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Illegal Entry to Europe Without Visa

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Entry to Europe for South African without a Visa

Question:

Hey Wade!

I’ve read through everything online I can, so I hope you can help! I’m south African, and I have an irish spouse. We are crewing on a yacht thats sailing from England to Italy. I thought I didn’t need a visa because I read that I didn’t if I was traveling with my wife through the EU, but now I’m told that I do! The yacht won’t be stopping for more than a night until we get to Italy. I’m wondering if I should present myself to the French or Italian authorities (france being the first port of call, Italy being the place I would fly back from), or if I should keep quiet and try to fly back? Do they check passports when you leave?

Thanks so much for your time!
D

Answer:

I would highly recommend applying for an expedited Schengen tourist visa through the French or Italian consulate in Ireland before leaving on this trip. There is no way that I would advise entering Europe illegally, especially on a yacht. By not having appropriate travel docs for the countries you are going may put everyone on the yacht — including the boat itself — in difficult legal circumstances. Yes, passports are checked upon entry into the Schengen (at sea and/ or in port), and if flying out your passport WILL be checked upon departure.

Although I have never received a report from someone who has been caught entering Europe without a visa, there is a good chance that the penalty for this would not be slight. Also, it is my impression that yacht captains need to fill out departure and entry immigration paperwork that includes all members of the crew’s details. So it seems unlikely to me that you would be able to get very far on this trip without a Schengen visa. I highly recommend going straight to the French or Italian consulate, explain the situation, and try to get an expedited visa.

Europe map

Do you have a Schengen visa question?

If so, then take a look at our Schengen visa community forum. It’s a community just for people who have questions or concerns related to Europe’s Schengen immigration zone.
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Filed under: Europe, France, Ireland, Italy, Travel Help, Visas

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 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 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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