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How to Plan for Overstaying Schengen Visa

How to plan for overstaying Schengen Visa? Hello Rochelle, To play everything by the rules, you and your daughter are in sticky territory. What your daughter wants to do — stay in Europe for a few weeks over her visa after her study abroad program ends — is a completely normal intention, and many, many, [...]

How to plan for overstaying Schengen Visa?

Hello Rochelle,

To play everything by the rules, you and your daughter are in sticky territory. What your daughter wants to do — stay in Europe for a few weeks over her visa after her study abroad program ends — is a completely normal intention, and many, many, many other US citizens are in the same boat as she is:

They want to extend their trip to Europe, but doing so is technically against the rules.

From experience and consultation with many other travelers in similar circumstances, I can say with assurance that your daughter has more than an 80% chance of being able to do this without any problems if she does NOT exit the Schengen region from either Switzerland or Germany.

Note: this page was updated on February 19, 2010– This is time sensitive information, as all countries in the Schengen region could get strict on visa overstays tomorrow.

Applying the Schengen visa restrictions to the 25 countries of the region has proven to be a little shaky. The results have been that the rules are very inconsistently applied.

It is my impression that your daughter, a US citizen with a US passport, who is only slightly overstaying her visa, should not encounter any difficulties if she exits the region from France or . Thousands upon thousands of Americans have  overstayed this visa by months and years, and I have not yet heard of any being prosecuted. The most problem I have ever heard of anyone having is told here, Overstaying Visa in Europe

The fact that your daughter is traveling to Turkey, a country outside of the Schengen zone, during her study abroad semester, means that she will be stamped out of the Schengen region and given a new stamp upon her return. Technically, this does not mean too much, as the rules state that she must be outside the region for 90 days for every 90 days that she wants to be in it, but in reality it may serve as a little bit of smokescreen for when she finally leaves the region.

Map of Schengen Region

Prosecution for Schengen Visa overstayers — especially those who have Class A passports (USA) and have only overstayed for a short period of time — is not often applied in some countries of the region. Just stay out of Switzerland or Germany with an overstayed visa.

In point, I would not worry about this overstay too much. Though the situation could change at any time, and all of the countries in the region could get strict with overstayers without prior notice.

To answer your questions:

She plans on flying out of Paris in Jan. Will she have problems without a visa?

No, I don’t think so.

Would it be better for her to take the train back to Amsterdam and leave from there?

I don’t think that this would have any impact.

Will the airline issue a roundtrip ticket for over the 90 days.

Yes, the airlines will issue a ticket for any amount of time, but whether they allow you to board the plane or not is another question.

But it is my impression that your daughter will be flying from the Netherlands to Turkey, correct? This means that she has a plane ticket? If she is given trouble boarding the plane, all she has to do is show that she has a ticket out of the Schengen zone within the time of the visa.

Does the airline ask for a visa?

Yes, the airlines do check to make sure the passengers have proper visas before allowing them to board the flight. Though this is very inconsistently applied to Americans going to Europe. If she has the ticket to Turkey, or if she has two tickets (like from JFK to Dublin, then a separate ticket from Dublin to Amsterdam) then she should not be given any problems. If she does take the Aer Lingus flight, then she is probably traveling on a flight to Ireland as she leaves the USA, and she will probably not be bothered too much about the Schengen visa potential overstay.

Will they check her ticket upon entering Amsterdam and note that it is over 90 days?

Probably not. But if they do, then she has the ticket to Turkey (maybe?) and a return ticket from France. They probably will not check though.

Will she have problems with leaving Paris?

Probably not — she would be leaving the country then, which is what she is suppose to do. But there is a chance that she could be given problems if she ever intends to go back to Western Europe. Read, Problems with Irish Immigration, for an example of what could happen to people who return to countries where they previously overstayed their visa (though this is an extreme case in a country who has very strict border control. There is very, very little chance of this happening in the current manifestation of the Schengen zone).

I would highly recommend the following:

  • That your daughter does not fly through the UK or Ireland on her return flight. Their immigration checks through passports extensively.
  • I would also recommend that she tries to get a visa extension while in Amsterdam. This is not suppose to be possible, but you never know. I have gotten “impossible” visas before.
  • Have her call an SIT representative — the program director — who is on the ground in Amsterdam (talking to the secretaries or anyone in the USA is useless) and have her ask them the same questions that you asked me. I would lay out the plan, and ask how it could be done with as little risk as possible. It is very common for students to want to travel around a little after their study abroad program, and they should have some advice.
  • It all, don’t worry too much. There probably will not be any difficulties. The worst thing that could probably happen is that she gets banned from the region for a certain amoung of years or fined. But it is my impression that this is very rarely put into action.

Here are some more pages that could help

Walk Slow,

Wade

If you appreciate me answering your travel question please consider making a contribution. Vagabond Journey.com is funded from reader donations. Thank you.

Countries of Schengen Region Map

Countries of Schengen Region Map

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How can my daughter stay in Europe for longer than her Schengen Visa?

Hello Sir,

I hope you can help my daughter. We have gotten conflicting answers to our situation. First SIT (study aboard program) said she needed a visa, now they say she doesn’t need a visa. We are trying to play it safe (she is so worried) and get her plane ticket now prices are starting to go up. (Aer Lingus has the best prices even of the discount travel sites). My daughter (u.s. citizen) is traveling to The Netherlands on August 30th to study in Amsterdam for 12 weeks and Turkey for 1 week. However, she wants to travel to Paris from Amsterdam by train to visit a friend and stay until Jan. 4th or 5th. She says she might have only one chance to spend New Year’s in Paris. This will put her about 31/2 weeks over the 90 day period. She plans on flying out of Paris in Jan. Will she have problems without a visa? Would it be better for her to take the train back to Amsterdam and leave from there? Will the airline issue a roundtrip ticket for over the 90 days. Does the airline ask for a visa? Will they check her ticket upon entering Amsterdam and note that it is over 90 days. Will she have problems with leaving Paris? I will greatly appreciate any time you give to this matter. I guess you can tell I’ve never been to Europe, only to countries that you didn’t use to need a passport, lol.

Filed under: Netherlands, Travel Help

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 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 3411 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

25 comments… add one

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  • Bob L July 22, 2009, 3:53 pm

    I like the way you encourage a voluntary contribution rather than requiring one for an answer. I would think this might get you more money in the long run, as it is not unusual for people to voluntarily pay more for something than they would have if they were required to pay. Maybe it would help of you emphasize the amount of research that you have to do?

    And speaking of comments, I find it interesting that the comments here are not included in your feed or other comment lists and that there is no way that I could find to get e-mail notifications. Combining them might be a good way to get people to look at other parts of your site. Something for the future.

    Bob L

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  • admin August 2, 2009, 9:27 pm

    Haha, yes, I would really like to think so too. But this is not really the case. Very, very rarely do the people for whom I answer these questions for make contributions. Oh well.

    It is my hope that maybe 1 in a hundred will make a small donation . . . as every little bit helps a lot.

    Thanks,

    Wade

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  • Kathleen September 2, 2009, 9:15 am

    I just wanted to stay overstaying your visa IS NOT THE WAY TO GO.

    1)
    I overstayed my Schengen visa for working for three weeks. The Czech police threw me in jail for 10 hours and then gave me a deportation order.

    I’m sure some countries are more relaxed about it… but I seriously wouldn’t risk it.

    2)
    And US passports really dont get you anywhere these days.

    3) “The fact that your daughter is traveling to Turkey, a country outside of the Schengen zone, during her study abroad semester, means that she will be stamped out of the Schengen region and given a new visa upon her return. Technically, this does not mean too much, as the rules state that she must be outside the region for 90 days for every 90 days that she wants to be in it, but in reality it will probably serve as a little bit of smokescreen for when she finally leaves the region.”
    NO NO NO.
    If she is on a multiple entry visa, this will mean nothing.
    If she is on a tourist visa, once she leaves the Schengen zone, she MUST spend equal amount of time outside the zone as she did in it.
    For example, if she was in Spain for one month and leaves, SHE MUST BE OUT FOR ONE MONTH before reentering.

    These are the new Schengen Rules.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com September 3, 2009, 7:29 pm

      No, the Schengen visa states 90 out of 180 and not “spend equal amount of time outside the zone as she did in it.”

      If you are from a country that can receive a C type visa on arrival then the visa is valid for 6 months, but you can only use it for three months. But you can divide the days up as you please. You can stay for 30 days in the Schengen zone and then 15 out, 30 in and 45 out, 30 in and then leave for another 30 days if you wanted. You can divide up your 90 days as you please, but you cannot stay for more than 90 days out of 180.

      You are right though, even with the week in Turkey she would still be overstaying her visa by a couple of weeks. . . and this is not good to do. The “smokescreen” that I speak of will also probably not be very thick, as the visa information is becoming more and more computerized.

      The last time I was in the Schengen zone, the visa restrictions were a joke. But in the intervening year and a half, it seems as if immigration has really been cracking down on overstayers.

      Your case is interesting. I have known MANY travelers in the Czech Republic who overstayed their tourist visas by years, and never had any problems coming and going. Perhaps the fact that you were on a work visa triggered the reaction that you received . . . or maybe the controls are just a little tighter now. Probably a little of both.

      What penalty came with your deportation? Were you fined? Banned?

      Thanks,

      Wade

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  • Simone October 6, 2009, 4:31 pm

    Hey Wade, firstly thankyou for creating this web page!

    I have been franticly trying to find information about extending tourists visa, and the possible penelties for over staying your visa and then i come across this site!
    I’m an Australian running on a 3 month tourist visa in Italy. Well as it turns out I’m staying in the Schengen region for a total of 4 months. I was assured by the travel agent back home that it wouldn’t be a problem but I am new to all of these rules about travelling. I arrived in Italy on the 28th August and my plan was to leaving about the 25th November to go to Germany, until the 18th of December, and then return home.
    But upon arriving here and meeting my relatives- 3 months just isnt enough!! I already have a return ticket to Australia but that can be changed- it’s the whole issue about over staying my tourist visa in the Schengen region that concerns me. I would love to spend Christmas and New years with my family and then go to Germany for 2 weeks or so but that could be pushing the bounderys a little far… do you think?
    That would make my over stay about 6-7 weeks!! Hmmm not good but what are the chances of complications now or even in time to come when i want to return to Europe..? It would be my worst nightmare to be banned from the Schengen region because of this, but either way i would have over stayed my visa- it’s just a mater of how long..
    Do you think it would be ok or should i scrap the whole thing, change my flights so everything is ligit and reurn on a work visa for a longer period of time?
    Since i would be over my visa time limit how would you recomend traveling around? I was planning on flying from Florence, Italy to Frankfurt, Gernmany but if they check out my passport surely i will be stopped in my tracks and who knows what happens next!
    I am lost and searching for answers! I know at the end of the day it all comes down to me making the decion for myself, but i am just wanting to know the possible things that could happen if i over stay my 3 month visa..?
    Hope to hear from you soon, Simone

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  • promise December 19, 2009, 3:31 pm

    Hi, i need your help or advice in my case , actualy i overstayed on my Schingen Visa and im in germany at the moment as i know how hard German POLICE are so i decided to go to France and go back to my Country but not sure what are the penalties are and what is my option is ? i do have another choice to go to France by Car then go to UK by Trian then go back to my country from London , do you know they will check my Visa at Train staion as well ?

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  • promise December 19, 2009, 3:52 pm

    if you wanted to leave france by train to UK do they check your Schingen visa ?

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  • Sasha Neiman December 28, 2009, 9:08 am

    Will my question be published?

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  • Kristine January 14, 2010, 10:53 pm

    Hi,
    I will be traveling with my two daughters, ages 6 and 9, for 5+ months in Europe and Morocco. I am counting my days to try and stay under 90 in the Shengen countries but am toying with the idea of overstaying by about 2 weeks in France. At the end of the trip we will be flying from Paris to Frankfurt and then home to the US. What type of fine/penalty are they currently handing out?
    Thanks so much,
    Kristine

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com January 17, 2010, 11:13 am

      Hello Kristine,

      I would recommend just cutting your travels two weeks short to avoid overstaying or staying for two extra weeks outside of the Schengen zone. The penalties of an overstay could be a per day/ per person fine of anywhere between 10 and 200 Euros a day.

      Wade

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  • Adam March 1, 2010, 5:41 am

    Are the rules for overstaying Visas as relaxed for Australians as they are for Americans?
    Here are the Visas I currently have:
    German Visa (Working Holiday Visa) – expired in January 22
    Swiss Traineeship Visa – expired February 22
    UK Tier 5 youth mobility visa – valid for another 1 year.

    I have not worked in either Switzerland or Germany. However, i do plan on staying in Germany for an extra few months as my partner (unmarried) is German and I need to find a job in either London/Aus/HK before I leave. I just can’t afford to go to either country at this point.

    Whats the worst that could happen for overstaying?

    Addittionally, do you know if there is a possibility to obtain some sort of spouse Visa in Germany.

    Your help would be greatly appreciated.

    A

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  • ingie bingie August 18, 2010, 11:22 pm

    it is aug2010 im guitarist ingie bingie,,am u.s citizen..about schengen…i lived in amsterdam for 14years ,off and on with no problems, no arrests..used my own money etc.stayed as long as i liked came back when i wanted until about 3years ago…my plane was delayed…and i was the only one at immigration ,he couldnt find my stamp…and asked have you been here long (i knew nothing of schengen) so i said 20months..they took me in the office and told mentioned schengen and that this young immigration officer said he must make a report.and i could be banned for 5years..i told them its a bit severe! and that i didnt know..and that when i first came to amsterdam 14years ago i went to the foreign police about overstay, and at that time told me with my passport we dont usually bother with americans unless there is a problem..gave me a visa extension anyway…i never went back and there never was a problem till schengen..i returned this summer in london in july. after being away from europe for about 2years and 8 months, i tried to contact the dutch counsoulate because in amsterdam they told me when i want to come back go to the dutch coulsolute..at reception they phoned 4 me and the dutch man said that he thought it would be o.k to go back. but it was up to the bordor..i was taken off the bus by the french immigration on the way to brussels. at the euro tunnel , which is on english territory, so no arrest..and told i had another 1year and 3months ,but he wasnt sure about the time…a nice english lady at the office gave me a free taxi ride back to the bus station..she said the e.u too many people makeing decisions..without my people and our blood they would have no e.u. why take my privledges away..i resent it. for nothing..they should be sued in den haag..its completely unreasonable..i had no say…no word..only deportation..when before i was totally free..welcome to the new day! even crazier half the bus werent even europen..i am europen blood..and american citizen.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com August 20, 2010, 8:17 am

      It is a different world now for travel. The world is dividing as it comes together. It will be interesting to see where this goes. Not looking good.

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  • Steph September 26, 2010, 12:53 pm

    Hey Wade,

    I also have another concern, with exiting the CZ, Will I have troubles heading home from Prague-Frankfurt-Singapore-Melbourne with say a mth expiry on 90 shengen zone but having a valid working visa?
    Do they check that far into it or just the working visa stamp?

    Thanks
    Steph

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com September 26, 2010, 3:55 pm

      Are you in the Czech Republic on a tourist visa or a work visa? This is unclear from your comment.

      If you have overstayed any visa by any amount of time I give it a 90% chance that they will bust you in Germany. Unfortunately, Frankfurt is where you are exiting the region and will go through immigration control.

      This is just the reports that I have been receiving. Please let us know what happens.

      Thanks.

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  • Hanz September 26, 2010, 1:16 pm

    I can tell you from experience that an airline *will* sell you a ticket for any duration length stay in the Schengen region. However, when you get to the boarding gate, they will deny you entry to the plane at US airports if your visa is not in line with your return date. The airline has no way to check your visa until they see you in person, so unfortunately the problem always is identified at the last minute.

    Apparently the airline has some financial liability if they knowingly allow someone to board without the proper visa, because they have to pay to fly you back, so it’s in their best interest to make sure everyones’ visa is in line before they depart.

    I know of someone who had a return date 6 months after departure and they made it all the way through security to the departure gate and were denied entry.

    In the past, I’ve known people who have overstayed in Schengen region, particularly Spain, for many months with no difficulty. They haven’t tried to return yet, though, and I’ve heard they’ve become more strict.

    In short, I agree with everyone who says to play by the rules– even though they’re seriously irritating.

    I think the student visa issue is the biggest irritation. The hurdle from staying 90 days as a tourist to 91 days as a student involves flying to the embassy, executing everything in a very short window of time (not too early or too late) and huge amounts of paperwork and wait time.

    You would think technology and the internet would speed things up, but no…

    Best of luck to all.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com September 26, 2010, 3:51 pm

      Yes, sometimes this is a fight. Getting a cheap budget airline flight from somewhere in Schengen to another country outside of the zone within 90 days of arrival is one way to beat it, another is to demand that the airline show you this restriction in writing. The later has actually work for some travelers.

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  • Marm November 1, 2010, 1:19 pm

    My son is planning to study in Prague for 3.5 months in 2011. He will not have time to get his visa before he leaves. Is he able to get a visa while in Prague?

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com November 2, 2010, 9:50 am

      Generally, student visas need to be applied for out of the Schengen region, but this does not mean that he should not try.

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  • Michelle November 3, 2010, 8:57 am

    Hi,

    I am a malaysian and I have an EU tourist visa for 6 months.
    I am currently travelling around europe and have been to a few countries within these few months.
    However I would like to extend my visa and travel to spain instead.
    I came in through amsterdam on the 4th of July 2010 and have been staying in Germany for approximately 2 months, and travelled to Greece for 10 days and back to Germany again for 2 weeks. After that I travelled to Denmark for 2 weeks and back in Germany for almost a month. And recently I travelled to Spain for a week and am not planning to go back to Spain again sometime end of the year. But I understand my Tourist Visa would end on 3rd of January 2011. Could I travel to Spain and go to Morocco to renew my visa? will that be possible ? and could I do that every 3 months as I plan to study in Spain and will only be able to apply for visa in February when the term starts. Please do advise.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com November 3, 2010, 10:00 am

      Are you sure that your visa allows you to stay in the Schengen zone for 180 days? I would check on this, as many tourist visas are valid for 180 days but you can only be in the region for 90 of them.

      If you were to do a visa run to Morocco you would need to stay there for at least 90 days before returning to Europe.

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  • Ken August 30, 2012, 8:26 am

    Thanks Wade for your input on this. Just checking if there are any updates on the Schengen and stringency situation now that we are in 2012-2013. My situation: US national, tourist in Europe in Schengen region. Looks like I will overstay my 90 days by another six weeks at most, but possibly less. The overstay officially hits while in France. My intention was to stay on, in France, in order to head to Spain for a specific event for one week at the tail end of my trip, then return to France and fly out from France, as my ticket will specify. I’m already nervous about overstaying, as I have every intention to return in 2013, but concerned that this leg to Spain creates more risk, even though all my (legitimate and within my visa’s period) movement within Schengen thus far seems to have not resulted in any reviewing or scanning of my passport short of at the airline counter. I’m not trying to work here, nor trying to live here or be a student. I’d consider it for the future, but it is not what I am doing in this trip. I can also prove that I am between jobs in the US and imagine my situation is completely common. I would even go through routes for an extension and pay for it, were it even an option…seems to me that is not an option. My two pressing questions are: If I stay in France and leave from France (having overstayed) will that come back to haunt me, and how can I minimize the consequences? And, if I go to Spain, would it complicate the situation (inclusive of the airline should I fly) or would it be neither here nor there because I overstay anyway? Willingly choosing to overstay is clearly a risk, and has human stories and relations behind it (which is why people say you shouldn’t leave from Germany or Switzerland because of their by-the-book stringency) but is there * anything * I can do to minimize this risk (short of not taking it), whether that means having paperwork in hand demonstrating that I work and live in the US and have my return (to US) ticket in hand should I be stopped anywhere? Or by taking this risk, it really puts me in chance’s hands? Also, if all goes smoothly in my overstay and return to the US, will Schengen countries have the right to ding me a year later when I am headed over there and willing to comply with the 90 days hereafter (until I land another visa)? Losing sleep on this!

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    • Wade Shepard August 31, 2012, 9:05 pm

      Hello Ken,

      I’m no longer doing free Schengen visa consultation. I’ve been working on compiling the past five years of research and data collection I’ve been doing on this topic into another website and forming it into a formal business. Sorry, but the task of answering the hundreds and hundreds of questions about this that I receive every month is too much to take on without payment. In the meantime I’m fielding questions through this site for supporters only. So if you’re interested in making a $25 contribution, I’ll take on your questions via private email consultation. This can be done through http://www.vagabondjourney.com/visa/schengen-visas/.

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