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Experience of Overstaying Visa in Spain

The following letter was from a reader who wanted to share her experience of overstaying a tourist visa in Spain. Although she did overstay and was not yet punished for it, it is my impression that her summation of her experience and advice to other travelers is right on. —— Letter from Laura about overstaying [...]

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The following letter was from a reader who wanted to share her experience of overstaying a tourist visa in Spain. Although she did overstay and was not yet punished for it, it is my impression that her summation of her experience and advice to other travelers is right on.
Letter from Laura about overstaying visa in Spain:

Dear Wade,

I do not have a question as such, just wanted to briefly tell you my experience of “overstaying”.

I recently went to Spain for an Au Pair job. I fell in love with the country and decided I didn’t want to leave. “Everybody” told me staying longer than the permitted 3 months would not be a problem in Spain. But I did a few searches anyway and felt it was an issue. By this time I had stayed 4 months. So i booked a flight to leave from Sevilla to Bristol England and the booked date totaling 5 months in Spain.

At the airport i was really scared of being banned from returning to the beloved country. The man who checked my passport flicked through a few pages, stamped my passport and handed it back! I was really surprised. Then expecting questioning in England I again got nothing! I am Australian and have the work visa for UK. In England they didn’t even say anything when i answered “5 months” to the “How long were you in Spain”!!

I still will recommend to all my friends to NOT overstay in schegen countries. It is not worth the stress and things are changing. I would say the risk of being banned from a country you love isn’t worth the extra month or two. I won’t be overstaying again.

I am going back to Spain after the 3 month wait period. I hope I have no troubles re-entering.

I don’t know if you will find this interesting and I don’t know how to post for everyone to read. When I get a new job I will donate to your site. It is invaluable.

Kind regards and safe traveling!


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Filed under: Europe, Schengen Visas, Spain, 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 3720 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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14 comments… add one

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  • David Delgado April 20, 2010, 8:06 am

    I had a similar experience but exiting through Brussels, Belgium. Last year I stayed there for a total of 92 days. And when it was my time to go back to the U.S. I was also quite fearful of the repercussions I could encounter, so I was prepared to possibly pay a fine but not much. But the officer didn’t bat an eye, didn’t ask any questions, he quickly gave me my passport back and off I went.

    A month later I went back, entered through Belgium and was allowed in without any hesitations. I stayed then for just a couple of weeks.

    I was out of Schengen zone for a couple of weeks and returned back, again arriving through Brussels. And it was then that I did encounter some problems, the officer read my passport thoroughly, asked me why i was traveling to BE so frequently (to visit my partner), asked me about my return date and then told me that I was not allowed in because I had surpassed the 90 days within a 6 month period rule. I could return without problems after 3 months out of Schengen. They didn’t stamp my passport, didn’t file any report, they only asked me if I had cash in me, credit cards so I could change my return ticket to London or back to the U.S. They were all very nice but they simply could not allow me in until because it was my clear from my passport that I had been in Schengen for longer than the 90 days, I had to wait until June. So that’s what I did, changed my ticket and took the next flight to JFK.

    I am now in the U.S. and will return in 8 weeks, when the 6 months have passed. Even though they were very nice and didn’t stamp my passport or mistreated me at all, I am a bit fearful of going back. I’ve read on this site that you don’t know of people being denied re-entry on a tourist visa but that doesn’t mean those cases have not occurred.

    Any stories out there of not being allowed back when trying to enter with a tourist visa?

    Best Regards!

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com April 22, 2010, 3:03 pm

      Thank you for sharing this story. Very correct, just because I have not heard of someone not being allowed back into the Schengen Zone on a tourist visa after previously overstaying does not mean that it has not happened before. But from what you say, you should be in the clear — you were out for the specified amount of time, you should be allowed back in. But, on the other hand, little seems to be fully consistent about European immigration procedure.

      Please let us know what happens.

      Thanks again for sharing.

      Walk Slow,


      Link Reply
  • Mike November 7, 2011, 10:35 am

    Unforunatly I have a diffrent story. I was studying in Spain and had a student visa for 6 months. I decided to over stay my visa and over stayed it by 3 months. When i was about to leave to go back home to the US i wasnt really scared of being questioned only because i never really read anything of people being busted. When i went to the border control to have my passport stamped i was asked by the man why i overstayed and told him that i continued studying a little bit longer then i was suppose to. The man was not very nice with me and told me that i wasnt alowwed back into spain for 5 years! i begged and begged to him to not do this but nothing worked. So now becuase of this stupid mistake i made by over staying i am not allowed back in spain for 5 years. My question for you wade is if i am not allowed in spain for 5 years does that also mean i cant re enter the schengen for 5 years or can still travel to the schengen just with out going to spain?

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard November 11, 2011, 5:02 pm

      Man, if you just went to Morocco prior to the expiration of your student visa you could have returned and got a fresh 90 out of 180 day tourist visa.

      To answer your question, as far as I know there is not really any such thing as a single country Schengen ban, they are for the entire region as it functions as one large, contiguous immigration zone. Many travelers are even told by immigration of various countries in the region that their bans are for that country in particular, and then when they try to go elsewhere they are denied entry. In point, immigration policy can change or be interpreted differently at any time, but from the reports that I receive a ban for one Schengen country is a ban for all of them.

      Link Reply
      • Idiotic possible overstayer April 25, 2013, 2:09 pm

        Hello, I am interested by this sentence: “Man, if you just went to Morocco prior to the expiration of your student visa you could have returned and got a fresh 90 out of 180 day tourist visa.” Does that mean if you leave the schengen zone your 90 out of 180 days re-news itself? How do you know this??
        Thank you

      • Vagabond Journey April 25, 2013, 8:20 pm

        Only if you change visa types. You can’t recharge a tourist visa. This is also left up to the interpretation of the individual immigration official and the particular policies of the country — which vary greatly through the region.

    • billybob February 25, 2012, 4:41 pm

      Hey Mike,

      Do you have any update to this? I am going to be leaving out of Madrid after a overstay on a tourist visa for 3 months. Do you think the guy was trying to scare you or did he give you official papers/stamp? Did you have any other stamps in your passport from travel during that time?


      Link Reply
  • MeeMiee April 17, 2012, 8:56 am

    @Mike. I have got the same case with you. I have got student visa for six month in Spain and I plan to overstay for a month. After I read your post I really scared of it. Are there any way out.
    @Wade. Can I go to Morocco? I came from Thailand and I think that Morocco is not in Schengen country. Please suggest meeeee…

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard April 17, 2012, 8:31 pm

      Morocco is not a Schengen country but going there does not reset you Schengen visa. My suggestion is to not overstay your visa — no matter what. Spain is getting stricter.

      Link Reply
  • Julian R April 24, 2013, 5:22 pm

    @Mike you said the man “told me that i wasnt alowwed back into spain for 5 years”. Did he actually stamp your passport or something? Did he enter your name in a computer? I wouldn’t be surprised if he did neither and was messing with your head.. but I’m curious.


    Link Reply
    • Wade Vagabond Journey April 24, 2013, 7:55 pm

      No, don’t bank on this. When they say that you are banned they generally mean it. It is an incredibly simple procedure on their end, and it often doesn’t seem as if they did anything. But, believe me, when you are entered intobthe SIS it sticks.

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  • Warman Trevor April 27, 2013, 5:12 am

    overstaying……. what would ur own country do to overstayers? u gotta be pretty stupid to do it….. the rules are clear….. overstay fines are clearly indicated on the Thai border for example….. 500 a day….. cheaper to go out and back in aka a visa run for a lot cheaper…. try overstaying in the USA then u will change ur mind about overstaying 1 measly second!!!!

    Link Reply
    • Vagabond Journey April 27, 2013, 9:20 pm

      Well, I agree with much of what you said here except for what the US does to overstayers. If you enter legally and overstay and are not working or trying to stay permanently and don’t get arrested, they usually don’t bother with you until you leave. Then they just mark you down in their computer system and you can’t return for a handful of years. It’s actually pretty similar to Schengen.

      Link Reply
  • Warman Trevor April 27, 2013, 8:25 am

    u know how the US visa works?? u get a waiver visa, u get 90 days…. go to Mexico or canada…. u go back a few days later and the 90 days is still running…… think of it the same as the Schengan….. peope come to uk and go back to Schengan and are surprised that they wont let u in?????? dont any one do their home work before u travel??????

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