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Red Flag on Passports for Overstayed Visas

If I overstay my Schengen visa will a red flag be put on my passport? It is true that your passport can be “red flagged” by the Schengen immigration authorities. This often happens in cases of travelers getting caught for overstaying their visas: they are processed, fined (or banned), and their passport information is entered [...]

If I overstay my Schengen visa will a red flag be put on my passport?

It is true that your passport can be “red flagged” by the Schengen immigration authorities. This often happens in cases of travelers getting caught for overstaying their visas: they are processed, fined (or banned), and their passport information is entered into the Schengen Information System (SIS). These “red flags” can work against you if you ever wish to return to Shengen Europe as a tourist or apply for a longer term visa in one of the member states.

Once it is on, it is a somewhat difficult process to get the “red flag” removed, but it can be accomplished through navigating the narrow alleys and byways of European bureaucracy.

Countries of Schengen Region Map


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But in your person instance, whether or not all of the immigration facilities of the Schengen region can red flag travelers electronically is rendered irrelevant by the fact that the only thing the Swedish consulate would need to do is look through your passport the old fashioned way, and they would receive the same information as through an automated “red flag.” If you are trying to apply for Swedish residency, an overstay in the Schengen region would not work to your advantage, and there is a chance that you could be rejected outright.

I understand that you are in the middle of a dive course, and your visa is about to expire, but I do believe that you are in a circumstance where you need to measure your priorities: would you rather finish your diving instruction in Spain, overstay  you visa by two months, and possible not be permitted residency in Sweden? or would you rather go to another country outside of the Schengen region to finish your diving training and play it safe?

There are no quick fixes when dealing with visa overstays. If you were just planning on leaving Spain after the two month overstay, then I would say that you probably should not have any trouble. But as you are planning on applying for Swedish residency, the overstay in Spain could have a drastic impact.  I suppose this is just a matter of your priorities: either you overstay, and face the consequences, or you travel on to a new part of the world. The world is big, there is no such thing as “having nowhere else to go.”

You could easily leave the Schengen region and resume your diving training over the waters in Egypt, or even in Croatia, Turkey, or Morocco.

My advice:

If you are serious about moving to Sweden to be with your partner, is best to play it safe and don’t overstay your visa.

Again, the world is big and full of places to go.

Walk Slow,

Wade

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Original question about overstaying Schengen visa

I am currently in spain, and am here on a dive course for 5 months. I was told at the beginning that i would be able to do a visa run to andorra and not to worry about visa issues. I have now found that you cannot do visa runs as you have to be out of the schengen states for 3 months. I would normally not have problem overstaying, but i heard that even if the country doesn’t say anything to you about the overstay, when your passport is swiped out, a red flag goes into the system. I am planning to apply for swedish residency through my partner, and I have heard all schengen countries have to check the system before they issue visas.

Is this true, i can’t risk having the mark on my visa, but i wasn’t planning to have to leave (I have nowhere to go), and my visa is up in 2 weeks.

Filed under: Schengen Visas, Spain, 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 3411 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

5 comments… add one

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  • Martin November 5, 2012, 4:58 pm

    Hi Wade,

    Thank you for this page. Its very helpful for internationalist and those of us who dont want to be defined by invisible lines on a map.

    I am an American who was recently banned by Madrid border agents for overstaying my visa by 5 weeks. Although I never stayed in Spain it was my point of exit back to the US. Currently i can not re-enter the Schengen zone for 6 months.
    The problem is i met a Dutch girl while in europe and we are deeply in love. For personal reasons i cannot marry her for 4 years but we are so much in love we can barely be apart. 2 Questions: Are there rules or laws that allow engaged people to extend their visa? Also, if i “Lost” my passport and went to the American embassy a year after entry can they check the airline to see when i initially arrived in europe? We will do anything to be together.
    Please help!

    Martin

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    • Wade Shepard November 5, 2012, 8:25 pm

      There are many cracks in the system, but you will never be able to tell in advance when you’re going to be one of the ones to fall through them. I’ll put it like that.

      No, there are no way to extend a visa because you’re engaged. You can apply for a fiance visa, but there are restrictions as to when you need to get married. This could also be rejected because of your overstay.

      If you’re in the SIS then changing passports often does not even help. The best bet would to be have your girlfriend leave Schengen Europe.

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  • harry September 17, 2013, 12:21 pm

    hello if we over stay in UK . and if we go back to our non eu country and again apply for schengen visa will it affect…..???

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  • Charles Sammut October 13, 2018, 4:10 am

    Hi. My Russian fiancee’s Schengen multiple visa expires in 50 days. She is currently living with me in Malta and would like to stay 3 months. Can she apply for an extension while in Malta?

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    • Wade Shepard October 13, 2018, 5:26 pm

      Probably not.

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