Note: Some of the advice on this page is outdated. An update is published at Penalties and fines for overstaying Schengen Visa
Thank you for the good words! It is my impression that it is far less of a hassle to overstay your visa in Europe and violate the treatises of the Schengen agreement than it is to get a residency permit. Lots of travelers in Europe do not abide by that stupid 90 day in 90 day out restriction, and most countries that are supposedly a part of the Schengen region do not seem to acknowledge it.
I have a passport that has two sets of extra pages and is full of EU entry and exit stamps, and I have yet to notice an immigration inspector doing the math to figure out how long I was actually in the Schengen region or if I had been out long enough.
I have only heard of one person having any difficulty. I met him in Prague one year and he overstayed the Schengen entrance allowance by an entire year. He then figured that it was time to go home to the USA and took a flight out of Prague that was routed through the UK. The Czech authorities gave him no problems as he was stamped out of their country, but when he arrived in London (which is not a part of the Schengen agreement) the immigration inspector noticed that he had overstayed in the Czech Republic.
He was then put on a plane with an armed escort- at the UK’s expense – to go back to Prague to be punished. When he arrived in the Czech Republic the immigration inspector just stamped his passport like there was nothing out of the ordinary about the circumstances.
My friend then asked the inspector what he should do. The inspector looked at him like he was nuts and said, “Go find a hotel.”
So he stayed in the Czech Republic for another year.
As for getting a residency permit, I hear that this can be difficult and a lot of work in many parts of the EU. Try it if you want to. If you get a job or go to a university that is willing to sponsor you, I do not think it is too difficult. But doing it on your own without any other support can be a big hassle that just leads to dead ends on top of dead ends.
I say ask around when you get to Stockholm, you have three months to figure it out.
If you appreciate me answering your travel question please consider making a contribution. Vagabond Journey.com is funded from reader donations. Thank you
Original question about overstaying the Schengen visa restrictions
I’ve been reading your articles for about 6 months now and I think they’re great. I have one question I hope you can answer with your experience in traveling. I have noticed most countries only allow you to stay for a period of 3 months or less, particularly in western Europe. I am leaving for Stockholm April 28th 2009 and I know that the majority of Europe is part of the Schengen agreement, meaning that you can only visit the entire area for 90 days out of 180 before having to leave for another 90 days before you are allowed to re-enter.
So my question is this; how have you found it best to deal with residence permits and legal overstays? Do you not worry about it
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.