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Return to France After Overstaying Visa

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My Canadian girlfriend overstayed her visa in France but was not punished when leaving, she has been out of the Schengen zone for three weeks and received a new passport, is it OK for her to return to France?

This can all change at anytime, of course, but it is my impression that if your girlfriend was not caught overstaying her visa when exiting from France, then she was more than likely not registered in the SIS (the Schengen Zone computer system) as having violated the immigration laws, and, therefore she sould be OK to return. As she has a new passport, evidence of her previous overstay should not be overtly obvious to the immigration official upon her return — though could be electronically if given a reason to search.

Just make sure that she is returning directly to France without making a layover in any other Schengen country first, as this country tends to be one of the most liberal with immigration laws. I do believe that the Scengen zone has the technological ability to log in every traveler and to know automatically when each had overstayed their visas, but they do not really seem to be doing so very vigilantly. Most travelers who have trouble re-entering the Schengen zone after overstaying their visas on a previous trip were caught when exiting. Generally speaking, if you are not caught then you are not really being monitored electronically, and stands a food chance of being clear to return — especially since she has a fresh passport.

Though keep in mind that the time she spends in the Schengen zone during this new entry is going to be combined with her previous overstay, so she is going to be technically over her immigration limit from the start of this visit. At any time, to count up how many days she has taken on her visa, count back 180 days and then add up how many of these days she was inside the Schengen zone. If over 90, it is an overstay, and she should use caution when exiting: i.e. do not take a flight out of the region that has a lay over in Switzerland, Germany, or the Netherlands. Typically, penalties for an overstay are 3 year bans and, depending on the country exiting from, a potentially large fine.

More information in the France Travel Guide.

The Schengen zone is a continent


Complete question about returning to France after an unpunished overstay

Hey Wade!!
I’m Christophe! Do you remember?? From Aleppo!!! Man its crazy to find you there , I have been looking this website for so long now, and I just realised Wade was you!!

I hope you are fine!! So as you wife and your son!!!

Maybe you can help me with this classic situation:
My girlfriend is from Canada (yes its a new one…) and she overstayed her visa for four weeks. she went back to Canada through Marseille airport with no problem. In canada she changed her passport, got a new number passport but on the first page they put also the old number… She stayed in Canada three weeks and she is coming back on Tuesday. Do you think there is any chance it might work???? I am so worried!!!

Thanks for your help!!! And any time you pass throught Montpellier (its where I live in France) come for a visit!!!!!

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: France, 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 3128 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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