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Schengen Visa Question - Student Visa / Visitor Visa

Schengen Visa Question - Student Visa / Visitor Visa

Dec 19th, 2012, 01:07 AM
  #1  
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Schengen Visa Question - Student Visa / Visitor Visa

My daughter is off to France for a semester in less than a month (her studies are for about 4 months). She applied to the French embassy for a student visa for 6 months, providing proof of the date she flies into Paris and out of Turkey (we live in Australia).
The French embassy in Sydney issued her visa. The date of entry is the date she flies into Paris. However, the end date of her visa is 2 weeks after her course ends, but 6 weeks short of the date she flies back to Australia.
The French embassy website states that for Visa errors (including incorrect dates): (a) do not call the embassy as visa issues are not discussed on the phone; (b) you cannot come to the embassy without an appointment, and these are not given for student visas; and (c) all dealings with the embassy needs to be done by email, and you must only email them ONCE only (more than one email will mean your question is not replied to). The problem is that the embassy does not respond to emails – 3 weeks and no response.
The rest of the family have booked (and paid for) flights to join her in France for 2 weeks (hopefully Brittany and Loire Valley) and then Turkey for 2 weeks. We are due to arrive in Paris 2 weeks after her student visa expires. (We did know at time of booking that this was going to be an issue.)
So we seem to have few options. The obvious solution is to abandon plans for travel in France and either go to UK or travel in somewhere like Croatia, and then on to Turkey. In other words, limit our travel outside the Schengen zone.
Now someone has suggested that she can in fact remain in (return to from say London?) the Schengen area for a further 90 days as a tourist (ie. without a visa). I have tried to look into this on the web, and whilst I am finding conflicting answers, things are really hazy. (All these problems could be avoided if the French embassy would just respond to our email).
My questions are:
(1) Is this possible, and if so, where do I get something concrete (proof) in case we run into an immigration official who may not have the same view.
(2) If it is possible, do the 90 days include ALL Schengen counties, or would France be specifically excluded (I have seen some things on the web that suggest this may be the case).
If anybody else has had a similar experience, or knows the Schengen rules, your input would be most appreciated.
PRLCH is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 01:14 AM
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You can stay in the Schengen zone (includes all countries, not limited to France) for a total of 90 days out a rolling 180 without a visa if you are from certain countries (Austalia should be one). The clock does not start again if you leave and come back (i.e. going to London for a weekend would not get her an additional 90 days).

How this is impacted by a student visa I am not sure. Why not contact someone at the school and see if they know or can provide you with someone to contact.

My friend is South African and has to apply for visas to the Schengen all the time and just because you ask for a time period doesnt mean they will grant you the full period you ask for unfortunately.
jamikins is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 01:30 AM
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I would try calling the embassy/consulate. My niece had problems getting her French student visa and did call the embassy (in NYC) several times and they were helpful to her on the phone and she did finally get the visa in time. One thing she learned is that each French embassy in the US has different rules about appointments and calling. I would try a phone call as you have nothing to lose.

Is Sydney too far away for you to go to the embassy in person and perhaps get to speak with someone?
adrienne is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 03:54 AM
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The important thing is not to let the extra weeks roll on after the student visa has expired, but to leave France (and Schengen) for somewhere like UK so that she gets an exit stamp from Schengen - a rectangular stamp with a picture of a plane (or a train, a car or a ferry depending on mode of transport) and an arrow pointing out of a box, as in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passport_stamp), and then return to France after a few days (can be a day trip). Make sure she gets her stamps (she will get a Schengen entry stamp) as sometimes border officials when busy simply waive people through. Then, as stated, she will get further 90 days in Schengen (including France) as a tourist - so no further study or part-time work (if her student visa allowed it) is permitted. Then you can join her and return home together.

It's very important to leave Schengen first, as her expired student visa doesn't roll on automatically into a tourist stay (as some people think and post on internet - she would become an illegal overstayer).
Alec is offline  
Dec 20th, 2012, 10:48 AM
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Thanks everyone. I will keep trying to make contact with the French Embassy. I will let you know if we manage to make progress. My research on the internet shows that this is quite a common question, and 50% of respondents say tourist "visa" (90 day rule) afterwards is possible and 50% say it is not possible. I have yet to find someone who has reported back with an official response, or someone who has reported back after the event.
PRLCH is offline  
Dec 20th, 2012, 11:25 PM
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Alec characteristically gives the most authoritative answers anywhere to questions like this.

I've never known him get it wrong. But you'd do everyone a service if you could feed your experience back here.

You're very unlikely to get an answer from the French Embassy (what part of "more than one email is ignored" did you not understand? One of the few things you can depend on with les grenouilles is that if they say they're going to be unhelpful, they mean it, and diplomats aren't there these days to sort out foreigners' holiday plans - though Oz and Kiwi ones do sometimes break that fundamental principle of their global trade union), and Alec's answer is very likely to be the closest you'll get to definitive.
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 21st, 2012, 03:41 AM
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I speak from experience of assisting people with immigration problems going back decades (voluntarily, not professionally).
I am thoroughly familiar with Schengen rules.
Your question is very common, and I have correctly advised people numerous times without any mishaps. If you don't get helpful response from embassy (I doubt you do, as flanneruk reminds us), alternative is to consult an immigration advisor familiar with Schengen rules, but this will probably cost you (though sometimes they give first phone/email/face-to-face consultation free).
Alec is offline  
Dec 21st, 2012, 04:30 PM
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Alec, I really appreciate your positive input. What you say makes perfect sense to me, and is what logic tells me is correct. Perhaps you can tell me this. If my daughter were to arrive back in France (say from England) and an immigration officer took a different view, does she have any avenues open to her at that point. My biggest concern is that we pay for accommodation (getting towards peak season so we cannot just hope for the best, and suddenly find we are having to make new plans on the run. Or, am I just being over-cautious and the risk as practically non-existent.
PRLCH is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 06:54 PM
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Thank you all for your assistance. Alec was accurate with his advice (thanks very much Alec). I thought I would share the my official findings with everyone.

Firstly, we seriously considered changing our holiday plans and visiting Switzerland instead. I contacted the Swiss embassy In Sydney by email (their websites states that they will only give visa advice by email). They replied within 24 hours and were very helpful. Their response was as follows: “…. it depends what kind of visa your daughter will receive from the French Embassy (we did advise that it was a visa D). If she receives a residence permit in France while she is studying there and she can prove that she has been living in France for a certain period, your daughter is permitted to stay in Switzerland as a tourist for a further 90 days without authorization.

Despite so many people advising that we would not have access to the French embassy without an appointment, my husband headed off one day to give it a go. With a sympathetic doorman, and a visa consular official just happening to pass at the same time, he was allowed to enter and was helped by a very nice lady in the visa section. She looked at our daughter’s visa (category D visa requiring her to get a residence permit upon arrival). She said that so long as our daughter left France and went to the UK for at least a day on or before the expiry of her visa, she could re-enter France again on a 90 day tourist visa. There was no issue with this and it commonly occurred. She suggested that it would be a good idea to have French immigration stamp her passport when she left France at the end of her stay (although not strictly necessary, ) but what was important was a stamp in the passport showing that she had been in the UK at least a day (i.e. she should ask the UK passport control to stamp your passport on arrival and again stamp the same page on exit as proof of being outside France which is their usual practice).
PRLCH is offline  
Jun 7th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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I have read all of the postings, and it's not clear that Alec's advice is 100% correct (or perhaps I don't understand him correctly). My daughter is on a student visa in Spain. It expires 6/30.

She would like to travel (other counries) for a couple of weeks, come back to US, then return to Europe for a short stay before exiting the zone for an extended Far East trip. She was told by the US Embassy in Madrid that:

1. She must leave Schengen area at end of Visa; there is no "grace period." However, more importantly:

2. She may not return on tourist visa for 90 days.

I doubt they jail kids for overstaying for a couple of weeks, but the bigger problem is getting back in later. (We know of a Greek family trying to come back into the US who were detained and put on a plane back after their prior excess stay showed up in the routine search).

I would assume countries like Germany are more "thorough" and "to the letter" than Spain). In any event, it's a gamble that you could get away with it due to sloppy border controls.

Our BIG questions are:

1. How long must she stay out of the zone? Somebody said "a couple of days," but I don't find any official site to confirm that. If, however, only a short exit is required:

2. Is Great Britain not ok as a "haven"? My understanding is that they have not signed on to the Schengen rules for immigration.

Thank you
jas6318 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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>>>My daughter is on a student visa in Spain. It expires 6/30.>>>

How long was her visa? Why didn't your daughter get enough time on her visa to travel afterwards?

What country are you from (visa info varies based on your country).

>>>I would assume countries like Germany are more "thorough" and "to the letter" than Spain). In any event, it's a gamble that you could get away with it due to sloppy border controls. <<<

No clue what you mean by this.
kybourbon is online now  
Jun 7th, 2013, 02:50 PM
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jas6318
The same advice I gave last December still stands. She MUST leave Spain on or before June 30th and go to a non-Schengen country such as UK, Ireland, or more conveniently, North Africa (Morocco has many ferry and flight connections with Spain). Then she can re-enter Spain. She will (and should insist) get Schengen exit stamp, entry stamp for the non-Schengen state, its exit stamp and Schengen entry stamp. This will allow her a stay of 90-in-180 days throughout Schengen. She should carry evidence of adequate funds (such as bank statement), return ticket home (eticket confirmation) and a rough itinerary.

You shouldn't rely on rumours on how strictly member countries enforce Schengen rules. Play it by the rule always and your daughter will have a hassle-free trip.
Alec is offline  
Jun 7th, 2013, 04:28 PM
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Alec-thanks for your reply - I wasn't suggesting trying to bend the rules; quite the opposite.

We know she needs to leave, but we can't get a clear answer on whether she has to stay out of Schengen for just a short time or for a full 90 days before re-entering on a tourist visa. (We know she can only come back for 90 of 180 days after that). Do you happen to know?

For kybourbon - we are US. She has been there for two years; her visa was renewed after the first year when she had proof of student status going forward. That is now over. The length of her visa was not up to her. School ends 6/28.

As for my comment about "thorough," all I was saying is that it's foolish to count on some border official not doing their job properly. We assume the rules will be followed; no argument with Alec on that.

Is your daughter teaching there, or is she a student?

Does your daughter teach through the gov't program?
jas6318 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2013, 05:15 PM
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>>>We know she needs to leave, but we can't get a clear answer on whether she has to stay out of Schengen for just a short time or for a full 90 days before re-entering on a tourist visa. (We know she can only come back for 90 of 180 days after that). Do you happen to know?<<<

He's telling you the same thing he told the other person. She has to leave the Schengen countries making sure she gets an exit stamp and go to a non-Schengen country. Then she can go right back to Spain or what ever country she wants to visit. She will then be on tourist visa, not student visa.

When my daughter studied in Spain, she just got extra time on her student visa (in the original app process) to stay to travel a bit after she finished school, but she wasn't there for two years.
kybourbon is online now  
Jun 8th, 2013, 05:51 AM
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My problem is the embassy in Madrid told my daughter she had to stay out for 90 days. You, Alec, and other sites seem to think that's not necessary. The right answer has a big effect on where she goes in a coup,e of weeks. If it's just a matter of the exit stamp, she can fly to London for the weekend. If 90 days, very different story.
jas6318 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 06:04 AM
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Let me rephrase my question. If you have been on a student visa and that visa expires, HOW LONG MUST YOU STAY OUT of Schengen zone before re-entering on a tourist visa. Just long enough to get the exit stamp, or 90 days??
jas6318 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 06:17 AM
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No need to stay away for 90 days as she has been on student visa, not 90-in-180 days tourist stay.
Alec is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 06:17 AM
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I can understand the confusion.
IMO, the most reasonable way to solve this mystery is for your daughter to contact the Uni's administrative department and ask for guidance.
Eventually, and while they probably try their best, the US embassy is not in charge but the Spanish authorities.
There will be a department which deals with visa, residence permits for legal aliens, and such. I would try to indentify (the Uni should know) which authority is in charge of that , and ask there.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 06:36 AM
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The answer is long enough to get an exit stamp from Schengen i.e. at least one day. Once she's out of Schengen, following her admittance on a student visa (she wasn't in Schengen as a tourist), she's out. Then the 90 day rule in 180 days begins to apply as he's now a student.

The embassy knows diddly squat.
sofarsogood is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 06:39 AM
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the penultimate sentence should read

Then the 90 day rule in 180 days begins to apply as she's now a tourist.
sofarsogood is offline  

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