UPDATED 2017: Europe is an amazing place. Millions of people travel to Europe each year, whether it be on business, curiosity, adventure, rebellion or leisure; we all make it there at one point in our lives. Overstaying Schengen visas can happen quickly.
However, there are a few rules I have come across as a solo backpacker that just plain piss me off. I have found many threads on the internet showing that many people are also concerned about some of these laws as travelers.
Now, being an American citizen, I am rather lucky because I get a free waiver visa throughout basically any country in Europe. I also have the right to stay legally as a tourist for 90 days (3 months) in any country in Europe. Unless, you happen to be some countries named Austria, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Slovenia, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Malta, Potugal and Sweden.
Looking on how to stay legally in Europe? I had advice on that too! Read more.
Anyway, the truth of the matter is you could be anywhere in Europe. You could have traveled by car and no one stamped your passport. It is actually hard to track your journey through Europe.
You need to calculate it. In fact, I have a calculator right here you can use for free. Check it out!
Chill and take a deep breath. If you have overstayed by one day or 8 months, the fine could still be the same depending on the officer. However, it will not go past 1200 euro. There are many people who are living in Schengen zone countries without residence visas. I would research at your own will for those situations. You can search on bootsnall.com. Working illegally, however, is another issue.
For more information on how to get a visa and work in Europe, please visit my How To Work In Europe section. You can apply for long-term visas if you know you will stay extra time. I suggest it, but if you wanna rough it, it is totally possible and hundreds have and are doing it right now!