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Trying to understand the European Union rules for Serbia/Montenegro

Quick question
We are looking at a flight from Toronto to Belgrade, Serbia with a short stop in Munich (less than two hours). Does our 3 months (the allowable stay in Europe) begin in Munich when we change planes? This is what I am trying to do....we know that Serbia and Montenegro are not yet in the EU. So....if we fly to Belgrade, Serbia, (on our way to Montenegro) to begin our winter there in January 2019, it shouldn't count until we head to Bari, Italy in March 2019? Or does it?
Any thoughts or information on this would be appreciated. I can't seem to find that information.
Thank you.
Canadian traveller

Posted by
8889 posts

A number of confusions here:
1) The limit is not for the EU, or for Europe, it is for the Schengen Area. This is nearly the same as the EU, but not quite (See map here: ). Serbia and Montenegro are not in the Schengen Area.
2) The limit is "90 days in any 180", not 3 months.
3) If you are flying on a through ticket, you will stay "airside" at Munich airport and not legally enter the Schengen Area. Your luggage will also be sent directly to Belgrade, you will not see it at Munich.
4) Even if you exited the airport, and went in to Munich, this would only use up one of your days (or 2 if you overnighted in Munich). Still leaving you 89 days (or 88) when you landed in Bari.

Posted by
1350 posts

A google search revealed this information.
Firstly, I believe you are referring to Schengen rules (not EU rules). You can read about Schengen rules and Schengen countries. Montenegro and Serbia are not Schengen countries, however, they do allow travelers with Canadian passport to enter for 90 days without a visa. These days would not count against your Schengen 90 days.
I am not sure if a layover in Germany (a Schengen country) would count as one day, but I would count it to be safe.
You can spend 90 days out of any consecutive 180 days in a Schengen area.

If you spend less than 180 days in Montenegro and Serbia, you can spend 89 days in Schengen countries before needing to leave.

Posted by
21 posts

Thank you so much for your prompt emails with the exact information I am looking for. I get it, now that it is explained. I am so excited as we are going to Italy, been many times, and can stay longer.....Yipppeee!!!

Posted by
8889 posts

The following is from the EU's own website, defining the rules for the Schengen Treaty:

The Schengen Borders Code provides EU States with a single set of common rules that govern external border checks
A clearer definition of short stay of non-EU citizens in the Schengen area ("90 days in any 180 days period") is applicable from 18 October 2013.

They even provide a calculator to add up your days and see if they will exceed the limit:
How more official do you want it than from the organisation that writes and administers the rules?

Posted by
24061 posts

FYI, Croatia is also outside the Schengen Zone. Do count carefully and include both your arrival and departure days. And consider that you might become ill at a most inopportune time and be unable to travel for a few days. It happened to me, and I just barely got out of Slovenia (Schengen) in time.