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time limit in switzerland

I have a house swap going on. My property in kent .wa. nov. Yto may
I get an apt. Above interlaken may to sept.
at the airport customs I was told there was a 90 day limit. I am a us citizen.
A. Is this true
B how will they know if I was here in switz the whole time
C. I said i would be visiting other
countries agent said no matter only 90
Days
D. I will go to italy and germany at least
Also austria
E. I want to know what will happen at zurich airport when I arrive to leave to the us
anyone shed some light on this?
Danke

Posted by
16883 posts

Switzerland is now part of the Schengen Visa agreement/zone, which includes most of western Europe. As a tourist, without a long-stay visa, you can only spend 90 days in that whole territory within any 180-day period. If you cross in or out of that territory, such as to Britain or Turkey, then your passport will be stamped. See more at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/schengen-fact-sheet.html and many previous discussions in this Travel Forum if you search for "Schengen."

Posted by
31471 posts

As Laura mentioned, even in Switzerland you'll be governed by the terms of the Schengen Agreement, which limits tourist stays in all the countries included in that zone to 90 days in any 180 day period. In other words, if you stay for 90 days, you must leave for 90 days before you can return. The U.K. is not included and they have separate rules which allow six month stays in their "common travel area".

Some comments on your questions.....

A. - Yes, it's true. Unless you also have E.U. Passport, those rules apply.

B. - Your Passport will be stamped at the first entry point to Europe (which could be Frankfurt, Zürich or where ever). From that point on, the clock is running.

C. - As mentioned above, the 90 day limit applies to ALL the countries included in the Schengen zone.

D. - It doesn't matter whether you leave Switzerland and visit Italy, Austria or Germany or anywhere else in Europe included in the zone. The clock is still running as you're still within the area covered by the Schengen rules.

E. - When you arrive at ZRH for your flight home, you'll go through a Police checkpoint where they will check your entry date into the E.U. and then stamp your Passport again. There's no way to predict what will happen in your case, but the penalties can include significant fines, deportation, possibly jail time and being banned for coming back for a defined period of time. That would be a rather miserable end to a wonderful European vacation!

A few important points to keep in mind.....

  • The Swiss are VERY efficient and they're unlikely to miss small details like length of stay, especially since countries in that area use the Schengen Information System.
  • You may find it helpful to have a look at THIS website and specifically the Overstaying section at the end.

Good luck!