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No More Schengen Visa Overstays

The following is a comment that I received from a reader about how unpunished Schengen visa overstays will soon be a convenience of the past: Soon, you will not need to worry about WHETHER you will be caught for overstaying since procedures and technology will change. You will be required to obtain an entry and [...]

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The following is a comment that I received from a reader about how unpunished Schengen visa overstays will soon be a convenience of the past:

Soon, you will not need to worry about WHETHER you will be caught for overstaying since procedures and technology will change. You will be required to obtain an entry and exit stamp every time you enter and leave the Schengen Zone and your entry and exit will be computerised on a system that can instantly calculate how many days you have been in the Zone and how many have elapsed since your last visit. If you have overstayed, there will be a fine and you will be denied entry again for up to 3 years. Not having an entry or exit stamp because there was nobody preent at the border will be illegal. In this scenario, you will need to go to the Police Station. If you fail to get an exit stamp, you will not be able to re-enter and will be denied entry and fined for a previous illegal exit. It is good to see that the Schengen Authorities are starting to catch up with the crooks who gloat about their overstays on this website. After all, we would be in real trouble if we tried the same in their countries and might even be executed or given 300 lashings.


Wade’s response:

I agree completely with your prediction: unpunished Schengen visa overstays will soon be a thing of the past. The borders of Europe will soon be locked down, and everyone who enters or exits will be entered into a computer database that can be easily accessed by any country in the region.

We are in a transition period now, the countries of the Schengen zone are learning how to deal with handling immigration as a region rather than by individual country. Some countries — such as Germany and Switzerland — have already learned, but the others will soon follow.

The perpetual tourist in Europe is a character of the past.

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: Border Crossing, 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 3703 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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25 comments… add one

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  • Vakish September 29, 2010, 5:33 am

    Hi there,

    I’m wondering when you think these restrictions will become more universal. For instance, is Spain in a position to limit tourism and will they crack down on overstaying laws now or in the very near future? I ask because I am currently at risk of leaving my current spanish destination due to fear I may not be allowed back. Its an accident in calculation of days that perhaps will cost me big time? I’m very confused about the matter as authorities have all given me different and vague information.

    Thanks for any comments in response.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com September 29, 2010, 10:41 am

      In truth, nobody seems to know — especially the authorities. In Germany, Switzerland, it is almost a given that you will be busted, in Spain, it is anybody’s guess. From the reports that I receive, Spain seems to be a little less strict towards visa overstayers, one guy got caught overstaying by years and all the authorities told him was to make sure he exited the country within the next 6 months haha. So, I can’t say what will happen to you — not even the authorities you asked seem to really know.

      But I would say GET OUT as soon as possible if you overstayed, as your entrance/ exit dates could follow you on your next return to Europe. Man, I tell you, it would suck taking a flight all the way to Europe to be denied entry for a previous overstay. So I say, get out, and don’t go back for at least 90 days.

      I do not know when, but I predict that the Schengen overstay restrictions are going to be strict across the board very soon.

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  • Imogen December 21, 2010, 5:59 am

    Sorry to keep banging on about this (I left a similar comment on another post today), but those scanny-database things are NOT immigration tools, they’re law enforcement tools.

    Only a few countries (I think Germany and Switzerland are among them) use electronic ‘stamps’ when you arrive in their countries. This is one kind of passport swipe. All the rest of the countries still use the old-fashioned stamp in your passport.

    Right now, NO countries use a central database to track travellers’ entry and exit from the Schengen region. The only thing this database is used for is to check for alerts (criminal activity; if that particular passport has been reported lost/stolen; if the person named on the passport is a kidnapped minor or missing person etc etc).

    In short, the Schengen Information System (SIS) is a law enforcement tool, NOT an immigration tool.

    The only thing a passport chip can hold is identifying details: Name, address, next-of-kin etc etc. All the stuff that is printed in the passport. It cannot hold your travel details. If it did, we wouldn’t need visa stamps, flight tickets and so on. We would simply swipe the chip in our passport.

    The next generation SIS is still a long way off. Even then, it will not automatically store details of anyone coming into the Schengen area, or leaving it. It will only store details of anyone who has been barred from entering the Schengen area, or denied permission to stay in the Schengen area. To be flagged as one of those people is a very deliberate and specific process, not a simple matter of data capture.

    More info on the next generation SIS can be found here: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/justice_freedom_security/free_movement_of_persons_asylum_immigration/l14544_en.htm

    I can understand how easy it is to assume that your travel details are stored on this database. I can also see why this is such a common myth. But it is just that, a myth.

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com December 23, 2010, 7:27 am

      This information is NOT consistent with reports that I receive.

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      • moka December 31, 2010, 3:13 am

        Can either of you site reliable sources? This is exactly the info i would like to know…

        In my case, I’m not sure I was scanned when i first entered the Schengen zone but i dont think so..pretty sure just a stamp. (Flew through Germany to Rome from the US, so I was stamped in Germany on the departures column) and my stamp is soooo faded. When you strain to read the date, it looks like I arrived a month later than I did. I left with a few days to spare before my 90 days, am spending time in the UK and Croatia, but would like to spend another month in Italy, overstaying my time by several weeks. I fly out through Rome via Lufthansa, so I should be checked in my stopover in Germany. I think I might be okay if it’s not all right there on the screen just playing it off like i spend a couple months in italy, left, and returned for another month. I do not have an echip in my passport.

        Any solid insights into what the system is like in the german airports and how the computer system works would be incredibly helpful….you two seem to have different views on this, so i guess it would help to know it is from a solid source. Also trying to figure out whether an alert will come up even if i sneak by that would prevent me from re-entering on a later date. Would not want any surprises.

        Thank you so much.

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    • gilleous January 31, 2011, 4:57 am


      Do you know if the German airport borders can see entry dates into Germany via the database?

      I’ve overstayed my visa for Europe (I’m American) by several months. I intend to return to France to live, will get my visa situation in order in the U.S. In fact I’ve been living in France for many years with short trips back to the US every year.

      Meanwhile I’m very concerned about big fines and being banned from Europe.

      If I travel with a replacement passport issued by a local consulate, thereby having no past entry stamps, will a border officer still be able to see that I entered Germany in December 2009 and havent left the Schengen zone?

      Many thanks in advance for any insight you could offer. Looking forward to your reply – consulation appointment is tomorrow!

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  • EL January 4, 2011, 9:40 am

    Does anyone know how the 90 day tourist visa in a 180 day period is calculated in Switzerland? I’m american and I’ve been in and out of Switzerland since September for about 60 days and would like to remain here for a few more months since my partner works/lives here. Does the tourist visa only permit me to stay another 30 days until the end of February (6months from September) and then once the days from September become available, I can reenter Switzerland for that amount of time? thanks!

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  • E. January 7, 2011, 8:12 am

    Why do you defend Schengen? Seems like your head is up the arse of the EU. What do you benefit from defending a restrictive tourist visa? Strange to be an American defending immigration in Europe. The Netherlands won’t let me marry my fiance because he doesn’t make enough money. And Schengen won’t let me stay with him for more than 90 days. And then I read this website where you are so pleased with Schengen. I’m already pissed off, and then I read this potash ignorance.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com January 7, 2011, 9:18 am

      You missed the plot.

      In no way to I defend the Schengen agreement — it is idiotic to give a tourist who just wants to leave money in their wake 90 days for around 25 countries. If you’ve read through this site, you would clearly see my opinion.

      But the rules are the rules, and the Schengen region has gotten vastly more strict about overstays. People write into this site asking for help, so I tell them: don’t overstay your visa in Europe because they WILL ban you from reentry or slap you with a huge fine. It is not my impression that sharing this information could be called defending Schengen immigration policy.

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      • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com January 7, 2011, 9:22 am

        Haha, I reread this entry and see more of what you are saying. Keep in mind that my name is Wade, and I am the one who responded to the initial statement on this page, which was made by a reader. It is my impression that you may have missed that.

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  • Alex June 2, 2011, 8:07 pm

    I agree I was working for 3 years in Germany tried to re-new my work permit (US Passport) for a relatively big firm and it all crashed and had to leave within 3 months. Currently I work live and reside in Asia and have a WARM welcome including Australia where the US has a FTA agreement so for one the dollar and immigration over here is FAIR and want us unlike Europe. So just food for thought. Hong Kong for example welcomes US, UK, Canadian passport with ease. As with Singapore under the FTA (US) if you hold a BA you can apply inside with a automatic extension on the spot 6 months. Plus I have to say it’s a lot more exotic over here as I am used to it now.

    Sorry to say living in the EU for years is hard now (legally) I think we are all being re-directed to Asia. Same goes with my friends who had to leave the EU found
    great paying jobs with employers willing to do the paperwork .. I am in Singapore found a job flew in as a tourist told customs I will be working NOT a problem had 3 months to get the permit. AND US citizens can work on a 90 day social visit pass much much better and a HELL of a lot easier too! Not only us but the ASEAN nations where good friends live have no problem, only exception is Thailand which is tricky but there are so many loopholes there too.. Cheers

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  • Maria July 6, 2011, 8:57 am

    Hello thank you for information, my situation is this: I got an Italian schengen visa for 23 days (though I was hoping to get it for half a year) but I have to stay in europe – amsterdam particularly – till the end of august. So I will stay in Italy for a day and then fly to Amsterdam to stay there, but the question is is it possible to extend my touristic visa there? From what I read online so far it’s not. And another question – my man is Greek living in Amsterdam, is it possible for us to get married during the 23 days I have there and what do we ave to do for it? Thanks for help.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com July 7, 2011, 3:48 am

      True, there are no extensions for the tourist visa in the Schengen region. Also, it may be possible to get married when you are in Amsterdam, but the process of getting residency based off of the marriage is often a long and complicated process.

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  • Maria July 6, 2011, 8:58 am

    Forgot to say that I am Russian – which makes everything more complicated :/

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  • Jeremy James July 13, 2011, 3:00 pm

    I told myself that I would write to this website once I got back from my trip to Europe. I am an American citizen who was living and working in Slovenia for 9 months on a 90 day tourist visa. What I did was stupid and really irresponsible as a person. At first I thought it was a joke as I am not a criminal in anyway and have never been in trouble with the law. I went to Slovenia in September of 2010 with the hopes of living, working and finding my grandpa’s roots. He had always spoken about his native land so, I, as an English teacher thought..”What the hey, why not?” So off I went. Back in the early part of the 2000’s (the begining of the end of the good ol’ days) I had worked in Poland. I had a great job, great girl, great life and never even thought about getting a work visa. Instead I would just boarder hop to Slovakia every three months and be greeted back by the Poles as if I were a long lost brother. So I thought this trip being only a decade later would be no different. I thought I would just be doing boarder runs to beautiful Croatia every 90 days and bob would be my uncle (as the Brits like to say). I had been in Slovenia for about 88 days when I thought I had better just do my boarder run and get it over with. I hired a taxi and and drove the short distance to the Croatian boarder. No problems. I was greeted and exited as a celebrity (in my own mind). But then when we came back into Slovenia i.e. Schengen, that’s when I realized I had a problem. The woman at the boarder crossing told me..”You’re Schengen visa is almost expired, you need to go home in two days!” I thought, go home? I just got here. So anyway I ignored her and off we went back to my comfy little village. Then I found this website and thought I was going to puke my guts out. I was so sick and miserable about what I was reading that I just wanted to be beamed back to America on the spot and forget everything. I couldn’t enjoy the country at all now. Instead I felt like a criminal lurking around the street. No good, and unwated. I just felt low and disgusted with myself that I had put myself in this stupid situation. My school was no help either, they were just like “Oh don’t worry about it, everything will be fine” I thought, well that’s easy for you to say. I’m the one who will be sitting in prison, not you. Long story short. After being in the Schengen for 9 months (ie 6 months OVER STAY) I was standing in line in Frankfurt Germany waiting for my Summary Execution. As I approached the Schengen Exit Booth (Immigration) and handed the you German my passport, I thought I was going to throw up and or just pass out. Immediately he knew something was wrong. And he was not pleased. He asked me about what I was doing and where. I told him the truth, that is about finding my grandpa’s roots etc and being in Slovenia for Christmas. I never said a damn word though, about working. I knew that would just intensify the situation. After a long pause and a few minutes of letting me sweat, he simply handed me my passport and with no exit stamp and told me to go back to Chicago. No fine, no red stamp, no ban. I almost started to cry as if I had escaped being hung like some renegade cowboy. The sheriff had taken mercy and let me go! I can assure you all this…..READ AND HEED MY WARNING….Take the time and get a visa!!!! Call the countries embassy and ask them what you can do to stay longer. The few extra months of prep will make your trip truely rewarding. I will NEVER AGAIN DO WHAT I HAVE DONE! I know it may seem like I got away, but did I? My last months were miserable. It was as though I was waiting for a murder trial. I am in the works right now for my return to Slovenia. Yes, I am waiting for my student visa to come through. It’s a little hard, but not impossible, and soooooo worth it. I hope my story helped. Good luck:-))

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    • Guest July 4, 2013, 12:18 am

      Wow, no exit stamp? So, technically, you’re still there?

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  • mike December 5, 2011, 9:09 am

    I have overstayed my visa by about 12 days, my questions is which European Airport is considered the most lax/lenient to leave through, (ie; France CDG, Rome FCO…..?) as I will need to return in about 3 weeks time for business.

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  • dondon verina January 14, 2012, 8:31 pm

    ive been in spain for almost 3 yrs with a schengen visa and it was expired,, but now im here in canada working at the embassy of spain as a service staff for almost 2 yrs and 8 months what should i do? im wondering to go back in spain this year to stay with my family,, i got my government contract from spain last july,,, anyone caqn help me pls thanks

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  • rachlea February 6, 2013, 3:55 pm

    I overstayed my visa by about 5 days and departed from Zurich, I am Australian. I got a fine for 350 swiss francs, I had my german friend translate it though the information is not clear, what the bank name is and what the bsb number and account number are. There is a swift code which is ok as I know what that is, I have emailed where the fine was sent from 3 times asking for the information to pay it and each time they simply send me the same details on the fine. I dont want to transfer 350 to the wrong account. Has anyone paid one?

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    • Vagabond Journey February 6, 2013, 11:33 pm

      @rachlea If you pay it you get banned. If you don’t you get banned too. The incentive for paying is not clear to us, as you get the same penalty either way.

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  • esswin July 2, 2013, 11:45 pm

    Have to comment on our recent experience. Overstayed by 8 months. We knew when we left that we would be illegal, but did it anyway. We have friends in Holland who we rented an apartment from, and just lived out our dream of living in Europe for a year (11 months). Did a ton of travel knowing it could be our last European adventure. Well, it all turned out fine. We entered in Germany and exited from Brussels via the Eurostar to London. I am guessing since we are old (65) white and look like the typical American tourist we weren’t questioned at all. I would not do it again. I am not proud of what we did, but gosh we had fun.

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  • emily August 23, 2013, 3:16 pm

    Hello. I’m student in poland and i have overstayed my visa by 2 yrs the reason being that I had to complete summer clerkships required by school. One yr I had classes during the summer so was unable to leave. I haven’t left Schengen since then because of fear of being banned hence not graduating on time. So now that i’m graduating I fear of being banned because i’ll be applying for a job in UK. I’m US citizen. And I was thinking of crossing border to Ukraine and flying out of from there. Is that a good idea? Will I be banned if I exit via land border? What are you thoughts on this? Or another plan would be to have my family come over for graduation and exit with them from France and just hope they don’t catch me.

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    • Wade Shepard August 23, 2013, 8:52 pm

      You can be banned no matter what exit point you leave from.

      UK isn’t Schengen.

      Have you read the other comments here?

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  • Keira Gebhardt October 10, 2015, 9:54 pm

    Savvy commentary ! I am thankful for the details , Does anyone know if my business could locate a blank 2012 TX PWD Form 143M-A0900 form to edit ?

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