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Long Term Business Visa for Europe – Circulation Visa

Is there a long term business visa for Europe’s Schengen zone? Hello, Thank you very much for the donation! To start with, unless you have a European company that is willing to sponsor you going to the consulate and getting a longer term visa is a pipe dream. Many try, and I have not yet [...]

Is there a long term business visa for Europe’s Schengen zone?

Hello,

Thank you very much for the donation!

To start with, unless you have a European company that is willing to sponsor you going to the consulate and getting a longer term visa is a pipe dream. Many try, and I have not yet received a report of someone independently receiving a longer term tourist or business visa to the Schengen Zone.

There is a “Circulation visa” (still a C type of Schengen visa) that you could get which is meant for repeat business travelers which allows for multiple entries over a span of one to five years, but is ultimately only good for stays of 90 days out of 180 — just like a normal C visa. This visa is not going to help you much if you need to spend over 90 days out of each 180 in the region, but it would probably be good to get for the long term if you can’t get a true long term visa — as it will explain your repeat trips to Europe. To get this visa you need a letter of invitation from the country in which you would like to make repeat business visits to, and, or so I would think, you would also need supporting documentation from your company and the one that you do business with in Austria,

What you really need is a type D visa, which is basically the precursor for a residency permit. Thought, ultimately, you are a business traveler without aims of becoming a European resident, and, unfortunately, I am not too hopeful that you would be granted such a visa — especially without the backup of a European company. Your best bet may be to try to get your husband to get you a spousal residency permit for Germany — though there may be residency restrictions such as you need to spend a certain amount of days in Germany before you will be granted the permit (each country in the Schengen zone has different procedures for their D visas and it is best to check with the individual country).

[adsense]So what is my recommendation? In point, I would say that it would be best to get an invitation letter from the company you are doing business with in Austria, apply for a Circulation Visa, and keep your recreation trips in Schengen Europe to a minimum. As far as being caught for your previous overstay while in the process of applying for the visa I would say to not worry too much about this. If you have your documentation in a row and give them no other reason to reject your application it is my impression that this is not often a factor. Also keep in mind that continuing on how you are going now — many repeat entries on a regular C visa, leaving a very complicated trail of entry and exit dates — is just going to continue to spark suspicion with the immigration officials, as it had on your last entry into the Netherlands. This alone may lead to you being denied admittance into the region.

So I would say try to get the Circulation Visa to cover your excessive multiple entries, not stay over 90 days in any 180, and find a new port of entry into the Schengen zone that is not the Netherlands, Switzerland, or Germany. I give this advice to everyone, Italy is among the most lax countries in the region in terms of immigration, so try to get direct flights there.

Keep in mind that you are not alone in this, there are MANY business travelers in the same situation as you: they need more than 90 days out of 180 to continue doing business with their associates in Europe. Many of these people write to me looking for assistance, and none of them have yet reported a way to get more time in the region for business short of applying for residency. Many of these business travelers have even reported being banned for overstaying their visas. It is a tough immigration gauntlet that Europe has set up for their international business partners, but there does not seem to be any straight forward way around it. I would recommend calling and asking the Austrian consulate about longer term stay options (as each country has different regulations on this — just keep in mind that they may provide misinformation!) to see if there is another possibility for you. If not, it is my impression to just go for the Circulation Visa.

Circulation visa for Schengen zone

Thank you very much for the donation.

Walk Slow,

Wade

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Complete question about longer term business visas for the Schengen Zone

I have a bit of a problem regarding the Schengen visa. I have been perusing your site and couldn’t find any questions quite like mine, so I decided to donate via Paypal and fire away! I currently work for a US company (US citizen) and have been tasked with working in Austria since December. I travel all over the EU – unfortunately, only to the Schengen countries. I usually travel for 6 weeks, then come back home for a week or so, and it was only on this last trip that I realized I was overstaying. I got a little bit more harassed in the Netherlands, was asked why I had so many trips back and forth. I replied with the comment that Amsterdam is the major hub from Detroit, and it was my choice airport. (wink wink, show cleavage). I also stressed that my travel was for business and pleasure. They let me go through, no comment about overstaying, no paperwork, no huge hassle. In Detroit, I was “selected” for a special screening, but no issues really, just going through x-ray again before I could leave the airport. i’d love to get a visa for my return trip, so I can be legal, but I am afraid that the consulate will count up all the days, see how illegal I really am (~30 days past my 90) and give me the no-go. Since I entered in December, my 180 days isn’t up until mid June and I really have to fly out again no later than the end of May. I was just thinking that since they didn’t confront me with overstaying, what would be the damage if I try to head back there in mid-May? Or should I make an appointment at the Austrian consulate and cross my fingers? Or what about flying into Hungary or Poland instead? Another thing that might help my case a bit is that my husband is a German resident, living currently in Germany. (I stated in the Netherlands that this was the “pleasure” portion of my trip). Is there something I can do with that before I leave to make me less illegal? Your suggestions would be most helpful. Thanks in advance, and thanks for all the information on your website!!!

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.
Filed under: Austria, Europe, Schengen Visas, Travel Help, Visas

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 3396 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

24 comments… add one

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  • Jennifer April 25, 2011, 10:10 am

    Thank you Wade for your helpful information, I really appreciate the time you put into your response.

    I would like to ask a few more questions if I may, I hope I don’t get too pesky, and if you at any time require further donations, I would be happy to oblige.

    More backup information. I have an office and rent a home in Austria. I am there supporting an Austrian company and obtaining this letter is absolutely no issue. I seriously only plan on being in the EU so much until at the very latest, this October. I might actually not even need to be there past June of this year.

    1.) If I decide to travel to Italy and get caught at immigration, would I simply be sent home or would I receive immediately the banishment and fine?

    2.) Is the 180 days a rolling date or is it always 180 days from today’s date? Is it any 180 days or say December 16th through June 16th, then my 180 days starts fresh? I am pretty sure I know the answer already, but to have you confirm that would be good.

    3.) If I am in the process of completing my paperwork, as it is quite a lengthy process, but have not turned in my passport yet at the Consulate in the US, would this paperwork be sufficient to show as proof that I am working on becoming legal?

    4.) Alternatively, if I travel back and state that I am in the process of getting residency via my husband in Germany, will this help?

    I may have more questions and if that happens I will certainly donate to your cause again. I really appreciate your help, I am stuck here much the same as those other business travelers you mentioned. I really do have to return at some point to Austria to pick up my belongings from my house!!!

    THANK YOU again for all of your kind help.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com April 25, 2011, 10:12 am

      Hello Jennifer,

      Glad that you could find this information helpful.

      To answer your new questions:

      1. To be honest, the chances of being caught in Italy are slim. I have not yet received a report of this happening yet. They seem to like their tourists there haha. Of course, there is always a chance. They could deny you entry, but this is not really the pattern here. In terms of a worst case scenario, any ripple in Schengen immigration due to an overstay often is accompanied by a three year ban. Even if the immigration official says that you are not banned, any entry into the SIS (the Schengen immigration computer system) is often interpreted by later officials as being a ban. This is a very sticky and disorganized bureaucratic system and no party seems to really know what the others are doing, fully know the rules, or know what impact their actions will eventually have on the people they enter into the system. I say to enter through Italy (on a direct flight of course, it is the first country your flight touches down in in Europe that you will go through immigration) because they tend to be amongst the most lax countries in the region in terms of immigration. Tell them that you are a tourist.

      2. This is a good question and one that is often misinterpreted by officials in consulates as well as immigration. The rule is that you can be in the zone for 90 days out of ANY 180. So count backwards 180 days from the date you plan to reenter Europe, then count up how many days you were in the region for during this period, and then subtract that from 90 and this is how many days that you have left. This is just the general math of the operation, and not really a specific way of counting for your case (as you may already be over 90 days in the past 180).

      The day counting is a point of MAJOR confusion, as many people think that they can get a new 180 day visa right after their previous one expires (some consulates, France especially says this is true) but they cannot. The Schengen zone does not want visitors in the territory for over 90 of any 180 day period, and especially not over 90 days in a row, so the 180 day visas cannot really be gotten back to back (where the traveler stays for the later half of the first visa and then 90 days at the start of the next). As you put it, the 180 day visa is a rolling date.

      3. No, unless the paperwork is filed, I don’t think it means too much.

      4. Again, words mean little here, unless the paperwork is filed and the application pending I am not sure it will be much protection.

      Again, I would suggest going for a year long Circulation Visa. Don’t count on this 100% (don’t count on ANYTHING with Schengen immigration 100% haha) but sometimes if a travel changing visa types from outside region (such as leaving the zone at the end of a student visa and then returning on a tourist visa) the 90 or so day waiting period is waived. I am not sure what the official stance is on this with the Circulation visa (as it is still a C business/ tourist visa) but having a nice new and unused visa in your passport prior to entry will probably look pretty good. Again, this is a grey area, but so much in Schengen immigration is found in such ambiguities. I would suggest this as the best option.

      So, this is my advice. If you ever want to donate again — I live and travel off the slim proceeds from this site (only around $500 per month) — it would be much appreciated, but, of course, not required.

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  • Alex June 8, 2011, 8:16 pm

    Germany may be harsh on boarder control, they are however flexible on in-country applications. If you go down like I did and register where you are, you can apply before your airport entry visa is up. In Berlin where I did mine there a bit flexible to your cause. The main thing is when the application is submitted you are given a “rubber stamp 90 more days” and a receipt (processing), it’s not for traveling around the Schengen area BUT at least you have somthing to show just in case.
    IE extended holidays, also you can then go to the Italian or any EU embassy in Berlin with that stamp and apply for a “C” (tourist) Schengen visa that will give you even more time (90 days) instead of going back to the States, Canada, Etc as the receipt and stamp will prove that your a temporary resident… The Immigration website has all the updated info from the books. It is one of the few that gives us options as well…

    http://www.berlin.de/labo/auslaender/dienstleistungen/bes_staaten_en.html

    I did mine years ago and now have permanent residence in the form of a card like a drivers license. It’s even easier after you arrive look for some school classes that can provide a letter, then its easier to “upgrade” to the work permit later 2 then 5 years then Indef, my case at least.

    Also to those with money who wish to open a pub or some sort of business again you can apply inside Germany it’s all listed on the immigration site above.

    Ex German resident 7+ years Legal.. US Passport

    Good Luck at least there is a option:-) !

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com June 9, 2011, 6:11 am

      Hello Alex,

      Thanks for sharing this. We have received reports from many people who attempted to do what you propose in Germany but were denied. But, as I say everywhere here, immigration policies tend to be pretty inconsistently interpreted and enforced almost everywhere through Schengen. You present a fool proof case that an extension/ residency permit can be received in Germany though (Berlin), and I will be sure to use your experience, as well as your sources, as a future reference here.

      Thanks, your contributions here are much appreciated.

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      • Alex June 10, 2011, 8:49 am

        Your welcome,I did it so this is from experience. Berlin I found was flexible, I don’t want to say easy or give the impression that its a “done deal” but there “OK” there. Good Luck and everything that you need is in the Berlin Immigration link (above). However, Munich, or Frankfurt might be different so just keep that in mind. Cheers

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  • caroline July 11, 2011, 3:09 am

    hi… very helpful article… slightly out of the topics…
    will there be no chance of getting the circular visa except by invitation of a company in EU union.

    I have visited Europe in Sept 2010, Jun-July 2011.
    Currently in progress to apply for the visa for Aug-Sep 2011 visit.
    No business, just pleasure,
    And I’m planning to visit again in Dec 2011.
    Thinking it will be nice if i can get a multiple visit visa for schengen so that I do not need to keep applying for visa..

    Will it be worth trying or might as well just keep applying for a visa ?

    Thanks

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    • Wade Shepard July 11, 2011, 6:05 am

      Try for the circulation visa, all they can do is say no.

      Link Reply
  • JENNIFER OJOH July 19, 2011, 3:08 am

    DEAR WADE,
    KINDLY EXPLAIN WHAT THIS MEANS:
    A MULTIPLE ENTRY BUSINESS SCHENGEN VISA TYPE C FROM GERMAN EMBASSY. THE DURATION OF STAY IS 90 DAYS AND THE VALIDITY PERIOD IS ONE YEAR.
    MY QUESTIONS ARE:

    1. DOES THIS MEAN THAT ONE CAN STAY A MAXIMUM OF 90DAYS PER 6 MONTH PERIOD-THAT IS A MAXIMUM DURATION OF STAY OF 180 DAYS IN ONE YEAR.?.

    2. OR DOES IT MEAN ONE HAS A MAXIMUM OF 90 DAYS ONLY THROUGHOUT THE ONE YEAR PERIOD?

    I AM ASKING BECAUSE I WAS ISSUED SUCH VISA. THE VALIDITY PERIOD IS DEC 23RD 2010-DEC 22ND 2011. DURATION OF STAY IS 90 DAYS.
    I TRAVELLED IMMEDIATELY I WAS ISSUED ON DEC 23RD 2011 AND RETURNED ON MARCH 20TH 2011(87DAYS).
    MY PLAN IS TO TRAVEL IN SEPTEMBER. I WENT TO LUFTHANSA OFFICE TO PURCHASE MY TICKED YESTERDAY AND WAS TOLD I HAD USED UP MY MAXIMUM DURATION OF STAY.
    I WAS SHOCKED BECAUSE I THOUGHT THE 87 DAYS I USED WAS FOR THE FIRST 180 DAYS AND THAT I STILL HAD 90 DAYS LEFT BEFORE THE VISA EXPIRES.
    PLEASE WADE, KINDLY EXPLAIN TO ME. I AM REALLY BOTHERED.

    I AWAIT YOUR REPLY.

    THANK YOU
    JENNIFER OJOH.

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard July 24, 2011, 5:13 pm

      Your visa states that you are given 90 days in a one year period, then it is only good for 90 days.

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  • JENNIFER OJOH July 26, 2011, 7:15 am

    THANKS FOR YOUR RESPONSE.
    I HAD ALREADY CONTACTED THE EMBASSY AND I WAS TOLD NUMBER 1 IS THE CORRECT EXPLANATION OF MY VISA. SO I STILL HAVE MAXIMUM OF 90 DAYS BEFORE IT EXPIRES.

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  • Sherine September 6, 2012, 2:59 pm

    i had received Schengen visa type C from Embassy of Sweden in egypt but my first entry for business meeting will be to Amsterdam – if any problem will be facing in amesterdam airport or no problem ????

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    • Wade Shepard September 6, 2012, 8:04 pm

      They could deny you entry. The Schengen country that you get the visa for is the one you should enter first.

      Link Reply
  • Deleep September 18, 2012, 6:49 am

    Hi Wade,

    I am a non EU citizen working in a UK company and one of our branch in Germany inviting me for project meetings in Germany. The meetings are only for 4 days, but i want to apply visa for 1 year validity. My manager in Germany is ready to give the invitation letter by requesting for multiple entries.

    The invitation letter stating that it will take care for the tickets, accommodation and transport of the stay. Did our company in Germany need to book the hotel reservation and flight booking before i am applying for the visa?

    The problem here is last year when i applied for the visa by showing the flight reservation and hotel reservation for 4 days i have only got the visa for 4 days.

    Could you please tell me how to frame the invitation letter to get the visa for maximum stay of 90days in 1 year.

    Thanks,
    Deleep

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard September 18, 2012, 12:06 pm

      Hello,

      You are requesting services here that we require payment for. Sorry.

      Link Reply
  • Zafar Ullah October 25, 2012, 3:25 am

    Dears;

    I have visited Europe for five days on business trip. From time to time I have to visit Europe. Would you please clarify me whether circulation visa also applies to Business purpose?

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard October 25, 2012, 4:01 am

      Yes, it’s a business visa.

      Link Reply
  • Achuike Benjamin December 5, 2012, 11:16 pm

    Please i want to travel to Germany on a tourist visa.and i was told,to get an invitation letter from a company.
    Please i need your service to help me provide all the documents,to secure the visa

    Link Reply
  • krishna December 23, 2012, 3:15 am

    we are from nepal..want seneghan visa..so can help us..tq

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    • Wade Shepard December 23, 2012, 4:29 am

      No.

      Link Reply
  • Beatrice kalimanshi February 6, 2013, 11:05 am

    Hi wade,last year september  i travelled to school in switzerland,i  used multiple visa for 10 days,i will be  going back in july to school again,if  i will be there is it possible to visit france?
    Beatrice kalimanshi

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  • Beatrice kalimanshi February 6, 2013, 11:11 am

    Since i had multiple visa business, can  i ask  the  embassy  for 3 months  visa?

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  • Dipumehdi March 15, 2013, 3:10 am

    Hi, I have a 3 months multiple entry schengen c type business visa for each stay up to 10 days. What happens if I overstay my first trip for more than 10 days by 5/6 days. I am basically entering to Italy. Thank you.

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  • Kanth April 23, 2013, 8:14 am

    Hi Wade,
    I have a type c visa for 5 years and its starting April 2012 to April 2017, This period I have visited 2012 may to 2012 august for 90 days and then 2012 December to 2013 January for 46 Days. I wanted to go back again and I called the embassy then they said if you spent 46 days in my own country then you can go back. So I went and immigration police have asked me to go back my own country before 20 April. Then I came and went to Embassy. They are saying that I can go again after 11 may 2013 for 90 days. Really I can or not Please explain…Thanks

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  • Manish October 15, 2015, 2:36 am

    Hello,

    I am Indian.

    I applied for permanent role based in Berlin.

    Now company checking that with long term work visa whether i am allow to travel short business trip other Europe region like Czech republic,Poland,Austria .

    Could you please help to answer this from your experience.?

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