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No Excuses for Overstaying Schengen Visa in Europe

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Spain Map
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Question: Will I get in trouble if I overstay my visa in Spain to work because I don’t have enough money to go home?

Answer:

Hello Whitney,

It is difficult for me to believe that you do not have, or cannot borrow, $500 for a flight back to the USA. It is even more inconceivable to me that you say that you will need to stay in Spain for six months in order to earn such a relatively small amount of money.

In point, your excuse for overstaying your visa will more than likely be viewed by any immigration official as I view it, so I highly recommend you not to use it. A better excuse could be, “I overstayed my visa because I wanted to stay in Spain longer.”

It is my impression that a visa overstay is an overstay. If you are really so desolate that you cannot afford a plane ticket home and do not have any family members to borrow a few hundred dollars from, go to the US embassy and have them ship you out of Europe.

Though I highly doubt that anyone would really try to do this.

So, if you do overstay your visa, when you finally do decide to leave Europe, I recommend making sure that you do not book a flight that connects through Germany or Switzerland, as these will be the countries that you would be exiting Europe through, and they are the most strict on visa overstayers. Spain tends to be, as of now, one of the least strict countries in the region on visa violations.

But I am unsure how long this will last.

In point, the reason why people with US passports are able to travel so freely is because we don’t have a reputation for overstaying our visas. Each American who wantonally overstays their visa makes it more difficult for every other American to enter and exit countries who follow them. Indians have a difficult time traveling internationally because they have a reputation of working illegally and not going home, the reasons why it is hard for Mexicans to visit the USA is because they have a reputation of working illegally and not going home.

You are doing the same thing in Spain.

I get mail all the time about how Americans feel they must overstay their visa in Europe because they don’t have the money to go home, have fallen ill, or are in love. I have heard it all, and I am sure the immigration officials in the region have as well.

There is no excuse to overstay your visa. I highly recommend taking the next flight to the USA and get out of Europe.

Walk Slow,

Wade

Spain Map

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Original question about overstaying a Schengen visa in Europe to work illegally

Hi,

I am an American citizen who has been in Barcelona on my tourist visa I have been living and working here for the past month in a half and have recently run into an emergency the family that I have been an Aupair for has an ill family member that they must care for an I am no longer able to stay. Since I did not give myself enough of a financial safety net I am planning to go work for another family as an Aupair in Madrid. I know because my 90 days won’t have expired I will be fine to fly into Madrid in the next couple weeks, however I will be overstaying my visa. I do not plan to travel to any other EU countries the rest of my time overseas (I have already done my backpacking) will I be okay to return to the US without problem if I overstay my tourist visa 6 months in order to gain enough money for a ticket home?

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, Schengen Visas, Spain, 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 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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