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Working in EU When Company Does Not Renew Visa

How can I continue working in Switzerland without a renewed work visa?

Hello Lizelle,

As you have been working in Switzerland as a professional volleyball player for some time now and it was just this year that they did not renew your visa, I would highly recommend pestering your employer to no ends to renew your work visa.

As you know, what your team told you about how you can just leave the EU and then return to get a new visa is not valid. But, as you have seen, enforcement of the Schengen visa is spotty at best: sometimes overstayers are busted, most often they are not.

I started on this Travel Help site by sharing the on-the-ground situation about overstaying visas in the EU. I was working in hostels across Europe at the time and found that the Schengen regulations were applied in a very lax manner (many travelers were overstaying, and few were getting in trouble for it). But some time has now passed since I have traveled in Europe, and a reader once berated me because my advice was not the official position, so I have reverted to a new default position:

If it is worth the penalties of being banned from the Schengen region of the EU and/ or fined, then stay aboard and see what happens. You may be penalized, you may not. There is no telling. My advice is usually, leave the Schengen region for 90 days and then return.

But your situation is different, you can’t just leave for three months — you are working, you are working a job that I assume you love and you will probably find yourself with problems if you left your volleyball team in the middle of the season. My only advice is to pester your team to renew your work visa — bring them the forms, pressure them, show them the new visa regulations, don’t take no for an answer.

If you were just to stay in Switzerland on your tourist visa and just leave when it expires, you may be penalized with a fine or a potential ban from the Schengen region (although I have not yet heard of any such ban being enacted in reality). I have received mail from other travelers who have been fined for overstaying their visa while departing from Geneva. But there is also a good chance that nothing will happen, and, just as when you left the first time, the immigration inspector will note your overstay and pass you along.

There is no telling what may happen. Though easier countries to depart the Schengen region from are France, Italy, and some of the recent EU states in the east. Switzerland and Germany can be tough places to leave from, so I would recommend taking a train to one of these countries and leaving from there.

Thank you for your donation to Travel Help, I would not be able to do this site otherwise.

Walk Slow,


More information on overstaying Schengen visa


Original question about working in Swizerland without renewed work visa

Hello Wade,

Firstly, I would like to thank you for the very informative site, it is a great travel resource.

Now, my problem. I am currently playing professional volleyball in Switzerland, however, this year my team apparently did not got me a working permit. Why not, I have no idea, but the team jsut told me I needed to leave the country over Christmas and everything would be ok. Last week, I traveled to Morocco and was told that I had overstayed my visa by two days, but nothing happened. Obviously worried that I would not get let back into Switzerland, when questioned by the border guard at the Geneva Airport regarding my living situation at the Geneva airport, I acted as if I did not speak French. Amazingly this worked and he stamped my passport and let me in.

So here is the question: I did not leave the country for 90 days, however since the border guard stamped by passport and clearly recognized that I had already been on a visit longer than 3 months, is it possible that I will be penalized for when I leave in March?

It is not possible for me to leave considering I have to finish my season. There is no way to get a visa extension when you are already in the country, correct?

Thanks a bunch,


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Filed under: Europe, Schengen Visas, Switzerland, Travel Help, Visas, Work

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 3165 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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