90 days in the E.U

Old Jan 20th, 2011, 11:45 AM
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90 days in the E.U

So I have a question and/or need the opinions of frequent travelers on my current situation. I am currently doing an internship in Italy for 84 days. When I first applied for this program my advisor was apparently misinformed as she relayed the wrong information onto me by telling me that I was allowed a total of 90 days in Italy, not Europe. I asked her if it would be ok to travel outside of Italy after my 90 days was up for about a week or so and she said that would be fine. My two best friends are coming up on my 85th day and we are traveling Italy for 5 days then going to Spain. We are planning on traveling Spain for 8 days then flying out of Madrid. Since I was told this would not be a problem, we all already have our flights planned and booked. I realize the law is very clear about 90 days in the E.U but I was just wondering what could happen, how it would happen, and how likely it is to happen that I get in trouble for staying 98 days instead of the legal 90?
vbtravlr is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2011, 11:59 AM
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Sorry but this sort of posting really annoys me.

I think you should have looked into this yourself before booking tickets and been aware of the rules - they are freely available on the internet and have been discussed here a lot.
Why should you be allowed to break the Schengen law when visitors to the US have to go through so many hoops and risk real problems if they over stay their time there? You are old enough to travel abroad and so you are old enough to take responsibility for your actions and not blame someone else.

To answer your question :
Probably nothing will happen, but you could have your passport stamped and be banned from future visits to the Schengen zone.

If you had chosen the UK as you extension you would have had no problem.
hetismij is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2011, 12:14 PM
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"I realize the law is very clear about 90 days in the E.U"

You are allowed to stay 90 days in the 180 days following first entry to the SCHENGEN zone. Not Europe, not the EU, but Schengen.

This zone comprises European countries SOME of whom are EU members (eg France) and some that aren't (eg Switzerland). There are EU members (eg UK) who aren't members of Schengen and have their own rules.

As to what might happen - possibly nothing, possibly detention (hint Spanish & Greek prisons are not nice places), possible A fine, possible ban from Schengen. Reentry to Schengen in the future may become difficult.

There have been several recent reports of UK immigration checking passports carefully and denying entry to people who have overstayed in Schengen regardless of what action was taken in the Schengen zone.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 12:15 PM
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I understand this is my fault for not looking further into it. I just figured it was my advisor's job to be informed enough to answer those sorts of questions so I trusted her answer.

Where would I run into the most problems? Would it be at the airport? Don't they only scan your passport once I arrive in the US? Or would my problem be after the 90 days if a govt official looks at the date my passport was stamped?
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 12:17 PM
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Problems may occur anywhere you encounter officials (including police officers) of a Schengen country - the US won't give a damn about it.

I'd also have a careful read of the T&Cs of your insurance as some insurers have this silly rule that you have to be in a country legally for the insurance to be valid.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 12:36 PM
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Some countries (like Italy & Portugal) have former exit controls (with border police checking passports) some don't (passports only checked by airline employees who probably don't care about 90 day rule). I don't know about Madrid Barajas; never left from there. If you are really concerned visit immigration office in Spain to extend your stay legally or just go to Morocco for 1 day.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 12:55 PM
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"just go to Morocco for 1 day."

Codswallop.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 01:07 PM
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What's wrong with Morocco? There lots of 1 day tours sold from Costa Del Sol towns or Gibraltar. On arrival back to Spain new stamp is issued and the counter starts again.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 01:14 PM
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No! The counter is reset to zero after 180 days. Going to Morocco for one day will not help in the least. The rule is : 90 days out of 180 consecutive days.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 01:18 PM
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Going to Morocco for 1 day won't help, but since the discussion is about 98 days, perhaps the original poster could do a 4-day weekend to Morocco and a 4-day weekend to the UK, or some other combination of non-Schengen visits, to get under the 90 day limit. Obviously the exact way to count days would have to be carefully determined.

Ryanair and other budget airlines can be very cheap for a quick long weekend trip.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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I personally wouldn't take the risk. As people have mentioned, there's the possibility of being asked to produce your passport anywhere you go, not just as departure points. That would not be the type of trouble you'd want at the end of your time abroad.

Many, many countries scan your passport before you board on your flight back to the US. They too want to keep abreast of who is coming and going in their country. It's not just once you re-enter US soil.

Change your plans, head to a non-Schenegen country or come back when your visa is up. For the record, I had a Schenegen visa when I studied in Spain for the semester and I did have to go through passport control upon leaving Barajas.

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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 01:32 PM
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Madrid Barajas has a proper exit control, with all passports of those leaving Schengen being checked by an immigration officer.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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How many days are left before your 85th day and the arrival of your friends? WillTravel has a reasonable solution. Is it possible for you to take a few weekend trips before they arrive to some non-Schengen countries to avoid using some of your 90 days?
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 02:27 PM
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With all the stern admonishments from the friendly folks here this must be a traumatic introduction to the Fodor's Forum.

Personally I wouldn't worry about it. If you get nabbed look astonished. Tell the officer what you wrote here. If they try to penalize you break down in tears. Plead mercy. You are going home anyway. What difference does 8 days make?

It is interesting that entry stamps to the UK say Leave to enter for six months. Employment and recourse to public funds prohibited. None of the Schengen entry stamps say anything about a time limit. In fact on my last visit to France a year ago I did not even get an entry stamp or an exit stamp in my passport.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 03:12 PM
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Personally I wouldn't worry about it. If you get nabbed look astonished. Tell the officer what you wrote here. If they try to penalize you break down in tears. Plead mercy. You are going home anyway. What difference does 8 days make?

It may work or it may not. Border control is getting tough everywhere, and with the threat of terrorism never far away, border officials are eagle-eyed to spot irregularities and call you to account. Ignorance of the law is no defence here as anywhere else. While you may be let off, you may not. I have heard of people - respectable professional people from US, detained, questioned and sent back home with a stamp barring them from future entry for 5 years.
So my advice is stay legal, and you have nothing to worry about.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 04:50 PM
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so if I leave the country in the middle of my 90 days and go to a non Schengen a couple times to even out my extra "8 days"... does that get counted off of my total 90? How do they regulate that? I do plan to go to England and Ireland during my stay so if I add those trips up to 8 days should I be fine?
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 05:18 PM
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You can look astonished all you want.

the possible options if you are caught are:

1) a large fine
2) being banned from Schengen for some period of time (in years)
3) having your name put on a "questionable" list (you would be breaking a law)

I can;t imagine they would jail you for this (but I'm not an Immigration expert) - they just want you out of the country - and probably a big chunk of money.

If your plans after the program are set - get yourself out of Schengen for at lest 8 days during the program (don't you have weekends off?) Or, bite the bullet and just change your tickets to a non-Schengen country (that would cost a lot less than a fine for being illegal)
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 06:25 PM
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So if I leave the country in the middle of my 90 days and go to a non Schengen a couple times to even out my extra "8 days"... does that get counted off of my total 90? How do they regulate that? I do plan to go to England and Ireland during my stay so if I add those trips up to 8 days should I be fine?

That will do. While nobody will be monitoring your movements in and out of Schengen, should they decide to question you about your stay, the onus is on you to demonstrate you have not overstayed, by showing travel tickets and hotel receipts etc as well as any relevant stamps in your passport.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 07:59 PM
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Hi vbtravlr,

I'm sorry that this has happened to you, but I think that it's basically a question of how risk-averse you are. As you can see from the posts, there's a wide range of opinion, probably based on a combination of experience and personality traits of the poster.

So, you know what the rules are and you know that you will be breaking them if you adhere to your original plan. But I think you have unintentionally done yourself a big favor by flying out of Spain. I would say the odds are extremely low that you will have a problem in Spain, in fact I'd be very surprised to hear that your experience was anything other than a shrug, maybe a few words, and then you're through immigration and on your way.

My son spent a year studying in Spain a few years ago and was on a tourist visa. The deal was that he was going to apply to change his visa to a student visa once he got there, but he was 19 and uninterested in this kind of detail, so he just conveniently forgot all about it. He came home to the US mid year for a week, after having been in Spain for 6 months, and at immigration at the airport, the official gave him a stern look and expressed his disapproval, but shooed him on through. (My son tells a great story about how the officer went on telling him how he could get in trouble doing this, he should be more careful, etc, etc, but then just gave a shrug and that was the end of it). My son then went back to Spain again at the end of the week, had absolutely no problems at immigration in Madrid, and he spent another 5 months there without having done anything to get a visa. Nothing happened. We didn't learn about this till well after the fact, but the fact is, he had absolutely no problems. Does that mean you won't have a problem? No, of course it doesn't, no one can guarantee that to you because you are violating the rules. But I agree with those who say it is extremely unlikely.

I've lived in Spain during four different one year periods over the past 30 years, only once with the proper visa, it turns out. I'm not saying that because I'm proud of being a scofflaw, but just to give you one person's experience so you can assess what kind of a risk you would be taking. I'm assuming that you are from the US, but if you're from South America or Africa, that's a whole different question, because then I would say all bets are off. Sad to say but young people on a US passport are going to be treated very differently than people from other less affluent parts of the world.

Good luck with this.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 09:12 PM
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There was a recent posting on the Rick Steves site from a father who daughter was fined 500E on the spot for overstaying two days. She thought she could stay three months. 90 days and three months are not the same. It was pay now or be detained. She paid.
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