Time limit for travel in Europe? 90 day limit?

In 2009 I traveled for 108 days in western Europe with no problem. Now someone has told me there is a 90 day limit to be a tourist in the Schengen countries. Is this accurate? May I not travel more than 90 days?

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2900 posts

Yes that is true. You may not spend more than 90 days in a 180 day period in Schengen unless you get a visa. It was also true in 2009. Either you didn't get caught, or some of your travels were in non-Schengen countries (e.g. the UK is not part of Schengen). Here is the list of Schengen Countries

Posted by Sally
Lavelle
40 posts

I was only within these countries and didn't know any better at the time...till today actually. So I have an airline ticket for over 4 months. A problem. Croatia is not on the list. Perhaps I could extend my travel to Croatia (after 90 days in Schengen countries) and fly home from there?

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Sally, See my other reply in your Cell phone Thread, which clearly explains the rules.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7976 posts

That would work. So would going to the UK for the last part. Also, if you're somwehere else and need to fly into a Schengen nation to change planes, that's not a problem.

Posted by Sally
Lavelle
40 posts

Ed, you mention it's ok to fly into a Schengen country to change planes... I currently have a flight home from Nice. Could I fly EasyJet back to Nice for my flight home at 4+ months? Or do you mean I could fly through on a layover?

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7976 posts

Pass-through for a plane change, no lay-over. If you stay in the airport sterile zone, it's not even an issue. If you have to go out into the public area (ie, pass through immigration) to get to another terminal it could be an issue, but your ticket should get you by. The only time I've seen somebody hassled was either Shanghai or Peking. They wanted to go out and pick up something from somebody. My knowledge ended when I quit being the translator. An officialdom came and they walked away in the right direction amicably enough, so I guess it worked out. I've no idea what the Nice airport looks like or if I've even been there, probably not since I can't even picture where it is exaclty. Continued thinking . . out in the water west of town. Never been in it.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2900 posts

Sally, the rule is no more than 90 day in a 180 day period. For example, if you are planning to stay four months (let's assume 120 days) in Europe, then any 30 of those days need to be outside of Schengen (e.g. UK, Ireland, Croatia). The time outside of Shengen could be in the middle of your trip; the 90 days don't need to be consecutive.

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

Hi Sally, For your information Croatia will be come the 28 member of the EU on the 1st of July this year, what I can't find is how the transition will impact the tourist visas, if at all. Perhaps someone else on here can enlighten us... Jim

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

This was posted on another travel site. ......I am a United States citizen with a valid passport, but in 2012 I overstayed my visa-free three months in the Schengen area by one month. I exited the Schengen area on December 31st, 2012, and am currently outside the EU visiting family. I received a ban on re-entering the Schengen area for 6 months in the mail and they photocopied my ticket and passport as I was leaving..... Last year a father posted here that his daughter overstayed one day (difference between 3 months and 90 days) and was fined 500E on departing. It is 90 days in ANY 180 day period. So count carefully and keep some records so you can prove when you entered and existed the Schengen zone.

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

@Frank I have heard of fines of up to 2,000 Euro and bans of up to 5 years, with one special idiot getting barred for 15 years!!!, having received a ban of 5 years, he tried to reenter on another passport.... It is also worth noting that if you do get barred from Europe it will also impact your chances of getting a visa elsewhere as well, since application forms often ask if you have ever been refused entry to another country....

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2176 posts

Though American citizens are not particularly targeted for immigration enforcement on an ad-hoc basis, new and improved FRONTEX system means data is automatically checked in more and more countries and airports. New passports make it much more easily, since they are quickly read by radio frequency and data automatically stored. Next step is to integrate data from airlines and in the future ferries and land crossings outside Schengen, so that all departures are properly double-tracked. Still, from time to time Americans do get caught and slapped with fines and bans.

Posted by Sally
Lavelle
40 posts

Thanks all! I did a little research that may be of interest: Croatia, will become the 28th EU Member State on 1st of July 2013. With Croatia's accession to the EU, the country does not automatically join the border of the border-free Schengen Area. Based on experience of some new members, this could take up to a few years. Joining the Schengen zone - i.e. the lifting of internal border controls - requires as one of the steps an evaluation process that the necessary preconditions are fulfilled. That process only starts when the Member State concerned s its readiness for such evaluation in all areas of the Schengen cooperation (external borders, visa, police cooperation, data protection and the Schengen information system). If you are interested in reading more about the Schengen Convention as such, we invite you to consult the website of the European Commission's Directorate-General (DG) for Home Affairs:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/index_en.htm

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2176 posts

Memeberiship in EU is not related to membership in Schengen common travel area agreements. UK, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary: EU, but not Schengen
Norway, Iceland: Schengen, but not EU