

First be sure you can stay in Portugal for more than 90 days. If you get an extended visa, you can always fly in and out of Portugal and visit other Schengen countries during that extended period, but if you get caught, the consequences may not be to your liking,

Posted by
38 posts

Thanks everyone yea I assumed it wouldn’t be that easy.

She has a meeting with the consulate in December and will try to get some clarity on the matter. I think the end goal would be leveraging her passport into my own Portuguese citizenship if at all possible (however it seems somewhat absurd as neither of us have ever been to Portugal :D)

Worst case scenario we are going to be going to Croatia for a while in order to extend our eurotrip but it would certainly be nice if we could “bank” some time with the Portuguese scenario.

If I find anything concrete from the consulat etc. I will come back and update

Posted by
1053 posts

Some additional information.

Portuguese citizenship by marriage

A person married to, or living in a de facto union with, a Portuguese citizen for at least three years may apply to acquire Portuguese citizenship; the foreigner is required to prove sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language and that there are effective ties with the Portuguese community.

Good luck.

Posted by
807 posts

First of all the Schengen rules do not apply to your wife at all. She enters as an EU citizen and as such she is subject to the EU’s FMOP agreement which also has limitations on travel as well which more or less comes down to a three month period without permission and up to six months with permission. And longer if employed.

Your status remains the same unless she takes up residence in any of the member states and she applies for a family reunification visa for you.