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Kai22 Oct 1st, 2014 09:28 PM

Study Visa and Schengen area tourist allowance Question

I will be studying in France this upcoming winter on a university exchange program. I will be applying for the 2B visa which will allow me to study in France and visit other Schengen area countries for the duration of my visa - which will not exceed 6 months. I want to travel the Schengen area after my exchange and following the expiry of my student visa. The general consensus seems to be that I will be allowed to leave the Schengen area on or before the expiry of my 2B study visa and then re-enter the Schengen area immediately after and remain in the Schengen area as a tourist for 90 days (although I cannot seem to get the French Consulate to confirm this or find any official documentation of this on the internet).
My question is, has anyone ever actually done this successfully? Were there any issues when re-entering as a tourist immediately after?

Also, if I were to enter the Schengen area BEFORE the start date of the 2B study visa (approximately 10 days), and enter France via a Schengen area country - how would this affect my ability to remain in the Schengen area as a tourist following the expiry of my study visa? Would I be allowed to remain as a tourist for 80 days (90-10)?


Alec Oct 1st, 2014 09:38 PM

The answer to your first question is yes, you can start a 90-in-180 days tourist stay by leaving Schengen on or before visa expiry and re-entering. UK is handy for this.
For your second question, I advise you to leave Schengen and re-enter on or after the 'valid' from' date on your type D visa. While there is anecdotal evidence that some people just managed to stay on in Schengen, it can become an issue when trying to get your carte de séjour at the préfecture if there is no Schengen entry stamp over your visa to activate it. Some offices are fussier than others so you don't want to take chances.

Kai22 Oct 1st, 2014 10:11 PM

Thanks Alec.

I believe that with my 2B visa I do not need to apply for a carte de sejour-that is only for long stay visas of 6 months to 1 year. Since I won't be applying for a carte de sejour do you think it is fine (ie: won't affect me transferring from on a study visa to being a tourist) if I go from one Schengen country into France without getting my study visa stamped upon entry into France? Is there no way to get your study visa stamped while in France to indicate the commencement of your study visa?

lincasanova Oct 1st, 2014 10:45 PM

I assume you are from a country where you do not need a tourist visa to begin with.

PRLCH Oct 2nd, 2014 01:39 AM

My daughter (Australian) had exactly the same issue getting official information from the French Government. Alec's advise was spot on and she had no problems. You ask "has anyone done this successfully?" She did, although she had a category D visa, not 2B. See for details of her experience.

Kai22 Oct 2nd, 2014 11:11 AM

Yes lincasanova I am from Canada and don't need a tourist visa.

PRLCH, was that type D visa a "temporary long term visa" (for stays between 3 months - 6 months? Did she have to apply for a carte de sejour?

PRLCH Oct 2nd, 2014 11:36 AM

Her Visa was Category D, for 6 months, and did require her to get a residence permit upon arrival (carte de sejour). This was the official response from the French embassy in Sydney.

"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 Oct 2nd, 2014 11:43 AM

Kai. When we were facing the same problem I contacted the Swiss Embassy as we were thinking of holidaying there after her exchange. This was their response:

“…. 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."

My reading of that is that if you do not get a residence permit things may be different. As I said before, Alec was spot on with his advise and I suspect he is probably your best source of advise here. Good luck and please report back on your findings as this is clearly a fairly common issue.

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