Can I travel to England, UK, Ireland after overstaying a Schengen Visa?
Whitney previously asked a question on Vagabond Journey Travel Help about a job offer that she has in Italy. Basically, the job will last for five months and does not provide a work visa, which will mean that Whitney will have already overstayed her Schengen tourist visa by two months at the end of her term of employment. But she, understandably, wants to travel around Europe a little more before she goes home. I advised her that this should be OK, just so she does not travel through the UK or Ireland from a Schengen country. But Whitney really wants to travel in these countries and she is asking now if I think she will have any problems.
Well, the way I see it, you have three options:
1. Don’t worry about anything — work in Italy and then go to the UK/ Ireland as free traveler.
Basically, the worse thing that immigration in the UK and Ireland can do to you is send you back (at their expense) to mainland Europe to the country in which you violated your visa. I have heard of this happening before, the UK, and recently Ireland, have pretty strict immigration officials and they really do read your visa stamps. But, the worse thing that they will do is send you back to where you are coming from, which is not the worse thing in the world. They cannot do much else because you will not have violated any of their laws.
If you go to this page — Overstaying Visa in Europe — it tells the story of an American that I met in Prague who was denied entry to England and sent back the Czech Republic for overstaying his visa by a year.
2. Travel outside of the Schengen region prior to flying to the UK/ Ireland — If you take a boat or cheap flight to Albania and fly out of Tirane, I do not think that the UK/ Ireland immigration could extridite you back to Italy.
3. Don’t travel to the UK/ Ireland on this trip — Europe is big, there are many countries, just travel somewhere else and go to the British Isles on another trip.
I think the chances of UK/ Ireland immigration extraditing you back to Italy are rare in any circumstance, but they do seem to love nothing more than denying Americans entry (I just received a letter about another American who was recently denied entry into Ireland for dubious ressons, and a while back I got another from an American woman who went through hours of interrogation as she tried to travel from France to Dublin). I occasionally even have problems traveling through this region.
To put it bluntly, the immigration officials of the British Isles seem to have big sticks shoved up their asses. When you travel there, have your story set and answer each question with a direct answer — never seem indecisive about anything. Know the name, address, and telephone number of a hotel (pick a nice one), your EXACT itinerary, proof of an exit ticket, and be ready to show that you have more than enough funds to last out your trip IN CASH.
In point, I do not think that the UK/ Ireland will send you back to a Schengen country to be good and law abiding, but because they simply do not want you in their country. If you give them no reason to refuse you entry, then you will probably not have any problems. Just remember that the UK and Ireland are full of illegal workers and people who have overstayed their visas, so trying to enter the country with proof in your passport that you have recently overstayed a visa surely will not be to your advantage.
If you are in fact, denied, you would not be alone — this happens all the time — and you can just go back to the European mainland and travel elsewhere.
Let me know how everything works out for you.
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You say not to fly through England. This is my main concern. After working, I want to travel around and would really like to spend most of my time in Ireland/the UK. I figured I would spend about a month traveling after I’m done in Italy. Spend a week or two going around the Schengen zone then spend the rest in Ireland/UK. Is this impossible? Is it mainly England that is the problem? Could I fly into Ireland and Scotland and perhaps avoid trouble? Do you have any advice?
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.