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Entering England UK After Overstaying Schengen Visa

Hello, Yes, you are very correct, England is a little vigilant on Schengen visa overstayers — often much more so than some of the actual countries of the Schengen region themselves — but this does not mean that they process and send back all visa overstayers for punishment. Though it is true that some travelers [...]

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Yes, you are very correct, England
is a little vigilant on Schengen visa overstayers — often much more so than some of the actual countries of the Schengen region themselves — but this does not mean that they process and send back all visa overstayers for punishment. Though it is true that some travelers who have overstayed their Schengen visa and tried to enter England have been forced to return to the country that they overstayed in (often to receive no punishment there) it is still my impression that this action is more or less the exception rather than the rule. In point, hoards of tourists, foreign students, international workers are overstaying their Schengen visas, and a large part of these hoards are exiting the region through England — most travelers are not given much hassle.

Basically, if the English immigration official determines that he or she does not want you in England they will look for any reason to deny you entry, and returning you to mainland Europe for overstaying a Schengen tourist visa is just one of many recourses. I have written this time and time again: England has one of the tightest immigration procedures on the planet. If you are allowed into England, consider yourself a lucky traveler.

As far as your case is concerned, I would not worry too much: you overstayed a legitimate work visa in Italy by two months — who hasn’t? Be sure to dress real nice when you take your flight through England, look the immigration official in the eye, speak directly, completely, simply — DON’T SAY MORE THAN WHAT YOU HAVE TO — try not to act nervous, and carry yourself as if you have every right to enter England and that you expect no problems. Make sure that you know off hand your address in Italy, the name of your employer, where you are going in England, answer their questions with zero ambiguity, without delay, without saying “ummm,” without thinking. Be ready.

After traveling the world for 11 years and running this travel help site for a couple, it is my impression that the immigration officials for most countries in the world do not follow a hard set of rules in regards to who they allow to enter freely and who they decide to hassle. Immigration seems to be a very objective line of work. In point, carry yourself well when you go through immigration in England, look professional, and do not back down or whimper if they do decide to hassle you — argue, fight, tell them that they are wrong, act as if you are right, don’t admit to overstaying even though it is clearly demarked in your passport. If you prove to be a torn in their side, rather than a weak little pansy trying to squeak through with a guilty smile, it is my impression that your odds of getting into England will improve greatly.

Although it is clear that you did not change your Italian work visa to a tourist one, say that you did. There is a grey area in the Schengen visa rules about whether foreign workers or students can change their visas to 90 day tourist visas upon the completion of their work/ student visa. If you are hassled by English immigration, say that the Italian authorities said that you could stay 90 days as a tourists after your work visa was completed. This would of course not be true, but it could work. Blame the problem on the Italians — “they told me I could change to a tourist visa and that I did not need another stamp in my passport” — don’t take any blame, stand strong, refuse to be deported.

This is the best advice that I can give, what happens when you enter England is a crap shoot. It is not my impression that you should be given much trouble exiting Italy — even though this is the country that you ultimately violated the law in — as I have not yet received information as to Italian immigration yet being very diligent with punishing visa overstayers — though this could all change in the turn of a single day. In the end, I say don’t worry too much, everything should work out fine. Don’t be too nervous, keep in mind that whatever happens you will get through it eventually. Stand strong and walk with an air of authority into England. You should not be stopped.

Let us know how everything works out.

Walk Slow,


Original question about exiting Europe to England/ UK with expired Schengen visa

I heard that the immigration officials in the UK are strict
especially for Americans overstaying their Schengen Visas.  I have a slightly different issue.  I am an Australian who has overstayed the 1 year Italian work holiday visa for 2 months.  I have a valid 2 year
work holiday Visa for the UK.  I recently bought a ticket to London
going via Heathrow.  I know I have overstayed my 1 year italian visa
by 2 months, but I’m now moving to London with a valid UK visa.

What are the chances of me getting into trouble.  Any suggestions on how I can do this trouble free.  Any help would be appreciated — THANKS!!!

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: Border Crossing, England, Europe, Schengen Visas, Travel Help, Visas

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3715 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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23 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • jc August 16, 2010, 11:46 am

    Thanks Wade. I spoke to a friend and gave me 2 suggestions:

    1 – Get a medical certificate and pretend that to be sick for 2 months. If I were to do this, do I have to turn myself in to the Italian officials too??

    2 – Tell them that I stayed in Albania or any other countries outside Schengen and stayed there for 3 months which technically would have reset my visa to a 3 month Tourist Schengen Visa.

    What do you think is my best bet?? Or your suggestion is still a better Option?


    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com August 20, 2010, 8:12 am


      It seems to me that the first option would be too much work and would have too many holes to be viable. It would also technically not clear you from the visa overstay. The second option probably would not work as, if you did travel to Albania, you would have Schengen exit stamps and Albanian entrance stamps in your passport.

      On option that could work is that you could really go to Albania, quickly visit a few Balkan states, and then take a flight to England from Belgrade. Your flight would therefore not be coming from the Schengen zone, and the inspection in England may not be as vigilant. It does not seem likely to me that England will deport you to a country that your flight did not directly come from. Another benefit of this is that you would have cleared the Schengen zone completely prior to entering England. If you receive a punishment when leaving Italy you can have it all wrapped up prior to entering England where you plan to stay and work.

      It is my impression that, if it is possible, this would be your best option.

      Link Reply
  • Gerry August 27, 2010, 1:49 pm

    Wade offers great advice. Getting a lot of exit/entry stamps in your passport (from any country) makes it much more difficult for officials to figure out exactly when you entered Schengen zone. Smear the ink if you can…of course they can look it up but that takes time and if there’s a big line up…you might be lucky.

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com August 28, 2010, 11:02 am

      Times are changing, the borders are becoming electronically tight. I am unsure if fat passports with lots of visas is going to be much of an advantage anymore.

      Link Reply
  • Gisele September 1, 2010, 1:25 am


    I will travel to UK soon and I will stay for 20 days,I am from Argentina,I live and work in my country..I have heard immigration officers could ask me for a employer name or any type of paper to show am working in my country,the thing is I have a Clothing Store with my family and there is not bank account for it and papers do not show my name as owner.I will travel with enough money to support myself while my visit but I don’t know how much is the average money they expect for a tourist to bring.

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com September 1, 2010, 1:45 pm

      I would have 100 USD cash on you per day that you want to stay. I have heard that the amount that they may want to see is 50 USD per day, but this is never a set in stone amount. Bring 2,000 US dollars in cash, have VISA credit or debit cards, and bring the bank account information from your parent’s store or your tax returns (you do have some sort of tax documentation from working, correct?), as well as your own back account info and you should be fine.

      Link Reply
  • tim February 10, 2011, 1:50 am

    somewhat related… i am already a year into a UK work Visa and was wondering if i get any extra privileges with regard to shengen. but as far as i can tell britain is not technically part of shengen. so i guess this means i only get three months in the territories? furthermore i first entered the shengen in may for 4 days. i didnt re enter until september (3 days) then late october until mid january. as it is three months in any 6 does it get reset 6 months after my initial entry? i am in croatia and looking to spend soem time in italy but am scared about being pinged overstaying.

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com February 11, 2011, 11:54 am

      No special privileges in Schengen for UK work visa.

      Yes, the visa runs 180 days from original entry. You are clear to re-enter and get a fresh 90 days.

      Link Reply
  • Erhard September 1, 2012, 1:15 pm

    Hello I am 18 years old, mexican, I am going to Belgium as a tourist for 3 months staying with relatives, my question is: After these first 3 months, can I go to the UK for another 3 months also as a tourist?
    Thank you

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard September 1, 2012, 9:12 pm

      Sure, why not? They are two separate immigration zones.

      Link Reply
  • BOSEDE KEHINDE September 10, 2012, 5:39 pm

    Dear Visa Officer
    I have lived in one of the Schengen countries for over 5 years as an
    seeker. I am 38 years old and i am a Nigerian.. Unfortunately my
    application for asylum was eventually rejected and i was deported back
    to Nigeria. Moreover they said the passport i entered Schengen with was not genuine. They
    said i should not enter any Schengen country for five years. The Five
    years ban expired in June this year 2012. On my deportation
    to Nigeria, i struggled and went to University of Nigeria, Nsuka here
    in Nigeria and got a BSc. I have now been invited for a one year MSC
    in one of the Natural Sciences in Canada and i also have
    another MSc programme in UK.I prefer to go to UK because my brother who
    can help me is there and also it is nearer to Nigeria than Canada..I
    equally like both countries.
    Some friends told me that the UK Embassy will refuse me the
    study visa to Uk because i was once deported from a Schengen country in
    Europe. Moreover i have lost my previous passport and since i cant
    produce it, they can never give me study visa. Kindly give me a
    comprehensive truth about this situation. I can never Never seek asylum
    in my life.It was due to my situation which was very bad that time. Let
    me know if my past deportation from Europe will be used to deny me a Student Visa/ residence permit to go for my studies in any of these countries.I want to remit the fees this week.But i will halt the payment until i receive your reply. What happens after the deadline they gave me in entering Schengen expires? Will my name be automatically taken away from the list of people who cannot enter those countries? I prefer to say the the truth to UK Border Agency than to lie. Will saying
    the truth give me negative as people have been saying.
    Thanks very much kindly reply my e-mail.

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard September 10, 2012, 9:46 pm

      You’re lucky they didn’t send you to prison.

      The UK may deny you a student visa because you overstayed previously in the Schengen zone, but it’s not definite.

      After the period of you ban passes you should be able to return to the Schengen zone if you do so legally.

      Link Reply
  • Nathan October 4, 2012, 6:02 pm

    Hello Wade,
    I entered into the UK yesterday with a little trouble…because I didn’t have a record of how much money I had to send while here they said I had to leave within 11 days but they stamped my passport for the six month visitor visa. There is nothing on my passport about the 11 days nor dose it say ‘transit’ but was hoping to stay for longer than the 11 days. My biggest problem is my gf comes from Italy so I will be wanting to travel there in the future. Any advise?
    Thanks Nathan.

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard October 4, 2012, 8:31 pm

      I wouldn’t worry about this too much if there’s nothing stamped or written on your visa page that says “in transit.” They’ve told me this before as well.

      Link Reply
  • maria January 6, 2013, 3:35 pm

    i have the opposite question, im mexican and want to enter schengen zone after uk tourist visa overstay (1 year), i have a flight departing from germany but will go first to ireland (by flight), would i be rejected to enter schengen zone?, what questions will they ask me.
    and what would u recomend me to do?

    Link Reply
    • brent July 2, 2013, 12:14 pm

      hey man
      Same situation, what happened?

      Link Reply
  • brent July 2, 2013, 1:20 pm

    Right so here’s my story,

    I have overstayed my UK visa(work) by 2.5 months and was told by UKBA when I collect my passport from them I’ll be denied entry into France(I’ll be enroute to Germany eventually) and banned from all EU countries for 1 year. Is this true? I didn’t purposely overstay in the UK, my employer told me he was going to renew it but never did and kept prolonging it until this happened and I got letters from the UKBA. I intend on staying in Germany for 2 months and haven’t booked a flight out but will to prove my intent to leave. I know the UK is not in the Schengen area but in the EU, so can they post alerts in the SIS data and make sure I dont get allowed into the france and onward to Germany. Bottom line will I be allowed into the Schengen area after overstaying my UK visa or not. Thanks

    Link Reply
  • dadalife July 9, 2013, 1:25 am

    I have overstayed my uk student visa by 1 year and a half, can go on holidays to another eu country before going to my home country. The ticket is already booked..

    Link Reply
  • kiran August 1, 2013, 8:26 am

    Hello Wade,
    I have overstayed in UK for 4 months and i came back to my country by my expenses and recently i got married and my wife got Phd admission in UK and we both applied for visa she as a student and me as a student dependent at the same time, but she got her visa granted but i got refused. They have mentioned by section 320(7B) and 319C(a) and banned me for 1 year. so i still got 4 months till that ban expires…
    Now what are my chances getting dependent visa after that ban period expires.??Any advise?
    Thank you…

    Link Reply
  • Kevin November 19, 2013, 3:03 am

    Hello ,
    A friend got deported from Italy for overstaying a student visa for around 60 days . She is planning on entering the UK by rail and seek refuge there . How much of a chance does she have?

    Link Reply
  • Lara Shahine October 21, 2015, 7:39 pm

    I have a French visa that didnt expire yet my question is can i seek asylum in germany after it expires?knowing that im not in France i visited it and came back can i illegally enter germany after my french visa expires and seek asylum?thanks

    Link Reply
  • Alejandra April 14, 2019, 11:41 pm

    Hi! So I have been living in France close to three month teaching English to my host family and they have asked me to stay longer. By the time I leave I will have overstayed my Visa by 12 days. I would really like to change my flight to head to England before I got back home to the USA. Would this trip be feasible? What would be the best way to go about entering the UK and going through immigration?

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard April 15, 2019, 3:24 pm

      Do you really want to risk your access to Europe for years and potentially being denied entry to th UK for 12 days?

      Link Reply