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Some practical advice on Schengen visa

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Jul 24th, 2011, 06:17 AM
  #1
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Some practical advice on Schengen visa

So I've been in Spain for about two months at this point and was initially only planning to stay the allotted 90 days but have to deal with a rather serious situation that's going to require I stay here a total of five months rather than three. I realize this will put me in violation and I'm wondering what the best approach is given that. It's an option to leave and then re-enter before my initial 90 days is up but I imagine that doesn't reset the 90 day counter, it just prolongs it by the length of time I'm out of the Schengen area. What is the risk when leaving Spain after five months? How likely is it I will get fined etc?

Thanks for the time
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Jul 24th, 2011, 06:38 AM
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If you overstay you are an illegal immigrant

big fines deportation never to be allowed back etc...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen
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Jul 24th, 2011, 06:38 AM
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If you overstay you are an illegal immigrant

big fines deportation never to be allowed back etc...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen
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Jul 24th, 2011, 07:06 AM
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Depending on what the serious situation is you may be able to get some sort of an extension - why not contact the town hall or local police in the town where you are staying to find out if something is possible.

If you do an online search you may find some information to help you.

If you overstay you are illegal, you have no insurance cover, and risk a fine, deportation (unlikely though) or a stamp in your passport refusing you re-entry into Schengen.

Leaving will not reset the counter - it is any 90 days in 180. If you can leave to reset the counter then why can't you leave legally anyway?
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Jul 24th, 2011, 07:30 AM
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Check with the local authorities ASAP. Also do you know where your nearest embassy (are you US, Canadian, Aussie, etc.?) is? But first should be the local auth. where you are in Spain. Your own embassy is most likely to defer to them anyway, as it is a Schengen situation. Is there a local expat community you can contact for help? If you get the paperwork started where you are currently in residence in Spain, it may help expedite the process for obtaining a Schengen visa. You may also be able to identify sources to help satisfy some of the requirements for an extended Schengen visa where you currently are in Spain. If you leave now, you will have whatever remains of your original "90 days" when you go back.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 07:38 AM
  #6
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Thanks Heti

I will definitely try to the local town hall to see if I can get an extension but it's nothing really documentable so I imagine it will be tough. Basically I have a sick friend that I'm taking care of, but it's nothing formal really.

As for the leaving to reset the counter, I would only be leaving for a brief period. Basically my thinking was that if I leave and then come back they will stamp my passport a second time coming back into the EU and I will be able to claim a misunderstanding when I go to leave Spain, which would hopefully lessen my risk of a fine.

I'm willing to take the risk for two months that i won't get unlucky and have to show my passport to a policeman. My primary worry is what the process is at the airport when I fly back to America from here. Is there pretty much always a Spanish official who will check to make sure that I haven't been here too long?
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Jul 24th, 2011, 08:38 AM
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Fundamentally it comes down to this: if you overstay the 90 days, you are breaking the law.

I see by your attitude that this is something of a casual "I'll just do this and try to get away with it" approach.

Good luck.

If you think it's worth the risk of not ever being allowed into the Schengen countries again, then go for it.

It's pretty clear: 90 days in a 180 day period. Your excuse wouldn't wash: ignorance of the law is no excuse.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 09:01 AM
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I understand that I'm breaking the law, though not for a casual reason. I'm not a habitual lawbreaker at all but if I left when I was supposed to leave then I'd more or less be completely screwing over one of the people in the world I care most about. That's why I'm trying to assess the risk. When you say "is it worth it to not ever be allowed into the Schengen countries again?" the answer is most likely yes. I mean, if the risk of that happening were 5% I'd instantly take it but if the risk is 90% then I have to try something different and more drastic.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 10:14 AM
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tobias: I apologize if my post sounded a bit harsh, but reality is harsh. This is not the kind of situation to be making wooly-headed decisions:

"...if I leave and then come back...." that's really leaving everything to chance, to the whim of the official who's going to let you out of Spain.

OTOH, the advice from the other posters has been to try and do this legally. That's excellent advice.

Wish you the best whatever you decide to do.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 10:42 AM
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If you elect to take the chance and stay to take care of your sick friend (and I admire you for that, you deserve some slack.....) ---- you might want to take into consideration that it depends on WHICH COUNTRY/AIRPORT YOU CHOSE TO DEPART THE SCHENGEN AREA when heading back home. Some are much more strict than others. From what I learned here on this forum (do a search) Switzerland or Germany or even France are not gonna treat you as casually and be forgiving as Denmark, for instance... I think it's worth some research...
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Jul 24th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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While this is not the place to give legal advice, just a few basics:

If you are a US national, you are currently in Spain not with a Schengen visa, but under a visa waiver program.
The Schengen countries have agreed on uniform procedures for the 90d/180d stays of foreigners. Nothing more. Schengen visa waivers cannot be extended.

Once you need to stay longer in one Schengen country than those 90d/180d, you forget about Schengen and look into each country's national immigration law.

Spain can give you a long-term visa, with or without working privileges (I assume that a simple residence visa would suffice?). The only problem with these national long-stay visa is that you usually have to apply and process this thru the embassy/consulate of your home country.

Going to city hall while you are in Spain is the best way to get knowledge on how things can be done, IMO.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 11:47 AM
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Overstaying is breaking immigration law. There was someone on here that overstayed and had a very severe penalty - I guess you could search for it.

I would deal with immigration now - the penalty can be quite harsh...
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Jul 24th, 2011, 02:49 PM
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Spanish city halls do not deal with immigration. It is a police department , and depending on which city you are in.. you go to one or another, not just any one.

Go prepared with information abut your friend you want to take care of, like a letter from them and THEIR information, too.. but I highly doubt if you are not family that they can/will arrange anything for you.

I have known many many many visa-waiver program nationals people overstay in the past years and leave Spain with no problem, but you never know. Things have tightened up, but Spain was never very meticulous in the past, and I am not sure how they are now.

The best approach , if you DO overstay, is to take a non stop flight back to your home country.. because if they see you have overstayed and you are connecting through another country they are OBLIGATED to NOT let you continue your trip. Whereas, if you are flying straight back "home", it is not AS important to them to deal with the situation IMO, and also told me by a immigration officer at Madrid airport ( but a few years back.. so take this with a grain of salt).

I also think it is admirable you want to stay to help your friend. I hope you are able to do so, but I fear legally this is going to be very difficult.

P.S. If you are not fluent in Spanish I see no way you can get your story across properly at the police. If your friend is Spanish, is he/she well enough to accompany you?
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Jul 24th, 2011, 04:13 PM
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Can you leave and then return through another country. I only say this because when my niece was a student in Copenhagen she and another American student met and fell in love. Her boyfriend was only their for a semester and then left, my niece was there for two semesters. He left in December and went back to visit her in either the end of January or February. He had not been out of Denmark long enough to go back so he went into Sweden and then trained into Denmark.

When we were there we went from Copenhagen to Malmo and no one ever checked anything crossing from Denmark into Sweden and back.

So, just wondering if you could leave Spain and enter through anothere bordering country.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 04:21 PM
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Americans do not need ANY visa to go to Europe. I challenge anyone to cite an OFFICIAL European government web site that says Americans are subject to Schengen. I just searched through the French consular site and don't see it. Admittedly France is not the brightest star in the sky regarding anything except wine, women, and fine cuisine but you would expect that they would say something on this issue.

I entered and left France two years ago and there is no stamp in my passport, coming or going. It's as if I wasn't there. My entry stamp to NL earlier in 2009 simply showed the entry date and the fact that I had flown in at Schiphol with no mention of Schengen.

The only limitations I have received are on entry to the UK. The UK stamp gives me permission for a stay of up to six months. I can't work or live off the public dole.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 04:59 PM
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Americans do not need ANY visa to go to Europe. I challenge anyone to cite an OFFICIAL European government web site that says Americans are subject to Schengen.

Of course all non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizens (called third country nationals) are subject to Schengen rules. The fact that Americans along with Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis, Japanese etc don't need a pre-obtained Schengen visa doesn't mean they are not subject to its rules, which is 90-in-180 days and no extension allowed.

Absence of entry stamp doesn't necessarily mean your entry wasn't logged electronically. It may have been done when your passport was scanned and your details went into Dutch immigration database, which may be shared with some other Schengen neighbours. I have reasons to believe they share data with Germany, as I've heard of someone having overstayed Schengen limit after first arriving in Amsterdam was picked up at the passport control in Germany when leaving for home and detained. She was eventually allowed to board her flight but her details went into Schengen Information System database, which can raise a red flag at her next arrival in Schengen zone.

I don't think there is any mechanism within Spain to extend the OP's stay beyond 90 days. All I can suggest is to carry documentary evidence of why it was necessary to overstay (medical certificate, supporting letter in Spanish etc), to be shown when challenged about overstay when flying home.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 05:06 PM
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From the NYC Spanish Consulate's website:

>>US citizens who wish to stay in Spain for tourist or business purposes for up to 90 days [my emphasis] do not need a visa. They should travel with a round trip air ticket and a passport valid for a minimum of six months.<<

All others require a visa

From the US State Dept. website:

>>There are 25 European countries that are party to the Schengen agreement, which eliminates all internal border controls between them. Once you enter one Schengen country you may travel continuously for up to 90 days between the member countries.<<

Both pretty 'official' IMO. If you want to see more examples -- Google is your friend.
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