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Reentering Europe After Visa Overstay on Different Passport

Q: Can I reenter Europe after overstaying my visa in Switzerland with a different passport? A: Hello, While it is true that you were probably banned from reentering the Schengen zone of Europe after overstaying your tourist visa in Switzerland, it seems to me that if you were to attempt returning on your second passport [...]

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Q: Can I reenter Europe after overstaying my visa in Switzerland with a different passport?



While it is true that you were probably banned from reentering the Schengen zone of Europe after overstaying your tourist visa in Switzerland, it seems to me that if you were to attempt returning on your second passport there may be a decent chance that you won’t be caught — though I cannot recommend that you try this, of course.

As you are from Hong Kong and have two passports — HKSAR and BNO — it seems as if you were to reenter Europe on the one that shows no evidence of the overstay you may be allowed in — though there is no guarantee for this.

Please keep in mind that his is just my opinion — one that has been formed after receiving hundreds of letters documenting traveler’s experiences of overstaying their visas in Europe — and is not fool proof advice. I have also received various reports of people being caught trying to reenter Europe after a visa overstay with a different passport (though these passports were re-issues of the one they had previously).

In point, the SIS (Schengen Information System) does contain more information about you than your passport number — especially if you were previously caught overstaying your visa — so having your name, birthday, and nationality already logged into the system could be enough to identify you as you try to reenter with your second passport. So while it is possible for you to be identified and busted, it is my opinion that if you were to enter France (who currently does not employ the strictest immigration practices) on a completely different passport then your chances of this happening are not extremely high.

European immigration — especially after the Schengen agreement — is often a crap shoot, you may be caught, you may not. There is no hard guarantee either way. If you try to reenter France prior to the end of your three year ban from the Schengen zone, please let me know how everything works out. As a final note of advice: stay far, far away from Switzerland of Germany — don’t even take flights that go through these countries.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask them below. Thanks!

Walk Slow,


BNO passport


Original question about reentering Europe after overstay with second passport:

Reading the topics of your website help a lot.
My case is like this. I left Switzerland 1 year ago, overstayed 6 months (I am a Hong Kong Chinese, no need visa to travel Switzerland), i got punished to pay a penalty of 600 in Zurich.
I used to exit Switzerland every 3 months, but that time i didnt because me and my bf was planing to get married. At the end, we didnt get married because i couldnt deal with the life in Switzerland.
Yesterday, he checked for me that, i am not allowed to entry Switzerland for 3 years (2 more years).
And in fact my company arranged a business trip for me, going to France soon and I am intense to go visit Hungary for holiday.
Questions here :
Would I get rejected for entering France and Hungary?
In fact, hong kong residents hold 2 passports. The HKSAR and BNO. I got out of Switzerland with the HKSAR passport. And it is now going to be expire soon after leaving Switzerland 1 year.
If you know it is gonna be a trouble if I choose to enter those country with BNO passport?
Thank you very much for your advice.

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.


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Filed under: Border Crossing, Europe, France, Immigration, 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 3715 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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11 comments… add one

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  • Masa December 1, 2010, 6:14 pm

    thanks for the advices.
    Would you agree that it would be better if I will approach French Embassy to make sure if I can go to France?


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  • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com December 2, 2010, 9:52 am

    This is probably a good idea, though I am not sure how helpful it would be. European consulates are notorious for giving poor advice and not knowing your true immigration status in regards to the Schengen zone. I am unsure if they would even know that you are banned — if you are even banned, you may not be, right? Did the Swiss immigration officer tell you explicitly that you are banned for three years? Sometimes the Swiss give a fine instead of a ban, sometimes they give both — though they are often not very upfront about any of it.

    It probably would not hurt to go and talk with the French consulate to see what they say.

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  • Masa December 3, 2010, 2:30 am

    Yes, they gave the date until I could go back. From the date i left, So it means i am banned for 3 years.But i knew it only until my friend help me to give them a call.
    If i will try to apply a visa from the embassy. what happen if i will hve a visa but still get banned?
    Would that possible?

    Thanks a lot for your advice

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com December 3, 2010, 7:41 am

      It is my impression that it would look awful odd for someone to apply for a visa when they don’t need one. Also, even if they were to provide a visa it is not a guarantee that you will be let in. If you have confirmed that you are in the system as being banned, then it may not be a very good idea to try to go back until you are allowed to do so.

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  • Wizh GO February 6, 2011, 8:26 am

    hello,good day to you,i also have a quarries about the applying for Schengen visa,,because my problem is that after i completed the requirements for the Schengen area. and now,another problem brought me, i need to have a guarantor in entering the Europe continent..would you please give me some advice and suggestion that i may able to compensate with this things i am encountering.??and also what is the easiest way to apply this.by the way i am an asian,a Filipino one.thanks and GOD bless!!

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  • LS October 26, 2011, 12:32 pm

    Hi Wade, I’ve read your posts on this site and you always seem to give great advice – mainly not to overstay the visa! Well, I want to stay in Germany for about 6 months, and I was wondering if I could get a 3 month visa on my Russian passport and then exit the Schengen zone and enter Germany on my American passport and stay for another 90 days. Have you gotten any reports on whether people are getting caught when doing this? I wouldn’t be overstaying the tourist visa the first time around, and i wouldn’t be overstaying the second 90 day period. Can immigration officials notice that I am just using a different passport? For reference, my US passport is biometric, but the Russian is not.

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    • Wade Shepard October 30, 2011, 6:21 pm

      Theoretically, this would work. Traveling to Russia and traveling back from there with the Russian passport would be your best bet (as if you just go to a neighboring country and try to switch up passports you will probably be asked where your exit stamps are from the previous country). The only problem with this plan is that Russians need a visa to enter the Schengen zone, and they are often granted for less than 90 days.

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  • April December 9, 2012, 10:02 pm


    I Wang to know something about my situation, i was a tourist in switzerland for
    3 months, but 1 month before m’y Visa expire i went to Paris by train, and i overstayed for almost two years, i was not being caught, i just décided to go back home in the Philippines, though when i was at the immigration in CDG they didnt put a red stamp on m’y passeport they just ask the reason wh i overstayed
    So i only told t hem all the truth, but when my bd came here in the Philippines and we sent to the French embassy Philippines to apply for marriage, it was them
    Who noticed That i overstayed in France, they scanned m’y passeport and told me they Will send to the French immigration Paris, m’y question is, CAN i be allowed to have a spouse Visa after mariage?

    Your reply would be highly appreciated.
    Thanks and More Power.


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  • Amanda March 5, 2013, 6:08 pm

    Wade – Question in regards to Overstay Visa and re entering?
    Hi Wade, 
    in 2010 I was cought by Switzerland for overstaying my Visa in Europe.  I left the country back to the United States, where I am from, and had a lawyer overseas who tried to battle my case.  I lost and my final sentence was expelled from the EU for 2 years.  I have all the copies of the sentence “diveto” which states clearly that I am able to re enter the EU in March 2012.  It has passed that date and I have my first trip back to Europe this coming November.  I will be arriving in France and having my primary stay in Spain for 1 week.  I have been looking everywhere and talking to different Embassy’s and Custom Controls to make sure that I am able to go back to Europe.  No one is able to give me much information except to fly over there and then I will find out.  I am currently applying for a Schegen Visa Type C (http://www.schengenvisa.cc/)  which is a short stay Visa into the EU before so that I can see if they accept it or not, in hopes to give me an idea if I should re-enter.  When I fly over I will bring a copy of my sentence that states I am able to re enter as well.  Do you have any advice for me or know anything of this? I would appreciate the help. 
    Thank You.

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  • Rose August 27, 2018, 10:05 pm

    Question regarding Schengen overstay and reentry.

    Hi wade .
    I travelled on norway visa through Portugal and overstayed in the area for 4 days more than my visa duration and 8 days less than my visa expiration ( &
    Had no idea as it waz my first time there).
    I exited through Lisbon and the border guard explained to me but did not fine or pemalise me, i think. Tjis was a year ago.
    I am applying for a Uk visa to attend school, will this be a problem? I will spend two of my semesters in the Schengen area, will i be in trouble?

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    • Wade Shepard August 28, 2018, 1:14 pm

      Maybe … there is only one way to find out: try it.

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