Question: Will I get in trouble if I overstay my visa in Spain to work because I don’t have enough money to go home? Answer: Hello Whitney, It is difficult for me to believe that you do not have, or cannot borrow, $500 for a flight back to the USA. It is even more inconceivable [...]
Question: Will I get in trouble if I overstay my visa in Spain to work because I don’t have enough money to go home?
It is difficult for me to believe that you do not have, or cannot borrow, $500 for a flight back to the USA. It is even more inconceivable to me that you say that you will need to stay in Spain for six months in order to earn such a relatively small amount of money.
In point, your excuse for overstaying your visa will more than likely be viewed by any immigration official as I view it, so I highly recommend you not to use it. A better excuse could be, “I overstayed my visa because I wanted to stay in Spain longer.”
It is my impression that a visa overstay is an overstay. If you are really so desolate that you cannot afford a plane ticket home and do not have any family members to borrow a few hundred dollars from, go to the US embassy and have them ship you out of Europe.
Though I highly doubt that anyone would really try to do this.
So, if you do overstay your visa, when you finally do decide to leave Europe, I recommend making sure that you do not book a flight that connects through Germany or Switzerland, as these will be the countries that you would be exiting Europe through, and they are the most strict on visa overstayers. Spain tends to be, as of now, one of the least strict countries in the region on visa violations.
But I am unsure how long this will last.
In point, the reason why people with US passports are able to travel so freely is because we don’t have a reputation for overstaying our visas. Each American who wantonally overstays their visa makes it more difficult for every other American to enter and exit countries who follow them. Indians have a difficult time traveling internationally because they have a reputation of working illegally and not going home, the reasons why it is hard for Mexicans to visit the USA is because they have a reputation of working illegally and not going home.
You are doing the same thing in Spain.
I get mail all the time about how Americans feel they must overstay their visa in Europe because they don’t have the money to go home, have fallen ill, or are in love. I have heard it all, and I am sure the immigration officials in the region have as well.
There is no excuse to overstay your visa. I highly recommend taking the next flight to the USA and get out of Europe.
Original question about overstaying a Schengen visa in Europe to work illegally
I am an American citizen who has been in Barcelona on my tourist visa I have been living and working here for the past month in a half and have recently run into an emergency the family that I have been an Aupair for has an ill family member that they must care for an I am no longer able to stay. Since I did not give myself enough of a financial safety net I am planning to go work for another family as an Aupair in Madrid. I know because my 90 days won’t have expired I will be fine to fly into Madrid in the next couple weeks, however I will be overstaying my visa. I do not plan to travel to any other EU countries the rest of my time overseas (I have already done my backpacking) will I be okay to return to the US without problem if I overstay my tourist visa 6 months in order to gain enough money for a ticket home?
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.
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 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. VBJ has written 3679 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Papa Bay, Hawaii
November 13, 2010, 8:49 am
The information on this site is extremely useful and many thanks for it. I think I have a situation that has yet to come up in the forums, and I was wondering if you may have any knowledge about the matter:
I am a US citizen who is currently living and working in Madrid. I arrived 2 months ago, found a job, and my employer is making me a job offer so I can legally stay and work after my 90 day VISA expires. I obtained my empadronamiento (I registered as residing at an address in Madrid) and obtained my social security number, which are both required before he can offer me a job. I contacted the Spanish embassy in Chicago and they said I had to go to the consulate back home in the states for a work VISA but my 90 day tourist VISA will expire before I receive my work permit. I heard that I can apply for a 3-month extension on my Schengen tourist VISA while I wait for my work permit. Is this easy to obtain? Have you heard of anybody being granted or denied an extension?
Secondly, do you know of any other way to be able to legally work and reside in Spain without having to return to the US to apply for and obtain a VISA? It just seems so illogical to make people travel overseas to find a job (because it’s nearly impossible to find one over the internet from the States) and then tell them that they have to come back to apply for the VISA, and THEN they can go back.
November 22, 2010, 4:10 am
Hello Wade… first of all, congratulations for the site and thanks for the replies.
This is my case:
I am in Prague (CZ) and I’m Venezuelan. As such, I do not need to have a visa for staying less than 90 days. These 90 days expire the 15th of December. Recently, I received a job offer and I can apply for a long term visa, but unfortunately, the process to get it might take more than 45 days, in which time, my permission to stay here will have expired.
I don’t plan to leave the Schengen area anytime soon… how risky or troublesome would it be if I just overstay until I get my new, long-term visa?
That’s my question,
April 16, 2011, 10:37 am
Hey Wade this has been a pretty illuminating site. I have a quick question. I am currently living in Greece as a US citizen and I am preparing to take an entrance exam in September. I speak Greek fluently I have an ΑΦΜ social security and an apartment. I heard about the 3 month extension but it won’t cover me until the day of my test. I thought that if I left Greece before my 90 days expired and re entered ( I understood that if you leave pre termination of the Schengen visa they merely subtract the days from your total stay) that I could get a new entrance stamp then I technically would start a new 3 month period. That is unless I come across a serious official. Any advice? It doesn’t behoove me to leave Greece for 90 days since I have all my things tutors life in order here.
April 29, 2011, 4:59 am
I thought to seek your advice on my current state of affairs. I came to Poland in June of 2007 to get married to my Polish girlfriend who I met back in the US (she had flown out to Poland a month prior). After a month in being in Poland we ran into money problems and could not afford to get married.
In 2009 I started researching my situation of having stayed so long in Poland with out a problem and discovered my status here is not very secure because I had no idea about the Schengen Area 90 day stay limit and never applied for a temporary residency permit from the Polish state I had been living in.
We finally got money together to get married in late 2009. I thought that having a marriage certificate might help provide me with some security but am starting to realize most likely not.
I am afraid to even approach the agency which administers temporary residency permits because they will find out that I have overstayed by almost 4 years. Also I am afraid to leave the country by plane or train because of the possibility that I will be fined on the spot, get locked up and/or deported.
Realistically, what are the consequences for overstaying the Schengen Area for 4 years? And what are my best options for getting out of this pickle free and financially unscathed?
Thank you so much,
May 4, 2011, 4:12 am
I do appreciate your insight information. I do hope you can give me some info about my situation. I have been living in the Netherlands on student visa for more than 7 years. My residence permit needs to be renewed every year. My last residence permit as a student expired on September 2010, I did send paperworks to renew it for 2010/2011 period. Somehow, my paperworks got messed up and the immigration office has not been helpful. I have never received my 2010/2011 ID. everytime i called the immigration service, they always said they were in busy period and asked me to be patient. This has been happening for months. Until couple of weeks ago I found out my paperworks never arrived. I am leaving the country for good in 2 days. I had booked the ticket before i found out about my paperworks.
I have talked to the people from the immigration office, but i have an impression that they dont care since im leaving the country anyway. I have also talked to the head of immigration office in Schiphol about my situation because and he said that he write a note in the system about my situation and that i have already a fixed departure date. however, he still insist me to take care my issue with the immigration office since he can not make me “legal”.
Honestly, i have given up reaching out to the immigration office because of their attitude.
What do you think will happen to me when im leaving schiphol? and any suggestion?
thanks in advance
August 27, 2011, 9:13 pm
Hi. I actually have first-hand experience with Dutch immigration, having lived there for a long while. It’s probably too late to help you now with the advice, but here goes anyways.
Short of it: don’t talk to the Dutch immigration before talking to an immigration lawyer.
The immigration office will keep pulling your leg because it’s not their job to help you, it’s to ensure the enforcement of Dutch immigration law. This means that they won’t be motivated to find any legal loopholes for you and you will end up receiving sub-par help.
There are plenty of good immigration law offices in Amsterdam, and I recommend going to Amsterdam to find one, even if you don’t live there.
The worst that can happen to you is to get banned from entering the country again for some time, if your papers are not in order. If your papers are in order, even if you haven’t received your extension, you are in the clear. If there is negligence on the part of the immigration office (and they are known to “misplace” applications), the attorney will be best equipped to help you out. It’s not that expensive, and it’s tremendous help.
If you have, in fact, overstayed your visa, there is one loophole. If your passport were to say, get lost or stolen while in the country, you can go to your country’s diplomatic outpost in that country, and request an emergency passport. That one will allow you to reenter your country. Many times the emergency passport can not be traced back to your original one, and may get you off the hook immigration-wise if you plan to return. I know people who have done this with success; it doesn’t mean you can pull it off, so take this with a grain of salt.
Talk to an attorney, it really helps. I’ve done that many times.
(and no, I am not an attorney myself and am not actively advocating any law firm: I just have lots of experience with immigration)
- August 27, 2011, 9:13 pm
August 17, 2011, 7:48 am
pls advice. i am Canadian and last time entered Schengen at end of March 2011 from the States. entered in Germany. went to different EU countries, to Ukraine by car… and now about to leave Schengen from Prague going to Turkey, then go to Canada….i plan to leave Prague September 9, so i basically overstayed for 2 month. also in mean time i damaged my Canadian passport and got new one here in Prague absolutely clear, mean no stamps at all..lol…. could u pls tell me would i have any problems upon leaving now? can they give me hard time? as i said my passport is clear now, basically speaking i really went during this time to Ukraine and nobody left any stamps on my former passport nither Poland i left EU nor Ukraine…nobody!!!!…back in forth…meaning that i can say that i was not in EU all this time and what they gonna do???? no stamps at all…
thank you in advance
November 16, 2011, 3:53 am
This is a great site and I appreciate all the excellent info you have posted!
My question may have been asked before, and I’m not sure if this is the correct place to ask it – But I was really hoping that you could please clarify this one for me 🙂
I am an Australian girl staying in Austria on a 6 month Austria-Schengen Type-D visa. I have spent about 1 month in other Schengen-Zone countries during this time.
I plan to leave Austria and the Schengen-Zone in a few weeks which is the last day my visa is valid. I will then stay in various non-Schengen-Zone countries (such as the UK, Nepal, Turkey, etc) for at least 4+ months.
My question is this; after this period of being away, am I able to return to the Schengen-Zone and stay for another 3 months? Will there be any problems with returning through border control?
December 18, 2011, 2:16 pm
First let me compliment your useful advices and info that you are helping with to everybody who is in some kind of trouble.
Let me clarify my situation…
I got good job in Prague in Sepetember and immediately applied for Czech employment visa in Czech embassy in Croatia.
The next day I packed my stuff and left for Prague based on the 90 visa free period just as a tourist, got the accommodation there and just learn the language and adapt to the new culture while waiting for my long term employment vise. The legal processing time to get this visa is 3 months (90 days) so I thought that I will get it during my visa-free tourist stay.
I also applied my accommodation at the foreign police in Prague and got the confirmation in Czech saying that I am staying on Czech address in addition to the stamp in the passport that I got at the Czech embassy in Croatia showing that I applied for visa.
Now, my problem…I thought that I can get my work visa at the foreign police in Prague when its done but doing the research I found out that I have to go to Croatia in the Czech embassy to get it and have it sticked in my passport. And this visa will be approved tomorrow… so I will technicaly not have work visa in my passport (even if officialy approved) and will show the overstay of 5 days (95 days instead of 90).
I am going by plane from Prague to Vienna (where I get stamped when first entering Schengen) and then to Zagreb.
What kind of problems I might have for these 5 days?
I would agree to pay any fine just not to get banned. Because this would mean that because of these 5 days exceed I would mess up my whole life and lose the right to do the job that I was waiting for 90 days 🙁
And last, does this confirmation for the temporary residence that I have from Czech police or the fact that I got my work visa but do not have it phisicaly, help to get no penalty or getting banned.
I trully appreciate your prompt reply.
Many many thanks in advance.
December 27, 2011, 2:53 am
first of all , i wanna say that i find ur comments very useful!!.
i wonder if i could receive an advice from u.
i work in germany sicne couple months now. i pay my taxes and my situation is completely legal here (i hold a spanish passport in additon to the mexican one). i have a mexican friend here, she entered germany as a tourist and according to regulations she should have left the country on nov 23rd. so she already overstayed for more than a month. she would like to go back to mexico in feb and come back again in march. she is been helping me as an au pair and also studying german during the mornings. is there a way of regulate her situation ? i guess she will have problems getting back here in march no? i would like her to come back in march and stay till at least sep (6 months), i would be willing to provide a letter of invitation or something like that..i dont know what to do..i read a previous advice from u saying that going out from prague would be a better solution than going out from germany.. is there a way to stay a tourist visa once u r inside the country? getting for her an au pair visa will be a problem since she needs to prove knowledge of german and her german is way too basic, still. mabe a student visa..but the question still remais, if she already overstayed how easy can this be done?
thanks in advance..
January 5, 2012, 9:51 am
Where is the cheapest place to travel, and how long do I have to stay there to renew my visitor’s visa? Also; is gay marriage (in Brussells) recognized by France as a valid reason to apply for residency?
January 17, 2012, 4:23 pm
I am currently a student here in Barcelona and have been offered a school-sponsored internship. Because this is continuing my education, I was hoping to stay on an extended student visa. Unfortunately, to do this you must apply for this extension back in the US. I would love to avoid flying back to the states and only need to extend my visa about 6-8 weeks. I’m not sure the best way to go about doing this, can I stay as a tourist? What are the laws about internships, as this is unpaid and I will not technically be taking a job from any Spanish citizen? Thanks for your help.
April 21, 2012, 3:03 am
I came to Holland to be an Au Pair and I didn’t like the job so I quit and left Holland exactly on my 90th day in Holland and took a train to Paris for two days and now I’m in Spain. I have a return ticket to the states in 3 weeks. So, I will have overstayed my tourist visa by 1 month. I though I had to be out of Holland on the 3rd month… I didn’t know I had to be out of the EU on the third month. Am I in trouble or will I be ok to go back to the US a month late? Do you know where I can find out how much the fine is?
April 29, 2012, 1:15 pm
Hi i am spanish .my wife bangladesh citizen.she will come in madrid(spain) with schengen visa (90days +mutli entre).now i want more then 120 days she stay with me .can i extension visa or take a residence permitfor her.
NOTE :our marrige already registered by the spain embassy in Dhaka ,Bangladesh and i have family book also.
July 18, 2012, 4:52 pm
Wow this is all a little overwhelming. I appreciate this site a lot and look forward to your response.
Here is the situation:
I am a 27 year old American citizen and my girlfriend(28) has tri-citizenship through USA, Peru and Italy. We met in the United States and have booked one way tickets in early October to Rome where we will stay for one night and then continue down to Florence where we plan to live. She will be legally able to work and live there once she gets her paperwork in order. On the other hand, we are having a rough time finding out how it will be possible for me to stay in Italy longer than 90 days(we are planning on at least two years). I do not feel comfortable with breaking any laws by overstaying. I feel illegal immigration is wrong and I want to take the necessary steps to live and work there legally, if such job offers arise. However, having that said, I am okay with “bending” the law ex: exiting the country for a period of time and re-entering after so many days to be able to re-enter as a “tourist, etc” while we figure out how to make my extended stay legal. We have about $25,000 in liquid assets and about $10,000 in investments that will allow us to live there for at least a year or two without work since we will be splitting costs. I have an extensive work history in customer service, retail management and I also do freelance work as a professional photographer/digital artist that could help supplement any income that she will be earning. I do have documents/paychecks showing solid income for the last year since I currently also own my own business. Since she is more familiar with the system and happens to speak and write italian fluently, she has contacted the Los Angeles consulate. To confirm as others have described, they are really rude and not helpful at all. They basically keep telling her that it’s a lot easier to just get married, otherwise it’s not possible. I guess like you said, it’s not really their job to help us live there, really just to keep us out and get us to leave when we are supposed to. Through my research I have found that Extended visas are really only available to “older” people who have a huge sum of monetary assets who are retired and will not be working any longer. What I am basically looking for is an extended permit that I will have to renew yearly. I understand that eventually I will have to find work and that I may have to fly back to the US to get a permit for a job that I am offered in Italy. If we end up staying for 5 years, I will want to apply for a permanent permit. My girlfriend keeps reassuring me that once we get there and get an apartment and she finds a job that It will be a lot easier for us. That you can’t get a job offer from an employer without showing proof that you live there, etc etc. I basically don’t want to show up and find that I didn’t do everything that I could do here in the US before getting on the plane in October. I want to fill out more than the necessary amount of forms, get any documents that can’t be sent by my family after I am there and basically do anything and everything that will increase the chances of our plans to live in italy to not be significantly cut short. I’m a hard working and smart dude. I am in the process of learning italian and am very passionate and excited about this move. Any information or advice that could help dispel some of the stress regarding our situation will be greatly appreciated.
I look forward to your response,
July 20, 2012, 2:33 am
Short question, is it a problem to get to Turkey if my passport shows that I have overstayed my schengen visa?
November 13, 2012, 1:54 pm
Is it possible to convert a schengen visa (italy) to a Italian resident permit ?
pls comment ……
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