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How to Plan for Overstaying Schengen Visa

How to plan for overstaying Schengen Visa?

Hello Rochelle,

To play everything by the rules, you and your daughter are in sticky territory. What your daughter wants to do — stay in Europe for a few weeks over her visa after her study abroad program ends — is a completely normal intention, and many, many, many other US citizens are in the same boat as she is:

They want to extend their trip to Europe, but doing so is technically against the rules.

From experience and consultation with many other travelers in similar circumstances, I can say with assurance that your daughter has more than an 80% chance of being able to do this without any problems if she does NOT exit the Schengen region from either Switzerland or Germany.

Note: this page was updated on February 19, 2010– This is time sensitive information, as all countries in the Schengen region could get strict on visa overstays tomorrow.

Applying the Schengen visa restrictions to the 25 countries of the region has proven to be a little shaky. The results have been that the rules are very inconsistently applied.

It is my impression that your daughter, a US citizen with a US passport, who is only slightly overstaying her visa, should not encounter any difficulties if she exits the region from France or . Thousands upon thousands of Americans have  overstayed this visa by months and years, and I have not yet heard of any being prosecuted. The most problem I have ever heard of anyone having is told here, Overstaying Visa in Europe

The fact that your daughter is traveling to Turkey, a country outside of the Schengen zone, during her study abroad semester, means that she will be stamped out of the Schengen region and given a new stamp upon her return. Technically, this does not mean too much, as the rules state that she must be outside the region for 90 days for every 90 days that she wants to be in it, but in reality it may serve as a little bit of smokescreen for when she finally leaves the region.

Map of Schengen Region

Prosecution for Schengen Visa overstayers — especially those who have Class A passports (USA) and have only overstayed for a short period of time — is not often applied in some countries of the region. Just stay out of Switzerland or Germany with an overstayed visa.

In point, I would not worry about this overstay too much. Though the situation could change at any time, and all of the countries in the region could get strict with overstayers without prior notice.

To answer your questions:

She plans on flying out of Paris in Jan. Will she have problems without a visa?

No, I don’t think so.

Would it be better for her to take the train back to Amsterdam and leave from there?

I don’t think that this would have any impact.

Will the airline issue a roundtrip ticket for over the 90 days.

Yes, the airlines will issue a ticket for any amount of time, but whether they allow you to board the plane or not is another question.

But it is my impression that your daughter will be flying from the Netherlands to Turkey, correct? This means that she has a plane ticket? If she is given trouble boarding the plane, all she has to do is show that she has a ticket out of the Schengen zone within the time of the visa.

Does the airline ask for a visa?

Yes, the airlines do check to make sure the passengers have proper visas before allowing them to board the flight. Though this is very inconsistently applied to Americans going to Europe. If she has the ticket to Turkey, or if she has two tickets (like from JFK to Dublin, then a separate ticket from Dublin to Amsterdam) then she should not be given any problems. If she does take the Aer Lingus flight, then she is probably traveling on a flight to Ireland as she leaves the USA, and she will probably not be bothered too much about the Schengen visa potential overstay.

Will they check her ticket upon entering Amsterdam and note that it is over 90 days?

Probably not. But if they do, then she has the ticket to Turkey (maybe?) and a return ticket from France. They probably will not check though.

Will she have problems with leaving Paris?

Probably not — she would be leaving the country then, which is what she is suppose to do. But there is a chance that she could be given problems if she ever intends to go back to Western Europe. Read, Problems with Irish Immigration, for an example of what could happen to people who return to countries where they previously overstayed their visa (though this is an extreme case in a country who has very strict border control. There is very, very little chance of this happening in the current manifestation of the Schengen zone).

I would highly recommend the following:

  • That your daughter does not fly through the UK or Ireland on her return flight. Their immigration checks through passports extensively.
  • I would also recommend that she tries to get a visa extension while in Amsterdam. This is not suppose to be possible, but you never know. I have gotten “impossible” visas before.
  • Have her call an SIT representative — the program director — who is on the ground in Amsterdam (talking to the secretaries or anyone in the USA is useless) and have her ask them the same questions that you asked me. I would lay out the plan, and ask how it could be done with as little risk as possible. It is very common for students to want to travel around a little after their study abroad program, and they should have some advice.
  • It all, don’t worry too much. There probably will not be any difficulties. The worst thing that could probably happen is that she gets banned from the region for a certain amoung of years or fined. But it is my impression that this is very rarely put into action.

Here are some more pages that could help

Walk Slow,


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Countries of Schengen Region Map

Countries of Schengen Region Map


How can my daughter stay in Europe for longer than her Schengen Visa?

Hello Sir,

I hope you can help my daughter. We have gotten conflicting answers to our situation. First SIT (study aboard program) said she needed a visa, now they say she doesn’t need a visa. We are trying to play it safe (she is so worried) and get her plane ticket now prices are starting to go up. (Aer Lingus has the best prices even of the discount travel sites). My daughter (u.s. citizen) is traveling to The Netherlands on August 30th to study in Amsterdam for 12 weeks and Turkey for 1 week. However, she wants to travel to Paris from Amsterdam by train to visit a friend and stay until Jan. 4th or 5th. She says she might have only one chance to spend New Year’s in Paris. This will put her about 31/2 weeks over the 90 day period. She plans on flying out of Paris in Jan. Will she have problems without a visa? Would it be better for her to take the train back to Amsterdam and leave from there? Will the airline issue a roundtrip ticket for over the 90 days. Does the airline ask for a visa? Will they check her ticket upon entering Amsterdam and note that it is over 90 days. Will she have problems with leaving Paris? I will greatly appreciate any time you give to this matter. I guess you can tell I’ve never been to Europe, only to countries that you didn’t use to need a passport, lol.

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About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3161 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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