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Help! American needs to get into Italy after staying >90 days

Help! American needs to get into Italy after staying >90 days

Old Jun 9th, 2011, 12:17 PM
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I am with J62. I guess it all depends on your appetite for risk.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 02:07 PM
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Bill, as mentioned, you've got some big problems. And the fines you and your family face can be substantial. As Americans, we've lived in Spain, Germany, Denmark and Italy for 13+ years. The Schengen policies are being enforced today more than I've ever seen.

We lived in Rome for 3+ years and certainly getting our paperwork, even with the help of my wife's employer and their lawyers, was constantly a battle. Getting a VISA in a month would be virtually impossible. Italy just does not work that way. I've stood in lines for hours at immigration offices and at the questura trying to get the stamps and papers necessary to remain legal, only to see the office close (despite my appointment) and told to reschedule.... Next appointment: 5 weeks away.

At my wife's school, many of the teachers came without paperwork as they had a contract and the school was "working on their visa." As a result, many - while waiting on paperwork - became illegal... through no fault of their own. Heck, they were paying Italian taxes and they were still illegal!

As a result, much of the talk around dinner tables was how to avoid getting deported! First rule of thumb, don't travel outside the Schengen area. I've met folks who've been in Italy for 5 years without a Schengen visa - I'M NOT CONDONING, JUST INFORMING!

Many of the teachers struggled with NOT LEAVING Italy as they came to Europe to travel, and now they had no paperwork. And this was not a one-year issue; it happened every year to a few folks... I struggled with "spouse-paperwork" for months. Fortunately, I had the assistance of the school's lawyers and we filed all types of paperwork... so 2nd tip: GET AN ITALIAN LAWYER!

The Good news - if there's any in this situation - is they're in Italy! And often times the Immigration authorities are less than vigilant there. Many times I've had to ask to have my passport stamped after returning from the States. Of course, all it takes is one time…

I would agree - Get your family and get out NOW! The repercussions are just too great... So TIP 3 - Leave Italy (TODAY) on a DIRECT flight out ... on a US airline. Don't connect, don't fly on the cheapest airline - get on a US flagged airline and fly direct to ANYWHERE in the US. Connect In the States if you must, but not in Europe.

There were a few folks from the school who did get caught… Granted these people CARRIED their contracts and pay-stubs with them but there penalties varied. The lightest penalty was €700 and the worst was… expulsion and a huge fine WITH NO CHANCE of returning to a Schengen country. And these people all had a reason for being there (jobs), but no visa. Unfortunately, one wife went back to the States for a funeral and then got busted on a connection in Switzerland. She was detained for 2 days – in jail – then shipped back to the States. Her husband was still under contract in Italy. They spent the next 6 months apart as he stayed in Italy to fulfill his contract and she was NOT allowed back!

According to these folks, the worst places to go if you have an issue: Germany, Switzerland, The UK, and Finland. In each of these spots, people I know were detained while making connection to the US from Rome. The UK is the worst because of the terrorism concerns… and they enforce Schengen more than anyone… Germany and Switzerland are just DARN efficient, what with all those computers! I’m not sure what goes on with Finland but that’s the spot, because of the Finn Air connection to the US, where most folks got stopped?

Again, this is the reality of the situation and it was difficult for these folks. They were mostly young kids who came to Europe to teach and travel… not face paperwork struggles. Bottom line, gets out – and get out now. If you get stopped, well - there will be consequences. Don’t expect any help from the US Embassy. I use to have beers across the street from the Embassy and they didn’t look too kindly on these types of violations. They had a very hands-off attitude. Your assistance, if any, will come through legal aid.

I’m not sure how or why you spent 4.5 months without a Visa in a foreign country. But you screwed up. Your best case scenario is to get on a US flagged place and GET OUT with no fuss. Don’t go sightseeing, or depart from another country, as point of entry/exit doesn’t matter of they’re both Schengen. Just GO - Anything other than that will get MORE messy for you.

Today, I have a 3 year work and stay Visa from Denmark. I truly feel lucky because my Italian visa was year-to-year. There will be little leniency of you're caught... so don't hang around - Leave ASAP! If you're not stopped at your exit airport, once you're on that US plane you're fine. Getting back in te States is not a problem... it's just getting out of any Schengen country. And going to Turkey or any other non-Schnegen country will not help you, because as mentioned, you still have to go through immigration to get to ANY plane leaving a Schengen zone. That's why you just need to go home!
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 02:14 PM
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J62 may very well be right with regards to Italian immigration officials, but it may never come to that. Airlines are required to repatriate passengers who are turned away when they try to enter a country illegally. Bill may never get past the check-in desk.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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mammmia2 said: So he was naive, he made a mistake. The locals, Italians, with their lax approach have been all but encouraging him... So he learned his lesson.

Staying 2 or 3 days past the 90 and thinking it's okay is naive. He and his family stayed 4.5 months!!! And he wants to go back and stay another MONTH! And he thinks just because he spends money there they should give him a pass.

That's not naive, that's thumbing your nose at the law because you think you're above it.

And he wants people to aid and abet him by coming up with a clever way to get around the laws?

Why do I think he's a powerful CEO somewhere and the minions who work for him are getting a kick out of watching him squirm?
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 02:31 PM
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If your family is fined that may mean each member of the family is fined. You don't say how large your family is, but that could get very expensive. Why risk it?
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 02:45 PM
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If he were a CEO somewhere he would have an attorney who took care of this for him - before he egot himself in this ridiculous situtation.

He's just a clod who thinks he's above the law - the classic -dare I say it - ugly american - who thinks a few dollars gives him the right to ignore the sovereignty of other nations.

If I were honest I would say I hope he tries to go back - and is caught at the airport in Italy and fined and shipped home. I think it would be an extrmely salutary lesson. I just hope his family doesn't get caught in this - which could be really frightening for kids.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 03:00 PM
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The fact is, from what we've read, Bill was able to leave Italy on a plane heading for the USA and he was NOT fined or even given a hard time, not even questioned.... So there is a good chance his family will get away....
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 03:17 PM
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mamamia2 said:
The fact is, from what we've read, Bill was able to leave Italy on a plane heading for the USA and he was NOT fined or even given a hard time, not even questioned.... So there is a good chance his family will get away....

This is generally the case with visa violators. If they are leaving the country for home, there is no point in detaining and grilling, as they won't be causing any more trouble. Of course, a border official with yheir salt will note down record of violations and upload it to the immigration database, so that they will be under scrutiny next time they try to enter Schengen. It's those who are continuing to violate the visa laws by staying longer, or travelling in and out of Schengen, they will target for special treatment and punishment, as their illegal activities have to be stopped.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 05:37 PM
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Not exactly, Alec. From what I've learned in Europe (just got back), and what we've been reading here also, if Bill would have boarded his US-bound plane in Frankfurt (or many other airports in Europe), there's a good chance the Germans would have fined him, or at least stop him for some questioning and he might even miss his flight... It's just the lax approach of those Italians that saved him from all this.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 06:27 PM
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Yes - but the OP is trying to go BACK to Italy. to spend another month there and tour around with his equally illegal family. Granted the immigration authorities in Italy may be loose on the way out - but there is no indication that they will be as lax when he tries to return - ILLEGALLY.

He probably has a quite good chance of getting his family out - if they leave now. The longer thy stay the greater their risk. And his trying to return is just insane.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 07:22 PM
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On my recent entry into Italy they did not even look at my passport. I could have waived anything at that agent. He was busy talking to his buddies and just waiving us through.

That said I have had my passport reviewed in intense detail in Italy. Who knows.

However I think we can quit worrying about Bill. I expect he won't be back. He did not want advice on doing the "right" thing.
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Old Jun 14th, 2011, 01:25 AM
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Dont go back, and have your family leave from Italy with a direct flight to the USA. Its the easiest for all parties and you have the best chance of getting "lucky". I have experience with this as I was not trying to overstay my tourist visa, but was waiting for my appeal for residency in CH to be processed. It took more than 3 mos, so I was given an extension by the local police in CH, while returning my rental car to IT, the customs police at the CH boarder didn't understand my extension and took it from me (the were not boarder police and should not be allowed to control the boarders!). Had to buy a new ticket from Milan to USA, played stupid and said I thought it was 90 days in Italy and I had been in France, CH, UK, etc. Your wife and family should do the same, apologize and hope for just a slap on the wrist.
PS: I had a friend go through the UK last year, he made it out with out anyone noticing. FYI, it is all up to chance these days.
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Old Jun 14th, 2011, 08:10 AM
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Hmm, we haven't heard back from Bill. Perhaps he is in Italy?
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Old Jun 14th, 2011, 08:35 AM
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Italian jail?
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Old Jun 15th, 2011, 08:41 AM
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rineurope: Your contribution from experience was quite valuable reading. I have been in the middle of reading the entire Dona Leon Detective Brunetti series, and I feel as though I have been waiting in line at the Questura with you!

mamamia2: It was good for me to read what you went through. My kid's study abroad program runs 104 days, and after all the paperwork we had to complete to get a longstay visa (let's discuss the Apostille that we never needed), I was griping that if only the semester had been a few days less, this would have been a snap--no visa needed. I'm so happy that because of the 104 days, I was not even tempted.

Bill--wish you good luck.
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Old Jun 15th, 2011, 09:13 AM
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I have an american passport and live in France with a French residency card for many years. Up until 6 weeks ago, I do not ever recall being questioned on leaving or returning through Schengen or asked to prove I was a resident. 6 weeks ago I flew Nice-Amsterdam-South Africa and back and I was questioned arriving and departing Amsterdam and needed to show my resident card. As I dont think I have ever been asked for it before, it was just by chance that I through it in my purse before leaving. I suspect I would have had some problems. Then a couple weeks ago I flew Nice-Paris-US and was not asked for it leaving here in France, but on the return through Amsterdam I was. So my advice would be definitly don't try and fly out of Amsterdam.
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Old Jun 15th, 2011, 10:10 AM
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He's not coming back. None of us provided him with a fool proof plan for flouting the laws of Italy (coming in as luggge in an extra-large duffel?) so he could continue travleing illegally.

Or maybe he got caught and is too mortified to admit it.
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Old Jun 15th, 2011, 10:50 AM
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"Perhaps he is in Italy?"

Perhaps he's in an Italian jail as he also hadn't paid his Florence car fine.
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Old Jun 15th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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1) Fly to Tripoli
2) Tatoo - I Hate Kadafi (or however anyone spells his name) on your forehead.
3) Become a refugee
4) Go to Italy with other refugees

See, all fixed.
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Old Jun 16th, 2011, 03:28 AM
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I wish I had enough money to be on vacation for 4 or 5 months.
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