Schengen Treaty and Overstaying Visas (Updated 2017)

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.

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.

The Shengen Treaty

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, Croatia, Greece, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Slovenia, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Malta, Potugal and Sweden.


Here is what the Shengen Treaty states:

  • You must apply for a “Schengen Visa,” if you are not specific countries (not including EU citizens, Americans, Australians or Canadians).
  • You may stay 90 days on a tourist visa in an 180 period. This means that out of 180 days, you can only be there 90 nonconsecutive days.
  • You DO NOT get 90 days in each of those countries.
  • Those countries are borderless, and once you enter any one of those countries, you have 90 days in all the combined countries.
  • Therefore, if you spend 1 month in Italy, 3 weeks in Spain, 1 month in Germany, and 2 weeks in have suddenly overstayed your tourist visa and are able to become fined 300-1200 euro.
    What. The. Hell.
A majority of these countries do not stamp you. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they do not. But your passport probably gets scanned due to the new bio metric chips. When you approach a customs agent, you will see them slide your passport on a machine in front of them (putting you into the Schengen Information System or SIS – read more about that here)

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.

If you do happen to overstay, here is how to escape:

  • Do not travel to a country outside the schengen zone in Europe once you have overstayed (England, Turkey, Balkins, Ireland, etc.). They may catch you there and either fine you or deport you.
  • Leave from another Schengen country other than the one you arrived in (where you got your first stamp). The Schengen countries track their own exits and entrances, but they don’t communicate to each other this information.
  • Fly/take a boat back to your home country or another destination through a Schengen zone country. They won’t deport you if you are already leaving, and it is easier to talk your way out of a fine if you are on your way out rather than them catching you already in.

If you have overstayed…

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 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!

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and not accountable for your actions – just a person with an opinion stating the facts about Schengen law and imaginary situations. Overstaying a visa is illegal with strict consequences, and you should consider your actions at your own risk. If you are concerned about legal issues, please contact your embassy/consulate, or an immigration lawyer.


  1. Fadilla | 20th Jun 17

    Hey, Lindsey I come across ur site after searching about overstayed visa.
    Long story short, I’m Indonesian, I came to Belgium with au pair visa for one year, in may 2016. In the middle of my au pair time, i leave my host family because they didn’t respect me, make me overworked without paying. So, since the end of July, I decided to living with my boyfriend while looking for another family. But because I’m still traumatised after what my last host family do to me, my boyfriend proposed me and we planned to getting married here in Belgium, because so many documents that need for married here and I must got from my country, I asked my parents to help me with documents, it’s take 3 months to finished all translations and legalisation, so we came to city hall for married on January 2017, at first they accepted our marriage documents and say we must waited because they will check my documents. We waiting until February for that, but suddenly in the end of February they said we cannot married because of my visa already revoked, we asking what we must do after that, they city hall said they will send my visa case to immigration in Brussels to let them decided that I can stay and continue my married process or not. Luckily they immigration allow us to continue the process, in middle march, police come to our home and checked everything plus give us appointments for interviews on April, after interviews in April they told us to wait for result, after wait for another 2 months, they result came on 15 June and state they rejected our marriage plan because of my visa things. We still can have our right to reject their decisions and hire a lawyer. But my visa already expired since may2017, so I decided to going back to my country and officially married there and going back to Belgium again after married. The city hall just say okay when we decided like that, and give our documents back plus sponsorship letter for my tourists visa ( since I decided after married will directly going to Belgium again with my husband) and because the city hall said it’s better way than waiting for decisions again here. My question is is it okay for me to flying back to my country from Brussels again ( since I arrived in Brussels before) ? Or I should flying back from Netherlands or Germany?
    And can my tourists visa will approve if i still using same passport?
    I really scared now that they will reject me to get tourist visa or spouse visa if I get caught on airport and get ban to return to Belgium again.
    Thank you

    • Lindsey | 21st Jun 17

      Hello Fadilla! Thanks for your comment. What a story! Usually the main problem is not exiting the Schengen – it is when you apply for a future visa to re-enter. I think you should try flying out of either Brussels or Amsterdam (not Germany) – my suggestion is to have all of the papers proving you were waiting for authorities to process the visa – so they can see a timeline. It will be up to them if they want to sanction you for overstaying by 1 month, or just let you go – that is IF you get questioned. After you are married in your home country, you will need to apply for a spouse visa and most likely wait in your home country for this to be processed.

      • Fadilla | 21st Jun 17

        Hey Lindsey, thank you for your reply, I was planning to going back from Brussels but some of people suggested to going back from another country is more safe since I overstay. I have all the paper that the city hall sent while waiting. But I’m planning to going back in 7 July since my fiancé holiday start from that date but the letter of rejection came in June.
        Do you think I should apply for rejecting the decision and hire a lawyer since there’s still 3 weeks until I’m going back or just waiting and going in July?
        The city hall just suggested me to come back with tourist visa again after married and apply the spouse visa in Belgium ( before they suggested me to came back to my country and came with tourists visa again if immigration told me I can’t stay but lucky on that time I still can stayed), do you think I should do like the city hall told me?
        Thank you for ur suggestions,

        • Lindsey | 21st Jun 17

          I would not trust what the city hall says, since they are not border control. If you are in the country without the right to be (without a visa), then you actually are legally required to leave, that is the whole point of having the visa. Technically, your visa has been rejected twice, and I am not sure if you are allowed to keep staying when they are rejecting. Technically, you should have left within 2 weeks of receiving your rejection letter, because on your exit if questioned why you waited an extra month to go home, and your answer is you waited until your fiance went on vacation, that will definitly not be a good enough excuse for them not to fine you this time. If you decide to come back on a tourist visa and you are already married to a Belgian citizen – within eight days of arrival in Belgium, you will need to register at your local Belgian town hall in order to be issued with a residence permit (F card). I honestly suggest calling your embassy and asking for advice on this specific case to make sure if you decide to stay and hire a lawyer to appeal – you are legally entitled to stay in the country. The last thing you want to do is get legal involved when you are not legally allowed to be there.

  2. repinementer | 19th Jun 17

    Hi, I am an indian national and have been living in Barcelona from 5 years. I was a student for 4 years and this year, I have been working. as you know I had to renew my NIE every year. My last NIE that was valid was expired on Jan 31st, 2017. Meanwhile I applied to renew my NIE with the student status but it has been rejected as I am working now. Again, we tried to apply for working visa but it was rejected again.Because the application should be made within 90 days of last NIE expiration date. It took long because of the student and working confusion created my HR and also because of the slow NIE process in Barcelona (often times the website where you make a NIE appointment doesn’t even work). So now, I have no legal documentation from Feb1st, 2017. Now, I need to leave Spain because I have a new job in the US. First, I am going to travel to India on July 31st, 2017 and then on August 31st, 2017 to the US. I am not sure, whether I can leave Spain with getting stopped at Barcelona Airport or getting fine. I booked my ticket using Emirates so that I can avoid Schengen/European gates. It would be so helpful if you have any suggestions regarding this. Looking forward to hear from you. thanks

    • Lindsey | 20th Jun 17

      Hello! Thanks for taking the time to write in. For those curious NIE is the tax number in Spain – so my question is when did your student visa expire? Were you even allowed to work on a student visa? Was that at the same time as your NIE? If I understand…your application for a new visa was processing since February, and now it has been rejected. Usually this means you need to leave as soon as possible if you have no visa to stay in the country – and most importantly you cannot continue to work. I would honestly just explain the situation if you are questioned on exit. But be aware that this could actually effect future plans of returning to Europe – as they might reject tourist visas based on overstaying previously.

  3. Fahim | 18th Jun 17

    Hey Lyndsey
    Thank you for your reply
    Every year I apply for France and they give me 90days available during 1 years
    For example my last visa was 90 days from 1 june 2016 until 31 may 2017 but I have stay almost 110 days so I overstay by 20 days
    This month I have apply again and I get same 90 days available from 1 June 2017 until 31 may 2018
    And I have change my passeport so I have a new passeport without any old visa and no stamp of the old travel
    So I will not have any problem traveling this time entering France
    Thank you very much for ur help

    • Lindsey | 18th Jun 17

      Great to know. Like I said in my original post, I think you should be fine with your new visa. Just be mindful of the rules this time! I wish you the best of luck in your travels, Fahim ☺️

  4. Fahim | 17th Jun 17

    Hey Lindsey
    Hope u are doing good
    I have a small question I have write to u here before if u remember my name was fahim
    I have overstay a visa from France in 2016 I stay there about 110 days
    When I was leaving the shengen I exit from Spain and I was lucky they don’t scan my visa I think and I didn’t get any problem or fine just exit stamp with date
    I have stay out of shengen 7 months
    And I have apply this months for same visa to same embassy france and I got it for 1 year
    My question is do I will have any problem when am going to enter shengen from France or there is no problem
    Thank you very much

    • Lindsey | 18th Jun 17

      Hey Fahim – What type of visa did you get for 1 year? Don’t confuse the validity of the tourist visa with the 90 days within 180 days rule. You still can only stay within Schengen for 90 days within a 6 month period of your 1 year visa. Also, you said you had to stay out of Schengen for 7 months – this is not true. If your visa is a tourist visa, you can stay 90 days in, then 90 days out…then 90 days in and again 90 days out (within a 365 day period).

      As for having issues when you re-enter, there shouldn’t be an issue if they approved your newest visa. They may question you, however, if they notice your old stamps. Please make sure you pay attention and only stay 90 days within your visa this time.

  5. Dana | 14th Jun 17

    Hi Lindsey,

    I was an au pair in Austria starting in December 2016 and I was told that applying for a visa would be possible from Austria, so I came over on a tourist visa, planning to apply for an au pair visa once I arrived. Long story short, I ended up switching host families and had to wait for a new employment paper and by the time we went to the authority in Austria I had overstayed my tourist visa and they said I had to apply from the U.S. I over stayed by about 3 weeks. So I flew back home to apply again. I flew out of Copenhagen, as I was with my host parents at their house in Sweden which is near the Copenhagen airport. Nobody fined me or said anything at the airport upon my exit. The lady who checked my passport briefly said “wait.. how long were you here?” and I just babbled that I started in Vienna but then was in Sweden for a few days and she let me through.. I am in the U.S now and have applied months ago for the visa and the Austrian authority is STILL processing it, but my flight is on Monday, June 19th and gets into Copenhagen on June 20th (not sure if this will make 90 days, because I landed in the U.S on March 22nd so it will either be 90 days or 89.. didn’t realize this when I booked the flight because I figured the visa would be through by now). I already paid to push my flight back once so I would really like to just enter again on a new tourist visa while I wait for the au pair visa to finish being processed… Do you think I’ll get any trouble going back into Denmark? Will they see on my passport that I overstayed my last tourist visa and deny me entry/ban me? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    • Lindsey | 15th Jun 17

      Hey Dana! I love that name 😊. You should call the Austrian consulate and ask if you can pick up your visa from an embassy in Europe instead of in the U.S. I was allowed to do that when I was living in Greece, and then got my Swedish work visa (I applied from the U.S., entered on a tourist visa to Europe, picked my visa up in Greece, and then was able to enter Sweden on it months later). But I was actually not allowed to enter Sweden while my visa was pending…so you might not be allowed to enter Austria before you actually receive the visa. Also, it might be that you will have to leave Schengen (like fly to UK, Croatia, Turkey…) and then re-enter on the au pair visa. As for entering Denmark, hopefully you have been out of Schengen 3 months since your last overstay…otherwise they might not let you in. I would carry all your documentation with you for the Au Pair visa, and make sure you do not start working before your visa is processed – because that will be considered illegal on a tourist visa. Hope this helps! Feel free to email me privately if you want.

  6. Sue | 9th Jun 17

    Hi Lindsey,
    My fiance and I are in a difficult situation. We are both US citizens and naively decided to move to Spain without properly researching the visa situation. I’m embarrassed to say that we thought the 90-day rule meant he would have to exit the Schengen area briefly and then be able to re-enter for another 3 months. As for me, I was previously a long-term resident in Germany so I thought I would be fine on my German permanent residency visa. Wrong on both counts, obviously! Now we are in the situation that he has already overstayed by around 10 days and my 90 days expires tomorrow. No idea what to do. We have rented a house in Spain, have our dogs that we brought over from the US, and no place to go in the States even if we did want to return (which we most certainly do not!). I’m also not sure about my situation in Germany. After leaving Germany and moving back to the States in 2012 I remained registered there at a friend’s address so I wouldn’t lose my permanent residency, although I fact I only spent a few weeks a year in Germany. Another benefit of staying registered in Germany was that I was able to keep the car I had from my time living in Germany registered and insured. So now we are in Spain with our 2 dogs, a great house and a car with German plates and I have no idea how to resolve this situation. We visited an legal aid office in Spain who told us, after hearing the whole story, that if you manage to stay in Spain for 3 years illegally you can then apply for residency, which involves documenting that you’ve been in Spain the whole time through a paper trail of leases, bank statements, whatever. So my fiance is thinking that that sounds like an ok option but it sounds awful to me; I run a business and have clients in Europe and want everything to be on the up-and-up, not trying to hide and lay low for three years (which is why you’d think I’d have researched things beforehand!). Anyway, do you see any potential options for us? Should my fiance try to leave undetected and then apply for a student or other type of visa from elsewhere? If he left for 3 months, would he even be allowed back in since he already overstayed? And my situation is different I believe, or is it? Should I go to Germany and see what I can do from there? I should mention perhaps that we both entered Schengen via Lisbon. Anyway this is all very confusing, so any ideas you might have would be great! Thanks!!

    • Lindsey | 10th Jun 17

      Hey Sue – Thanks for taking the time to write in. This sounds like a tricky situation. You definitly cannot live in Spain on a German visa, just like people from other countries cannot just pick up and move to the U.S. without paper work. That’s why Trump wants to build that wall 😐. And you absolutly do not want to stay illegal for 3 years. I wouldn’t trust a ‘legal aid’ that basically told you to do something illegal…such as over stay for 3 years. Yikes. Obviously resident visas are put in place for a reason, otherwise we’d all have our go at just randomly moving places, and it would be a big mess 😅. If you stayed on your tourist visas, you do not get access to healthcare benefits, bank accounts, pension, and could run the risk of being deported, fined, and banned from EU. This could be devastating if there was a medical emergency or you had to fly stateside on a whim. Not to scare you, of course, but those are all very real possibilities and the worst penalties. EU Parliment is also looking at getting rid of American’s free-visa program in Europe, which would mean you and your husband would have to re-apply for toursits visas. My advice for you is to leave the country as soon as possible and research methods of securing proper visas and apply outside of Spain. But visa options for Americans is studying, getting work sponsorship from a company, Here is a government website of Spain that gives you all the information. Also, you can visit my friends over at Expatica for information about opening a business in Spain. If you want to speak more, feel free to email me via my contacts tab.

      • Sue | 10th Jun 17

        Hi Lindsey,
        Thanks for your reply! No, I am not at all interested in staying somewhere illegally for 3 years or even any amount of time at all, which is why I’m trying to resolve this somehow. Much easier to do things properly from the start rather than try to fix them later, but still I have to do something now. I’m thinking my best option would be to go to Germany and apply for the EU Blue Card from there, which I definitely qualified for when I left in 2012 and probably would still be able to get since I’m still officially registered there. And that would allow me to live anywhere in the EU. In fact that would have been the right way around to do things – Germany first then Spain. Kicking myself for not realizing that earlier. But thanks for all the information; this has definitely helped to clarify my options. And I will check out the link about opening a business in Spain because I might want to get that going concurrently. You’re right, though it’s all quite tricky. Thanks so much for providing this space for people to work these kinds of things out because this is really an issue that people can easily panic over, as I’ve unfortunately learned. 🙂

        • Lindsey | 12th Jun 17

          Thanks for the kind words, Sue! I was taking a look at the EU Blue Card, and it looks like there are some restrictions about it (for those of my readers who are curious). The main thing I see is that you need a binding job offer from a company in order to qualify for it. I’m not sure if self-employed can qualify. That’s definitly a great option for those in your position, and I wish you luck when applying. However, the issue right now is not that you overstayed (because you do have your resident visa for Germany) but your fiance’s tourist visa has expired – so the issue is with him, really. Once you are married, he can apply for a spousal visa, but this can take some time to process (and he might not be able to stay in the country while he is waiting for the visa to be approved). That being said, it is best to make sure he exits Schengen zone and can look for his next moves to apply for the proper visa. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out more!

  7. Marcela | 4th Jun 17


    My name is Marcela, from Colombia.

    In 2015 I was granted a marriage visa to Switzerland from January to May. But my boyfriend and I thought that date was the limit on which I could enter Switzerland and that once I arrived in the country they would give me 6 months to organize my marriage. In July I called and they explained me that unfortunately those 3 months on the visa were to organize my marriage and not an entry limit to Switzerland. Which means it was illegal in the country. I explained that we did a mistake that we thought I could stay for 6 months. She ask me to give a date for the wedding, but my boyfriend and I had already decided that we would not get married and that we would expect the 6 months to leave the country. I had bought tickets for 6 months in case to not get married to return to my country. I got a letter to my boyfriend’s address where they again asked for a date to get married. We did not tell anything, and we went on as if we were still planning to get married. A month before I leave, I called them And i said that we would not get married and ask the woman if there would be any problem leaving the country or wanting to return, she said no, that everything would be fine.

    In September I left Switzerland and made a stop at the airport in Frankfurt (Germany) the agent interrogated me and asked for my stay permit, since he had noticed that I stayed for 6 months. I explained the situation and he told me that I was in Germany and that I had broken the rules of the country. But I still give the passport back without a stamp, when I realized I returned and asked him to put the stamp because i don’t wanted to have problems and it will be proof that I had left the territory. The man with a bad face put the stamp but cut the part where it said in which airport had been. When I again demand that he put it well he is already angry and tells me that if I do not want to pay a very high fine I should leave and go my way. He didn’t take me anywhere or make me sign anything. I asked him if I wanted to go back to Europe, I could have problems and he said no. So I left. Since then a year and 9 months has passed. Now I want to go to Italy for two weeks and I’m terrified to be stopped.

    Do you think I’ll have problems?

    I’m sorry for my English.

    • Lindsey | 4th Jun 17

      Hi Marcela. Thanks for explaining your issue. I think you should be fine – I see that Brazil gets a visa-free entry into Schengen for up to 90 days in a 6 month period. You were smart to get the exit stamp – and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t say the airport. Hopefully you are not passing through Germany again, just in case. Also, please make sure you have your return flights printed for them to check if they have questions.

  8. Rao | 24th May 17

    Hi Lindsey

    thanks for your prompt response. we have Netherlands visa and we exit from Italy… i was in Italy when my daughter was ill and that is the main reason we have not extend visas … anyhow there are some people who told me different ides to re-apply for the visa for example some people told me embassy do not have any record for entry or exit and we exit from another country mean Italy so just get new passport and re-apply for the vises .. what would you suggest ???

    personally i do not want to do anything stupid so that is the main reason i am searching any good solution on the internet…

    If the overstay are few days so might be visa officer understand and its approx 40 -45 days… that is the main concern … just last question if i get any good prof from Italy that my daughter was ill and is there any chance to get visas ???

    At last thank you so very much for you reply and hope to hear from you soon.

    Regards Rao

    • Lindsey | 25th May 17

      Glad to help! This is correct that Schengen does not keep track of each other’s entries and exits. You can see my latest blog post here on that. However, your family has a Schengen visa with an expiration date for all of Schengen…not just Netherlands, so if your family has an exit stamp in their passport that is a date after their Schengen visa expired, that can cause an issue when you fill out new forms and they ask for that information. You have to understand a country’s main concern for people who overstay is that they are illegally working/living without paying taxes, or getting benefits without being in the system. It is risky to have illegal people – so that is why overstaying is not allowed and should be respected when granted a tourist visa. In your situation, you really needed to get permission to stay WHILE your daughter was sick, not after when the law had been broken. I think you should re-apply for the visa – there is not a lot you can do since the law was broken very obviously without trying to get extensions. Otherwise, you can also look into hiring an immigration lawyer. They might be able to guide you further. Good luck, Rao!

      • Rao | 25th May 17

        Hi Lindsey
        thanks for the reply. I have read your blog about SIS and observe that immigrating officer put deta on the information website or sofware if he caught someone overstay then the main problem starts….

        our case is little bit different and I think our family passports don’t have record in sis …
        if we get New passports with no entry/exit stamps so we can apply for the visa again and might be embassy did not invistage deeply ..what you think?

        i know we have done a big mistake not to extend the visas of my family because I have to go back to Netherlands for extensions.

        if i told the embassy that my family passports lost and we have applied the New passports and again want to spend summer vocations in Europe so is there any chance to get a visa? Please write me your thoughts and it might be last question from my side …

        i advice everyone please don’t do these kind of stupid mistakes like we done….

        • Lindsey | 25th May 17

          I wouldn’t say your problem is with SIS, since that is usually for criminal activity and not for overstaying visas. It was just explaining how it works. Your problem is that the family doesn’t have a legal excuse for breaking the visa. If you got new passports, then you are correct in saying they wouldn’t see the stamps, and this could make it better. However, on the visa application forms it might ask your flight details from previous trips or dates. You would be put in a tricky situation more on a moral basis potentially lying on official documents (not advisable!). 😣 If you are discovered to have lied, then they will absolutly deny you entry if they have reason to suspect. I would say that is the riskiest part of it all. My advice is to speak (anonymously) by phone or email with the Pakistan embassy in Netherlands, and of course if you are able to get the visas and all goes well, make sure that you are able to have everyone understand their visa rules, and looking into extensions if needed.

  9. Rao | 24th May 17


    I have 2 year visa with 9o days entry and my family only had 15 days visa of Netherlands and my family overstayed approx. one and half month … we are from Pakistan and we are back to Pakistan few months ago.. luckily not get any fines or any stamp or ban from the immigration officer ……they haven’t checks the date of entry of my family passports might be that’s the main reason we did not face any problem or plenty….. the main reason for our staying is my daughter was ill and we have missed our flights and stay with my wife cousin house .

    Now i want to visit again with my family can you please tell me any idea how can i re-apply for the visa of my family because i dont have any doctor record or any good reason for the embassy of overstaying in Europe… so please email me ….. and if you have any idea please let me know… Thanks….


    • Lindsey | 24th May 17

      Hi Rao, thanks for stopping by with your question. What you should have done is for your family to apply for a visa extension due to an illness in the family, instead of overstaying. It is a good thing that border control never said anything to you when you left, but they might have it on record of the entry and exits – which could cause an issue when your family tries to re-apply for a short stay tourist schengen visa. Unfortunately, without taking pre-cautions by asking for an extension, this could negatively impact the decision for granting a new visa. My advice is to just re-apply and see what happens – and make sure to be truthful on the exits and entrances. If they deny you due to lack of proof for overstaying, there is not much you can do since the visa was overstayed willingly for such a long time. If you do get the new visa, please make sure to research extension possibilities so your family won’t be in the position of having to overstay. I wish you the best of luck, and let us know what happens.

  10. Nella | 19th May 17

    Hi Lindsey,
    My boyfriend has overstayed his visa for a year (crazy I know!) He is looking to come back to the US ( he is a US citizen) but is worried about a fine or worst, jail time. We have read some crazy stories and don’t what to believe. Will he have any issues going home? Will he be allowed to ever come back into Europe?

    • Lindsey | 23rd May 17

      Hey Nella! Thanks for writing in. I am assuming you are from a Schengen country? Is he planning on leaving soon? He won’t be facing jail time for overstaying (of course, if he is caught working illegally, this is a different story). But you really don’t want him to get caught by the police while he is in the country and not leaving – then he will get deported, which is horrible because then it goes on your travel record for any country you enter anywhere on that passport. If he gets caught, it is better to get caught while leaving Schengen because they can’t deport when the person is at the airport on the way out. The worst is the can issue a fine and potentially give him an ‘exclusion’ period from entering Europe for 3 years or so. That’s really the worst case. I think he will be fine – but he will absolutly need to stay out of Schengen for 90 days. If he is looking to come back, make sure he does not overstay again, and to look into long-term visas that will help him live there. If you want more help on that, you can always email me through my contact page.

  11. Peter | 17th May 17

    Hii Lindsey, I came to France with tourists visa and was stated multi, for 3 months i have to stay 1 month each in 3 months but I’ve stayed more than one month, now am in sweden and will be going back to Turkey where i have permanent stay, is there going to be a problem at the airport while leaving back to Turkey? My visa stated multi starting from 10th of March 2017 to 10th of June 2017 ;but i came to shengen zone on the 7th of April and hoping to be back to turkey on 10th of June the end of the visa! I need your advice. Thanks

    • Lindsey | 23rd May 17

      Hey Peter – do you hold a Turkish passport? Are you only allowed 30 days on your Schengen visa? If you are only allowed 30 days with a multi-entry within 90 days, this could definitly be an issue when you are leaving Sweden, since they have become quite strict due to immigration and asylum cases. But even if Swedish border control says nothing, when you re-apply for a visa, they may see you had overstayed your previous visa and it could lead to more difficulties being granted a new visa in the future. My advice would be to make sure you leave before June 10th, which is when your visa officially expires, and also be prepared if they ask you questions on exit. I wish you the best of luck!

  12. Ali | 10th May 17

    Hi Lindsey,
    Good read. Just need some advice. Im a Paksitani national with a 90day Schengen Visa who came to spain and been overstaying for 3 months now as I lost my passport.
    Im so stressed that maybe Police will arrest me when i request for a new Passport in the Embassy
    Please advise. Appreciate

    • Lindsey | 11th May 17

      Hi Ali – This is a tricky situation. The police would not necessarily arrest you, but they will most likely ask you to leave on your own free will once you get your passport, otherwise they will deport you. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of advice I can give because this must be dealt with through an embassy. This could have an effect on your status in the future for gaining Schengen visas for Europe. Best of luck.

  13. John | 9th May 17

    Hi Lindsey.

    My wife (Irish) and I (Greek) are both EU nationals; however, our baby boy is a Canadian citizen. We stayed longer than three months in the Schengen Area. Do you think they will give us problems when we leave?

    Your comments are much appreciated!

    • Lindsey | 11th May 17

      Hey John! I don’t think they are looking to arrest or deport babies 🙂 This is an interesting question though, as I have never heard of it before and there is little information about it. I believe in this situation, they might give you information that your child will need to apply for dual citizenship (Greek or Irish) for future returns. Otherwise, you would need to apply for a schengen visa extension based on family before his tourist visa runs out on his passport. Here is the link for the Schengen extension for a family member of Ireland. They would have the same for Greece. Since you are responsible for the child and it’s passport rules, they could issue you a fine for not organizing this before hand. I hope everything works out for you smoothly! Feel free to update us if you learn any more on this situation.

  14. Ali | 8th May 17

    Hi Lindsey,

    Just need some advice. Im a Paksitani national with 90day Schengen Visa who came to spain and been overstaying for 3 months now as I lost my passport.
    Im so stressed that maybe Police will arrest me when i request for a new Passport.

    Please advise.

  15. Mukherjee f | 8th May 17

    I visited Germany on business visa. It was for 22 days. I dd not check the number of days on the vsa and instead went by expiry date. I travelled 2 days before my visa expiry date and overstayed by 3 days. This got reported however my passport was stamped with ext date and there is thing mentioned on the PASSPRT. Can I trav back on business visa. It’s been 2 months since my last trqvel

    • Lindsey | 8th May 17

      Hello! Hope you’re doing well. You should look into the rules of your visa type. Was it a single-entry or multi-entry visa? If you said the expiration date was 2 days BEFORE you left and you were only granted 22 days, that means it was most likely a single-entry visa, and you must apply for a new business visa. It could count against you if the country’s immigration board sees you had broken rules of your prior visa.

  16. Andrew | 6th May 17

    Hello Lindsey

    I have a difficult situation, I hope you can give me some advice. I am an IT Professional from India, have 10+ years work experience in Dubai and India… I came to Germany in Schengen visa, and already over styaing for one month now. I am receiving a lot of job offers and interview calls now. Does this over stay will become a reason to reject my work visa application?.. Can I pay some fine and clear the over stay issues?.. waiting for your replies…Thanks in advance//

    • Lindsey | 7th May 17

      Hi Andrew! Thanks for stopping by with your question. You should have applied for a Schengen visa extension before your current one expired. This could definitely be a reason to deny you a work permit if you are sticking around on an expired tourist visa. Coming to Europe to find jobs is legal, but overstaying could cause issues in the future. Companies will still have to go through the same process to bring you to Europe even if you are in India, so you will have to go home eventually because they need to send for you. You can’t just pay a fine and be done with it and stay longer. It will stay on your record and you have to carry the receipt around in your passport that you overstayed and payed the price. I think it is best to speak with an immigration lawyer with a company that is wanting to hire you, and you can discuss from there.

  17. Fjord Andersson | 4th May 17


    Great read here – I have another unique situation here I’m trying to find advice regarding, if it’s not too much trouble 🙂

    I’m currently in my last month of my doctorate in Iceland, and I’m originally from the US (been living in Iceland on a student visa for almost three years). I had to turn in my last visa renewal documents a couple months late (we have to renew every year), but my application was taken without a fuss, and I’ve been here studying and teaching while I waited to get my new permit. However, this took forever and I received no news regarding its status (despite my frequent calls and emails) – until last week. I was informed that my application was rejected due to a technicality in their system, and I had 15 days to leave the country and send them “proof” of my boarding pass, payment etc. Only then would they resubmit my application and allow me to re-enter to defend my dissertation.

    So! Long story short, I asked where I could fly to, since while waiting here for my permit, I have technically overstayed by around 25 days. They informed me that it didn’t matter – so long as I sent my boarding pass. So I booked a flight to France to stay with my girlfriend for a couple weeks, and I’m super concerned that my overstay will be picked up somehow.

    Relevant details: none of my flights to and from France between Iceland have ever involved a passport check on either side – at least in the three years I’ve been here. What would your thoughts and advice be? I’m concerned because checking into my flight still required me to input my American passport number. Also relevantly, I had to replace my passport about 6 weeks ago, so what I have is clean (like 4 stamps – two of which are to and from Boston about 4 weeks ago). Alsoalso, my 180 day tourist period would have technically started the day my last student visa expired, which would have gone until a few days ago – so technically I should be entering a new 180 day period.

    Thanks a ton in advance!

    • Lindsey | 5th May 17

      Hello! Thanks for writing in with your issue. Seems like this visa issue is happening all around Scandinavia. Students and workers getting denied and booted for uncontrollable technicalities even though they started a life. Basically, your ‘tourist’ visa does not automatically kick in once your ‘student visa’ expires. If you don’t re-enter on a tourist visa, you are technically traveling on an expired student visa. 😧 So, the correct way to do this exit Schengen (stopover in UK?), and then re-enter a Schengen country (like France) as a tourist. On a tourist visa for U.S., you automatically get 90 days in a 180 day period. You should not continue to be in Schengen on an expired student visa – it could be an easier target for border control to identify. I would also contact the U.S. Embassy in Iceland (anonymously) and ask. Hope this helps!

  18. Anon traveler | 28th Apr 17

    Hi Lindsey, I just wanted to make one correction, the SIS which is the system that flags passports doesn’t record every time a visa free individual leaves or enters the schengen, so they have to actually page through your passport to get you… That being said, individual schengen countries can record this but there is currently no system in place for sharing this information among themselves. Anyway, I overstayed my visa by 5 months, but I really wanna travel to Bulgaria and turkey. I’m hoping that the more new stamps I can get before reentering the schengen will make my passport less likely to be discovered. Do you have any tips about leaving or reentering on the sly?

    • Lindsey | 28th Apr 17

      Hello! Thanks for writing in. This is true, which is why so many people escape. unscathed. However, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain all record entry and exits from their countries, so if you enter greece and then travel around europe for 4 months and come back to exit Greece…you will be more likely caught because Greece will assume you overstayed Greece by 1 month. Get it? So entering one and leaving another in a tip if you wind up in this issue. But there is no guarantee of going unnoticed. Safe travels!

  19. Barton | 25th Apr 17

    I am working in France currently and am leaving one week after my year-long work visa expires. Do you think I’ll have any problem?

    • Lindsey | 25th Apr 17

      Hey Barton! Thanks for stopping by. Anyone who overstays their visa ‘might’ have a problem. Visas have rules, and you are kept on record for how long you are in the country – and any customs official can see this. You did not mention what passport you hold, but they might be a bit more strict in the future if you apply for a new work visa and see that you overstayed. However, if you are leaving France (and Schengen), it is way better to be on the way out of the country (as opposed to being caught by police while still living in the country). In the future definitely be careful to not repeat so you can stay on the legal side of things so you don’t have to worry! Hope this helps!

  20. Conor | 20th Apr 17


    I have a bizarre situation that I thought maybe you could give me insight with. I am a U.S. citizen currently traveling in the Netherlands. Last summer I started an application for Irish citizenship through descent (my grandfather). The application was completed and turned in through the Boston Irish embassy in September and I was told it would take six months to be approved. With this in mind, I left the U.S. in December to begin traveling throughout Europe – first in France and then Belgium and now the Netherlands. While I have been traveling I have been completing online courses to finish my last semester of university. I am scheduled to graduate May 26th. I began planning my trip to return for graduation based upon the thinking that with my Irish citizenship, I would no longer have a problem staying more than 90 days in the Schengen zone. When I contacted the Irish Embassy in Boston in March, I was told that the application had been approved and that it would take a few weeks for the certificate to be sent in the mail. I thought that then I would be able to obtain my Irish passport and use it to return to the U.S. It ended up taking a month for the certificate to arrive (today). This means that I do have official proof of my status as an Irish citizen. However, I no longer will have enough time to obtain the Irish passport before my flight back to America on May 21st. As I will have overstayed the 90 days, I know that it will be an issue when I would leave. My flight is from Schipol but passes through Iceland, which means the customs control would be there I suppose. Do you have any insight?

    • Lindsey | 29th Apr 17

      Hey Conor! Thanks for writing in. This does sound like a different situation. Unfortunately, if you are caught, even mentioning you “thought” you would get your Irish citizenship in time would not matter to the border control as a reason why you overstayed. I think you should change your ticket and leave before your 90 days are up to avoid any issues.

  21. Roman | 20th Apr 17

    Hi Lindsey!
    I am a student in Barcelona and my student residency card expires 5 May. I am neither EU nor US/Canada citizen and I normally need a Schengen visa to travel for tourism purposes. I was planning to travel for 3 weeks after I complete my study. Do you know if I can “overstay” my residency card? Thank you!

    • Lindsey | 29th Apr 17

      Hi Roman, thanks for stopping by 😀! You didn’t mention what passport you hold or the exact visa type, but you cannot stay in Europe on an expired student visa. Usually, you would have to apply for a tourist visa if you’re non-US/CA/AUS/NZ, but usually student visas (type D) are able to travel an extra 3 months as a tourist (as long as they get a Schengen exit stamp and travel to a non-schengen country before re-entering). However, you should speak with your school or an immigration advisor to see if you can submit an application for a short-stay uniform Schengen visa (category C). You might need to apply from your home country.

  22. Reggie | 19th Apr 17

    Hello Lindsey!

    I am wondering if you have heard anything about Iceland being a good country to exit from if one has overstayed. Many people say France / Italy / Spain of course. Do you know is Iceland lax?

    Thank you

    • Lindsey | 29th Apr 17

      What’s up, Reggie! In general, I would stay away from the Scandinavian countries if you have overstayed. Due to refugee crisis, it’s been a bit tough and they definitely flip through your stamps and scan your passport. Not sure why other people recommended France…that country is a big no-no to try and leave from. Italy and Spain are the most lax. Have you thought about leaving from a non-Schengen country…as long as you don’t have a layover again in Schengen!

  23. Torry | 11th Apr 17

    Hello Friends.
    Just happened today (April 11th .2017) when I was heading back home to USA exiting from Düsseldorf, Germany. I oversayed for 5 (total 95days) and officer asked me how long did I stay. He also asked me what is the reason to stay that long. I told him
    i got married in Dusseldorf. (Got married and have 2 kids) I was so scared to meet the police officer at the security checkpoint cus I read all the Schengen visa rules. (90 days rules) I respect the laws they required and fortunately I have been luckiest person in the world. I would say law is law and be respectful when existing and entering to the country you are traveling. You should NOT say couple of days are fine when existing, NO it is not fine at all. You could get caught at the airport then you will have a BIG problems. I am seating at the airport and waiting for my flight back to US.
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, don’t you ever stay over the Schengen visa limit. You may passed the security check in even though you did stay over, but thinking to meet the guard at the airport will stress you down loke crazy. You will not enjoy your life till you get a stamp passing through guard. I would never ever do that again for a life.

    • Lindsey | 29th Apr 17

      Torry, thank you SO much for writing this comment. It is so often that we only see questions, and never hear the stories of those who got caught or dodged the bullet by a hair. It is a really scary situation, and should not be taken lightly. That is why I am trying to help people avoid this situation by educating on visas available and consequences. Thank you again, and I hope you had a safe flight back home. 💗 //Lindsey

  24. Christian | 27th Mar 17

    I’m U.S. citizen studying in Spain with a 180 days visa. I’m planning on overstaying for a few days. My visa expires on July 25th, 2017 and during July 15 until 20 I’ll be visiting Croatia. I wonder if the visa is somehow extended/renew with an extra 90 days after that visit to Croatia since that country doesn’t form part of the Schengen Zone yet.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Lindsey | 8th Apr 17

      Hey Christian, thanks for writing in. Once your type D visa (student) has expired, the EU rules do give you a right to stay for another 3 months following the expiry of your type D visa in other Schengen countries provided you have not traveled to another Schengen country in the previous 6 months.

      With Croatia not in the Schengen zone, the rules do not apply – so you could stay in non-schengen countries for 3 months if you’d like. It’s when you enter back into Schengen countries when you need to pay attention. So, I think you should be fine 🙂 Happy travels!

  25. Cheryl | 5th Mar 17

    We are planning a  5 week trip in the spring.  My son has been studying abroad and his 90 days will be ending when we arrive.  We were planning on renting a car and going to several of the non “Schengen” countries like Montenegro, Albania, Croatia, etc.  Can you tell me how crossing boarders by car will effect our trip.  Since my son will be within the 180 days will we be able to move freely within those places.
    Thank you for your help!

    • Lindsey | 11th Mar 17

      Hi Cheryl – I replied to you via email! Just for those who are in Cheryl’s situation as well, my reply was simply that as long as her son does not enter back into Schengen zone once he leaves, there would be no risk for penalty.

  26. Todd | 21st Feb 17

    I’ve been in the Czech Republic since late October working on a film project. My employer applied for my visa January 4th as it was apparent I was staying beyond my 90days to complete the assignment. My contract is up March 4th and was planning to meet my two teenage daughters in Paris for a 10 day vacation before returning to the states. My problem is that my employer notified me that my visa is still being processed and they are unsure when or if it will get approved before my scheduled departure. My question is should I just continue with my plans with my daughters? Should I cancel trip? Or do I chance it? Can I travel in Schengen Zones without fear that I will be deported while I’m waiting for my visa? If I do, is it better to travel by train, or air? I do have the dated application stamp in my passbook does that weigh in my favor. FYI my return to US with my kids is Rome-Zurich-LA Any advice would be a big help.Thanks

    • Lindsey | 26th Feb 17

      Hi Todd – was your work permit only valid for 90 days? If you came over on a tourist visa and was working for a European employer without switching the visa, that might be bad if you were to mention you working to any border guard.

      Assuming your employer is trying to renew your work visa, you technically cannot leave the country until it is granted, because you have no right to be in Europe over 90 days if you do not have a residence/work permit allowing you to do so. Even though traveling around Schengen Zone means there are no border control, I still would be careful, or at least check with your local immigration office (anonymously!) to see if you are allowed to travel around Schengen freely while waiting for the visa. If you travel, I suggest going by air because there is no border control from Czech to Paris, and the only thing they ask for is your passport to confirm your identity at check-in. They will not look for stamps on exit of Czech or entry to France. If you go by train, they could heck to see if there is anyone else traveling from another country that the train passed through prior to entering Schengen. Best of luck!

  27. rosa | 31st Jan 17

    Hallo if i enter france by my American passport and stay in europ for two years or more is the punishment will be the same when i leave france to prevent me to enter Europe for 5 years or there will be something different.

    • Lindsey | 26th Feb 17

      Hi Rosa,

      Thanks for writing in. Yes, punishment will most likely be the same. You could get a fine, be deported, and banned from entering Europe for 5 years. The biggest punishment of all, however, is if you are banned or deported, this will effect your travels to other countries in the future. No one likes a person who has been deported or banned from countries because they might do it again. So be very careful. Have you tried looking into visas to stay in France for 2 years? I have linked to the French Embassy in the U.S. for information on what visas could apply to you. You will want to be legal if you are staying for that long for medical benefits or the right to work. Good luck!

  28. Johnny | 21st Dec 16


    I came to Europe from America on a tourist visa but found a job during my last week of my visa. I got the job and now I’m the process of doing all my paper work.

    • Lindsey | 23rd Dec 16

      That’s great! However, if you do not have the visa being processed and just paperwork is being filled, you might need to leave to make sure you do not overstay a tourist visa. I would consult with your embassy or the country’s migration board to see how long the visa will take to be processed.

      Also, make sure you have not started working yet until your new visa/residence card has been granted.

  29. Ally | 13th Dec 16

    Hi Lindsey. I am currently waiting for my work visa in the Czech Republic to be processed. I was told by my employer that it would be processed in time for my trip to London for Christmas break. Well here we are 10 days before I leave and my work visa is not complete and I have overstayed my tourist visa for the schengen zone. Should I cancel my trip? Or if I get stopped by customs will I be okay if I explain that my work visa is pending?

    • Lindsey | 13th Dec 16

      Hi Ally – This sounds like a tricky situation. 😕 You never mentioned what country you’re from? Did you come over on a tourist visa, and then got a job? Also, if you are waiting for a work visa, are you allowed to leave Czech? Does the company realize they are breaking laws by having you basically overstay your Schengen tourist visa?

      I personally would not try and go to the UK, because you might not be let back into Schengen. I would stay right where you are and contact your embassy (anonymously) and explain the situation for official direction. In the future try not to purchase tickets until you’re SURE the paperwork is finished…and make sure your employee is sensitive to your own legality.

  30. Jackie Loong | 12th Dec 16

    Hey Lindsey thanks for replying! no i fly from Arlanda to Doha then to Singapore so no i wouldn’t be entering another Schengen countries. Im just worried that they will count my days at passport control when i get my stamp out of Sweden. I guess i cant do anything about it now seeings ive already booked my ticket out

    • Lindsey | 12th Dec 16

      The VIS (visa information system) tracks it for them when they scan it, so they can see automatically.

      I think you should be okay due to your citizenship and since you are on your way out of Schengen and it was only a couple days. It depends on the guard. Just play it cool and apologetic if questioned. Also, make sure you do not enter any schengen country for the next 90 days to clear your stay duration. And of course, next time be careful ☺️ Safe travels!

  31. Jackie Loong | 11th Dec 16

    Hey Lindsey Im Jackie from New Zealand i have a question, so im currently travelling in Europe and im leaving to go back on the 4th of Jan i just realised that i will be overstaying by 2 days. I fly out from scheduled to fly out from Stockholm Sweden on the 4th of Jan. I am so nervous to wether or not i will be fined

    • Lindsey | 12th Dec 16

      Hi Jackie! Thanks for visiting! Scandinavia is definitely more risky to fly out of than perhaps the lower European Schengen countries. But honestly, if you’re flying out of Arlanda airport (Stockholm), there have been times they have never even checked my passport other than the check-in agent. Do you have a layover in another Schengen country?

  32. fahim | 11th Dec 16

    Hey again Lindsey my name is Fahim i have written to u a comment about my situation on 24th Nov 16 and u answer me ( Hi Fahim! I replied to your private email in response! ),i didn’t receive ur answer in my email
    if u can answer again thanks a lot

    • Lindsey | 11th Dec 16

      Hi Fahim, I have emailed you back twice. I am not sure why you are not receiving them. Please check your spam folders, or search your inbox for

  33. The Schengen Zone: What You Need to Know – Everyone In Between | 28th Nov 16

    […] do that in Europe, and this is the worst thing for backpackers. One of my most popular posts, is Schengen Treaty and Overstaying Visas, which I wrote in 2009; is still very much valid today.  For all of us ‘visa free […]

  34. Jade | 28th Nov 16

    Hi ! So mines a long story. But I’m from
    New Zealand and have been travelling Europe, U.K. And Egypt for the past 5 months. I have been going between the U.K. And shengen area. However I have been in Spain for the past 7 weeks. New Zealand apparently has a bilateral visa agreement with certain countries, Spain included. Meaning I can travel in Spain for up to 3 months in a 6 month period, regardless to time spent in other shengen countries. If this rule is correct I am fine. But if not I have exceeded my time spent in the shengen area. 66 days in shengen area and 52 in Spain. I’m worried about when I leave to go back to New Zealand that I will get a big fine or a stamp. I can 100% not afford the fine, and the stamp would obviously be devastating. I was just wondering how likely it would be to get either if they see me as having over stayed for about one month. I know it will again depend on the person working. But I just want some peace and not be stressed before the flight. I depart from Amsterdam on the 2. Thanks again

    • Lindsey | 29th Nov 16

      Hey Jade! I did a bit of research on your situation. So it seems that if you were granted and entered on a working holiday visa (not a tourist visa) then you are allowed 90/180 days in Spain & then you might need to leave schengen and re-enter on your tourist visa (which Kiwis don’t apply for, it just comes with the territory). So yes, you are allowed another 90 days in Schengen. So you should be fine.

      According to Schengen Border Code:
      Periods of stay authorised under a residence permit or a long-stay visa shall not be taken into account in the calculation of the duration of stay on the territory of the Member States.

  35. fahim | 24th Nov 16

    Comment: Hello, I travel to EU a lot with my wife she is Australian , am Moroccan citizen and living in united Arab emirates i have many visa from EU from different country in EU have got my last visa for 90 days available from 20th June 2016 until / 1st June 2017 from embassy of France in Dubai
    and i have stay more than 90 days almost 110 days so its overstay visa by 20 days almost
    when i was exiting to return to Dubai from EU i exit from Spain and i didn’t have any problem when i was exiting and i didn’t pay any fine just got stamp on my passport of date when i exit
    i just want to know if someone have any idea about my situation for next time when i will apply do i will have any problem
    thanks for the help

    • Lindsey | 26th Nov 16

      Hi Fahim! I replied to your private email in response!

  36. R. O. Wak | 19th Nov 16

    Hello, I travel to EU a lot, I remember in July 2016, I took a plane from Dubai to Geneva and the border guy in Geneva told me: sorry sir I can’t allow you to enter Switzerland, you’ve exceeded your limits by 2 days!! I had no idea by then of 90/180, every single one in Dubai thought that I can spend 90 days in each trip!!! what a day, I went to the investigation room, after that, they put me back to the next flight to Dubai, no good at all.

    So, I need to travel to EU again, I didn’t apply for another visa, simply I’m scared to do that, any advice from your side?

    • Lindsey | 19th Nov 16

      Thanks so much for writing in!

      How often are you coming and going from EU? Is it for business or vacation? Did you get a Schengen visa for a certain amount of time? Was the visa a multi-entry visa within a period of time, or just single entry? You can only spend 90 days in Schengen each trip total within an 180 period if your visa allows you to do so.
      Also, were you deported from Switzerland? Did they give you a ban from entering Europe? If yes, you need to abide by the rules they gave you, or seek advice form a lawyer that can help your case.

      • R. O. Wak | 19th Nov 16

        Thanks a lot for your prompt response.
        I was a student in Geneva for almost 3 years, I left Switzerland in October 2015 and I start working with a Swiss company based in Dubai a month after that, in December 2015 the company asked me to travel to Geneva to follow up with the company head office, so I applied for a tourist multi-entry visa.
        The visa center (all the visas application must go to one big center here) told me “you can get 90 days in each visit” Ouch!! I believed them, so I went to Geneva for 7 times this year (average staying 20 days) the problem happened in July this year.
        The Swiss border gave me a letter, the reason was: I’ve stayed more than 90 days, nothing more than that. they didn’t answer my question when my next trip will be available.

        • Lindsey | 20th Nov 16

          I see Emirate citizens are now part of the visa waiver program for Schengen. So the multiple-entry visa allows its holder to go in and out of the Schengen country as pleased. However, this visa allows its holder to stay in a Schengen Zone for maximum 90 days within half the year, starting from the day one crosses the border between a Schengen member country (Switzerland) and the non-Schengen member country (UAE).

          So, if you made 4 trips within 6 months and for 20 days each trip, that means you surpassed to 90 day rule of your visa – because it pauses each time you come/go within 6 months. I think if you are going there for business, your company needs to get you a multi-entry visa for 90 days or more. You can also speak with the Swiss consulate to see what options are available, and what happens if you were not let in prior. In my personal opinion, you never received any information of you being banned or fined, so you should be fine to apply for a new visa. Just make sure it is the correct one and you follow the 90/180 day rules!

          Swiss Embassy, Dubai: +971 2 627 46 36

  37. Once Bitten | 11th Nov 16

    back in December 2010 I overstayed in the netherlands by 7 months. When we passed through passport control on the way out of Schiphol I was caught.

    The penalty was a complete ban on entry to the EU for 5 years.

    Be warned people, and I am an older guy 55 at the time and very normal looking. So it can happen to anyone.

    • Lindsey | 12th Nov 16

      Thanks for sharing! I feel like there are not enough people sharing their stories of being caught! It is definitely a risky things to do to overstay a visa.

  38. Dani | 28th Jun 16

    Hi! Im from Brazil so I do not need a schengen visa to enter Europe so this is my situation, I got a VISA D and a residence permit to work in Switzerland for 4 months last year, after this expired I left Switzerland and stayed 90 days within the visa free in Sweden , after this finished I went to the UK for another 90 days and enter again Sweden for other 90 days and finally left to my home country and now waiting another 90 days to go back to Europe through Spain.

    So as far as I know and everything Ive read including EU rules I did NOT overstayed by staying 90 days after my residence permit expired, (I have EU oficial sources that confirms this). BUT when leaving from Spain my immigration officer was fully convinced that I did overstayed, our conversation was around only 1 minute, in this time I try to explain but finally she said ”okay okay you know, just go” and sealed my passport with a normal exit stamped.

    My question is, because she was convinced I overstayed for 10 months and seemed to have mercy by just letting me pass without making me sign any document or paying a fine or putting a banned stamp in my passport, I still dont know How can I be sure she didnt flagged me on the system¿ I mean on her computer¿

    I really try to remember if she scanned my passport or not, Im almost sure she did not but than again Im not really sure how and where officers do this, if they do it like a credit card ¿

    Now Im going back to Europe, through Spain AGAIN and Im a bit scared that Ill be flagged in the system unfairly or that I would wake to much questions because i have already a lot of entry and exit stamps from UK, Sweden and Spain..

    My porpuse of retourning is to get married with my swedish boyfriend, it is legal for me to do this under a tourist visa but I think it will not be a good idea to tell this to the officer so Ill just say Im going as a tourist and have a retourn ticket to Brazil even if Ill not use it just to prove Im leaving Europe.

    My plain is in 3 weeks so Im getting super super paranoid .. specially cause its my only shot to marry my boyfriend who I love so much and apply to a residence permit and stay legally and do things legally as Ive always done. ANY advise¿¿¿

    • Lindsey | 6th Jul 16

      Hi Dani! Good job on doing everything legally. The agent in Spain probably did not have the time to actually do the calculations in her head. Right now there are a lot of issues with immigration in Europe, so agents are quick to assume. If she did not give you a fine or a special stamp (usually they are triangles), there is nothing that would have flagged you.

      If you are coming for your Swedish boyfriend, you should actually apply for the Sambo visa (having done this myself and now I am living in Sweden.) This is the legal way of doing this. Sweden is very strict these days about who is immigrating here. Once you are married, you are not just given a visa to stay and work. This needs to be applied for beforehand and you need to wait. Here is a helpful link from the immigration board about how to move to someone in Sweden to get married.

      I strongly advise you to follow the instructions of the visa processes before coming over to try and get married on your tourist visa. Because if you don’t apply for the visa, you cannot stay after your 90 days are up even if you are married. Let me know if you have anymore questions!

  39. Jessi | 2nd Jun 16

    Hi, I’m in Spain and working on nationality based on the new law passed 2015 for Sephardic people.
    I entered Dec. 11 and was due to return to US (US passport holder) and of course I fell in love with Spain, so I’m still here. I did ask for an extension called proroga and was approved for the last 3 months; which ends June 8. I would like to travel to Israel for a week for leaving June 6, 1 day before my 180 day reset. But I want to return to Spain a week later. Will I be able to return–does Spain system calculate days… If I can leave and return, I’m hoping the clock resets for a new 90 day stay. The police I asked don’t seem to know. The other thing is if I stay passed the 8th of June, I’m set to finalize nationality in July. Would they catch me overstaying? My attorney said not to worry about it, stay and if I get caught overstaying I can say I’m getting ready to recieve nationality. I know i’m probably freaking out, but I’m with 6 children too!

    • Lindsey | 6th Jun 16

      Hey Jessi, thanks for writing in! Your case is different due to your granted extension and your awaiting nationality. I agree with your lawyer that you should be fine if you did decide to skip out to Israel, as Spain is one of my top recommended countries to exit Schengen. Here is how the typical law works: All Schengen countries calculate nonconsecutive days IN within an 180 period. So once you leave, the counter stops at wherever you are within your 90 days IN. From the day it stops, you need to be OUT for 90 days before you come back IN. This would be within an 180 day period.

      I think something to keep in mind, is if your 3-month extension was for touristic purposes? And how does that effect the 90 days in, 90 days out law of Schengen? Does that extra 90 days extension cancel the 90 days out rule, so you can return for another 90 days when 180 days are up? Because you received an extension, they might notice it more than the average tourist when you leave. So it could actually draw attention to your situation. Then again, I would listen to your lawyer if they are knowledgeable about this situation. Whether you get caught or not really depends on the border control agent and if they are familiar with the extension rules and Schengen law. If the 3-month extension had 0 effect on the 90 days in, 90 days out rule – I would say you are clear to travel out and travel back in.

  40. Anonymous | 21st Mar 15

    hello i have an official schengen visa wich i was allowed to use it for 7 days but i stayed longer in europe .
    i wanna go back to my home country cause im together with a swedish girl now and i need to go back to apply for another visum
    im going to travel from copenhagen airport but i would like to know am i going to have any trouble or are they going to fined me or make me an prohibiton to travel in schengen states,thanks.

  41. Lindsey | 20th Jul 14

    Yes, you must stay out for 90 days. The problem is they CAN enforce it, and you might be the unlucky one. But you do not have to return to the USA right away. You can go to UK, Turkey…anywhere besides the Schengen.

  42. Lindsey | 20th Jul 14

    Hello! If you overstay your Schengen visa, do not freak out (If you are from US, Canada, Australia). Just do not leave the Schengen zone through countries like Austria, Germany, France, etc. Try to exit the Schengen zone from Italy or Spain, and do not plan on coming back within a 6 month period.

    What I always did:
    Fly from Greece –> Italy or Spain –> USA

    The passport control does not look at your passport when flying in Schengen countries-only the people checking you in for your flight for ID purposes. However, make sure you never have a layover in a non-Schengen zone country (Like Serbia, UK, etc) when flying between Schengen countries.

  43. pelen | 9th Dec 13

    Guys here is an idea. Go to the u.k( you get 6 months) . Then arrange a bus / coach journey to France from Dover to Calais ( using sea France ) .They is no passport control at all when you enter France and retun to the u.k in the same way before your 6 month ends. uk border agency inspects your passport when you return( at Calais ) if uk border agency asks you tell them , you left the uk for a day one will know when you leave the uk and enter France . If you still wish to go the schengen area you plan another trip.

    • Tanisha | 7th Mar 16

      So I’m in Italy on a tourist visa, which ended January 24th but I took a plane a week before the end of my 90 days to London to receive a stamp and took a train back into Italy, where I did not receive another entry stamp…so “technically” I’m still in London, out of the Schengen area, until my 90 days are up, again. In my mind, this sounded like a super solid plan but not that I have only a month until I have to reconfigure things, I’m a litttlleeee nervous haha. Should I be freaking out about potentially going back to London for an exit stamp or just stay in Italy. ALso, I feel slightly trapped in Italy, which is absolutely ridiculous, I know, because HELLLO, it’s Italy but I also want to see everything else. I’m too scared to get on a plane or anything.

      Any suggestions to ease my nerves? Much appreciated.

      • Lindsey | 14th Mar 16

        Hey Tanisha,
        Take a deep breath 🙂 That is strange UK never stamped your exit. If you enter back into UK, don’t go by plane. If you go by train, they might not check you again…but they might because they are pretty strict on entrance stamps. I suggest leaving via Italy. You have proof that you left Schengen, and it would be UK’s error for not stamping you, which can easily be explained if questioned. The thing is, no one wants to actually overstay their visa, so it is important to think about realistic options and eventually leaving before racking up too much overstayed time. You basically only need to be out of Schengen 3 months, and you can return again. Just consider having a long distance for 3 month with you bf, or have him come visit you.

  44. C. R. Matheny | 12th Sep 13


    I'm a U.S. citizen who made an honest but potentially-costly mistake. I entered the Schengen Area on April 23rd, left for about six weeks to the U.S and UK on May 15th (22 days in Schengen so far), then entered from the Schengen area again on June 29th and plan to leave out of Berlin on September 26th (an additional 90 days). That's 112 Schengen days of the past 180, which is definitely an overstay. I didn't do this intentionally; I thought the same stupid thing a lot of Americans who don't do research before traveling think, that “the clock will reset when I leave and re-enter.” Not so, it's 90 NON-CONSECUTIVE DAYS WITHIN THE PAST 180 DAYS. I'm clearly in violation.

    Important point: I have just enough money to get home, NOT ENOUGH FOR A FINE ON THE WAY OUT, not even on a credit card, they're all maxed out (long story).

    I know the consequences range (with cruel randomness, I read) from nothing at all to a fine of 1200 euros and a re-entry ban of one year to life. I've read about people in Germany being thrown in jail (this sounds far-fetched to me) and about passports having “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT” scrawled on every page in red marker by an angry immigration official, who makes a “BAN THIS PERSON FOR LIFE” note on your SIS record. On the other hand, I've read about French and Spanish officials stamping passports and waving people through without even looking up from their desks. I know, I know — it all depends on the agent you get, the mood they're in, how suspicious you look, etc., and I'm not asking for a fortune teller reading. Just some advice on which of these options makes the most sense to you.

    The options I can afford right now are:
    1) Fly out of Tegel to NYC as planned
    —- Risks as outlined above.

    2) Change flights by flying from Tegel to London and from London to NYC.
    Pro — The advantage would be that EU –> UK flights tend to get less scrutiny, is that the case and would it work to my advantage?
    Con — My main concern here is that supposedly the UK officials can and will send people back to Germany for a Schengen overstay, from which I'd be deported at my eventual expense to the U.S. Is that a significant enough risk to nix this option?

    3) Change flights by flying from Prague or Warsaw to NYC.
    Pro — I've heard Polish and Czech officials are lax and that I'd have good odds of getting out.
    Con — …maybe not, maybe a waste of money and not much better odds than leaving from Berlin?

    4) …any other options you can think of that won't involve crazy schemes like taking a boat to Albania? 🙂

    My main goal here is to be able to re-enter Europe legally and reliably, as I have a lot of personal and business connections over here that are very important to me. Even if I make it out without a fine, is it possible or likely that I'll be denied entrance on revisiting in, say, a few months' time? Or a year? Even after going through all of this worry?

    One last question: any advice for talking to the customs official to explain my situation? I've heard they can be pitiless, especially in Germany. I do know a bit of German, so that could be helpful. But any advice on how to present myself and my situation would be appreciated.

    Thanks a lot for reading my sob story. Best wishes,

    -Carlos the American

    • Thurston | 3rd Feb 16

      Hey, I have a very similar story to yours. I am an American who will be overstaying my schengen visa by about a month. I am currently living in Germany with my girlfriend. I am very curious to know how your story ended. I know it was a few years ago but I would really appreciate it. Thanks

      • Cheating Through Europe | 3rd Feb 16

        Hey Thurston!

        My story ended with me eventually getting a residence permit in Sweden based off my boyfriend’s citizenship. They offer this in some countries, but I don’t think Germany is one of them. (Booo).

        I have always recommended to avoid exiting from Germany/Austria/Switz if you have overstayed. And now, with the refugee crisis, I know they are a bit stricter with their borders. I went through there this past Xmas and it was a nightmare at the control and they thumbed through my pages.

        It depends where you have been during your 90 days. Was Germany your 1st point of Schengen entry where you got stamped? If so, I would try to exit through a southern country (Spain, Italy, Greece).

        A couple times I flew out of France and they drilled me, even when I had an EU residence card.

        So just be a bit prepared and know what you are going to say when asked about your reason for being in Europe. But since you are leaving, it shouldn’t be an issue. It is when you are caught not leaving…

        • Tanisha | 7th Mar 16

          So I’m in a very similar situation, as well and I’d love to know a little more about applying or receiving a residence permit. I’m currently living in Milan, Italy as an Au pair with a family but I also have an Italian boyfriend. I have no desire to leave Italy or him, for that matter! I’m only here on a tourist visa. I’d love more than anything, any kind of suggestions or help!

          Thank youuuuu

          • Lindsey | 14th Mar 16

            Hey again! I am not sure what your nationality is, but if you are American, I would suggest seeing your options for being a student. An Au Pair is great, but can be looked at as illegal work. You need to be studying at the same time to legally be there longer than 90 days. This is a link you might find helpful. It is the Italian Embassy in U.S. with different visas that are optional:

            Feel free to contact me privately if you’d like here

    • Lindsey | 12th Nov 16

      Hey Carlos! I sent you an email 😀

  45. Katie Bird | 5th Sep 13

    I have a question to which you may or may not know the answer. I am a US citizen who has overstayed the 90 visa in Italy. If I go back to the US (the way you suggest here), do I REALLY have to wait 90 days before I return to the Schengen region? Is this rule really enforced? Can they tell how long I have been home/ do they really check for that?

  46. MursBlanc | 14th Oct 10

    okay. you seem to have a lot of info. I have been in Europe for 2 1/2 years. just on my tourist visa.. obviously I'm in trouble. My question is- do you have any tips for me? Should I Deal with it when I leave- or do I turn myself in? Also I've been advised to leave through France. any help you can give me… PLEASE help!! Also- I want to come back.. in 3 months. Are there any safe ways to get back in.. say if I've been banned via boat.. etc?

  47. BongsRips&BlogHits | 27th Aug 10

    have you done it yourself???…im currently traveling europe for 6 months…but it wasnt until i got here that i heard about the 90 day rule!…i thought it was 90 days per country…so at the moment i feel like im fucked!!…although im thinkin of just doin my trip as planned and say screw the "law"…tho it might bite me in the ass later…

  48. You. Me. Everyone In between. | 19th Feb 09

    haha!! You should get one, dear! Now you need one even if you wanna take a day trip to our neighbors up North

  49. Kaeli | 18th Feb 09

    all this talk about visas…i dont even have a passport!

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