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Penalties and Fines for Overstaying Shengen Visa

What do would recommend as the path of least resistance to avoid attracting the attention of Shengen-vigilant authorities ?

Hello G,

Schengen visa is a brick wall to European travel

I really appreciate you sharing this story with me about how your fiance and her son were charged around $550 each for overstaying their Schengen visa by two months in Switzerland. This information is good, and should be passed on to other travelers.

I understand that you would love your fiance to return to Switzerland to be with you before the marriage, but if she has not yet been out of the Schengen zone for 90 days, I would not even consider it for a second. For one thing, there is a good chance that she will not be allowed in, as she would, essentially, be trying to overstay the same visa a second time, even after she was punished for it the first time (as you need to be out of the Schengen zone for 90 days for every 90 days you spend in it).

Another thing is that if she was officially denied entry to the Schengen region or caught overstaying a second time, this could have a drastic effect on her getting the appropriate visa/ citizenship after you are married.

My advice is to not risk it.

If your fiance has been out of the Schengen region for more than three months, I think that she should be able to re-enter without much difficulty. Though it is my impression that the path of least resistance would be to re-enter the Schengen zone through one of the relatively recently inducted states in the east of Europe. The Czech Republic seems like a good place for this, as they tend to not have the tendency of being very vigilant (though you never know!).

No country really likes people who overstay their visas, and once you are marked as a visa overstayer, you may have a difficult time entering any country that can tell that you once overstayed your time in the Schengen zone (such as the UK/ Ireland). My recommendation to your fiance is that, if she ever wants to obtain the European travel privileges that should come from marrying you, to never violate another visa, anywhere, EVER AGAIN.

Actual policy in regards to carrying out punishment for overstayers of the Schengen visa is a really hit and miss endeavor. You can never really tell when and where you are going to be caught and punished. Your fiance was hit once, I highly recommend that she plays by the rules and does not get caught again. Getting nailed a second time could carry with it an extensive ban from Europe.

It is my impression that the Schengen immigration authorities are getting far stricter, and this is only going to increase in the future. A few years ago it would have been unheard of for a Canadian to be fined $500 for only overstaying their visa by a couple of months, but now it is beginning to happen regularly.

My advice is to abide by the rules. There is no sure fire way around the Schengen visa restrictions, as the proof about when you enter/ exit the region will be in your passport and, more than likely, in the Schengen computer system. The Schengen immigration authorities may not always be 100% vigilent, but there is no safe way around them.

One possible suggestion that I have is that, if your fiance has not yet been out of the Schengen region for 90 days, it may be a good idea to meet up in a third country — such as in the Balkans, Morocco, or Turkey — for a vacation and have her wait out the time there. It is somewhat cheap and quick to travel from Switzerland to Croatia.

Though I highly recommend that if your fiance really wants to become an EU citizen, or at least to have the travel privileges that should be inherent to marrying someone from Europe, to be very careful about abiding by the rules of her visa.

More information on overstaying the Schengen visa

I hope this helps.

Thank you very much for your donation to Vagabond Journey Travel Help.

Walk Slow,


Original question about avoiding Schengen penalties?

My Canadian fiancée has been flying under the radar in Europe for about 5 months, but was caught overstaying her Shengen welcome by 2 months when flying from Zurich airport to Canada. She and her son were allowed to leave but have been fined 600 CHF each.
She would like to return to Europe, and the Shengen area, while waiting for the marriage.
What do would recommend as the path of least resistance to avoid attracting the attention of Shengen-vigilant authorities ?

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, 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 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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