Is there a long term business visa for Europe’s Schengen zone?
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To start with, unless you have a European company that is willing to sponsor you going to the consulate and getting a longer term visa is a pipe dream. Many try, and I have not yet received a report of someone independently receiving a longer term tourist or business visa to the Schengen Zone.
There is a “Circulation visa” (still a C type of Schengen visa) that you could get which is meant for repeat business travelers which allows for multiple entries over a span of one to five years, but is ultimately only good for stays of 90 days out of 180 — just like a normal C visa. This visa is not going to help you much if you need to spend over 90 days out of each 180 in the region, but it would probably be good to get for the long term if you can’t get a true long term visa — as it will explain your repeat trips to Europe. To get this visa you need a letter of invitation from the country in which you would like to make repeat business visits to, and, or so I would think, you would also need supporting documentation from your company and the one that you do business with in Austria,
What you really need is a type D visa, which is basically the precursor for a residency permit. Thought, ultimately, you are a business traveler without aims of becoming a European resident, and, unfortunately, I am not too hopeful that you would be granted such a visa — especially without the backup of a European company. Your best bet may be to try to get your husband to get you a spousal residency permit for Germany — though there may be residency restrictions such as you need to spend a certain amount of days in Germany before you will be granted the permit (each country in the Schengen zone has different procedures for their D visas and it is best to check with the individual country).
[adsense]So what is my recommendation? In point, I would say that it would be best to get an invitation letter from the company you are doing business with in Austria, apply for a Circulation Visa, and keep your recreation trips in Schengen Europe to a minimum. As far as being caught for your previous overstay while in the process of applying for the visa I would say to not worry too much about this. If you have your documentation in a row and give them no other reason to reject your application it is my impression that this is not often a factor. Also keep in mind that continuing on how you are going now — many repeat entries on a regular C visa, leaving a very complicated trail of entry and exit dates — is just going to continue to spark suspicion with the immigration officials, as it had on your last entry into the Netherlands. This alone may lead to you being denied admittance into the region.
So I would say try to get the Circulation Visa to cover your excessive multiple entries, not stay over 90 days in any 180, and find a new port of entry into the Schengen zone that is not the Netherlands, Switzerland, or Germany. I give this advice to everyone, Italy is among the most lax countries in the region in terms of immigration, so try to get direct flights there.
Keep in mind that you are not alone in this, there are MANY business travelers in the same situation as you: they need more than 90 days out of 180 to continue doing business with their associates in Europe. Many of these people write to me looking for assistance, and none of them have yet reported a way to get more time in the region for business short of applying for residency. Many of these business travelers have even reported being banned for overstaying their visas. It is a tough immigration gauntlet that Europe has set up for their international business partners, but there does not seem to be any straight forward way around it. I would recommend calling and asking the Austrian consulate about longer term stay options (as each country has different regulations on this — just keep in mind that they may provide misinformation!) to see if there is another possibility for you. If not, it is my impression to just go for the Circulation Visa.
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Complete question about longer term business visas for the Schengen Zone
I have a bit of a problem regarding the Schengen visa. I have been perusing your site and couldn’t find any questions quite like mine, so I decided to donate via Paypal and fire away! I currently work for a US company (US citizen) and have been tasked with working in Austria since December. I travel all over the EU – unfortunately, only to the Schengen countries. I usually travel for 6 weeks, then come back home for a week or so, and it was only on this last trip that I realized I was overstaying. I got a little bit more harassed in the Netherlands, was asked why I had so many trips back and forth. I replied with the comment that Amsterdam is the major hub from Detroit, and it was my choice airport. (wink wink, show cleavage). I also stressed that my travel was for business and pleasure. They let me go through, no comment about overstaying, no paperwork, no huge hassle. In Detroit, I was “selected” for a special screening, but no issues really, just going through x-ray again before I could leave the airport. i’d love to get a visa for my return trip, so I can be legal, but I am afraid that the consulate will count up all the days, see how illegal I really am (~30 days past my 90) and give me the no-go. Since I entered in December, my 180 days isn’t up until mid June and I really have to fly out again no later than the end of May. I was just thinking that since they didn’t confront me with overstaying, what would be the damage if I try to head back there in mid-May? Or should I make an appointment at the Austrian consulate and cross my fingers? Or what about flying into Hungary or Poland instead? Another thing that might help my case a bit is that my husband is a German resident, living currently in Germany. (I stated in the Netherlands that this was the “pleasure” portion of my trip). Is there something I can do with that before I leave to make me less illegal? Your suggestions would be most helpful. Thanks in advance, and thanks for all the information on your website!!!
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.