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Travel in Europe After Expired Student Visa

Question: Can I travel in Europe after my Schengen student visa expires? Answer: Hello Natalia, It is my impression that the right to travel to other Schengen countries for 90 days is included in most student visas, and this right expires when your visa does. It seems as if you will need to leave the [...]

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Question: Can I travel in Europe after my Schengen student visa expires?


Hello Natalia,

It is my impression that the right to travel to other Schengen countries for 90 days is included in most student visas, and this right expires when your visa does.

It seems as if you will need to leave the Schengen region at the end of your student visa to remain legal. If you were from a visa waiver country, I would inquire with an immigration office about how long you need to be out of the region in order to return again. If you stay in Europe for 90 days on a tourist visa you need to be out of the region for at least 90 more before returning, but I have read in some shaky sources that if you were in the region on a student visa, you can leave and then return immediately and request a tourist visa. But as you are from Colombia, this is not a possibility, as you require a pre-arranged visa to even transit through the Schengen zone.

European visa policies

I highly recommend that you change your flight dates and leave Europe before your student visa expires.

For more information on Schengen zone visa policies visit Schengen Region on Travel Help or go to Visa Questions Forum or Europe Travel Questions Forum.

Walk Slow,


Don't overstay your visa

Original question about traveling in Schengen zone after expired student visa

I have a student visa in Italy that expires 30/12/10. Do I have a short period of time for leaving the country? like at least 2 weeks? my ticket back to Colombia is for 15/01/2011. If so, can I travel to France for 3 days while the visa expires?

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: Europe, Italy, Schengen Visas, Travel Help

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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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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nina November 29, 2010, 10:03 am


    I was wondering if when your visa expires does that mean you have to leave the country straight away or do you have 90 days where you can stay longer?
    I live in paris, am on an au pair/studetn visa and it expires the 8th december, but i want to stay here to fly to germany on the 23rd december…..
    What will they do at the airport? WIill they let me go? I am an new zealander

    Thanks for you help

    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com November 29, 2010, 5:04 pm

      Yes, when your visa expires you need to leave the region immediately. Though I think that if you exited prior to your student visa expiring you can come right back a few days later and receive a tourist visa (I don’t think that, as you are changing visas, you have to be out of the region for 90 days). Though I would check other sources on this, as there are many different interpretations of Schengen immigration laws.

      If you do this — exit from your student visa, re-enter on a tourist visa — please let me know how it works out.

      If you overstay your visa there is a very high possibility that you will be busted when trying to leave from Germany. The typical punishment for overstaying a Schengen visa is a 3 year ban and a possible fine.

  • p44444p October 14, 2011, 2:16 am

    Hi Wade, Thank you for your site. My daughter is in Barcelona on a 90 day visa which expired 2 weeks ago. Now that her language program is ending, I am wanting to go visit her and take her on a cheap cruise (which cost less than a hotel…and includes all the food!). Do they run your passport on the cruise when you board, even though your passport was already run through the airport computer upon arrival? Would they be able to see she’s overstayed her visa time? We plan on leaving to the US right after the cruise, out of Barcelona airport. Thanks!

    • Wade Shepard October 18, 2011, 6:41 am

      Unless the cruise is going to land in a non-Schengen country, she should be alright.

  • Frank February 2, 2012, 7:20 pm

    Hi Wade,

    I’m on a type d visa in France that expires in may. I want to travel for about 90 days in the summer through Spain and Italy. I would be willing to leave france before my visa expires and fly back to the US from Italy or a different country. Do you think this would be okay? I don’t want to get in trouble!

    • Wade Shepard February 4, 2012, 12:34 pm

      Yes, it is a good idea to leave before your visa expires. This is always up for debate (even among immigration and consular officials) but it is my interpretation of the rules that if you have a D visa you can leave the Schengen zone and return for a C tourist visa without needing to wait 91 days.

  • Frank February 4, 2012, 5:03 pm

    Thank you so much! How does one get a C tourist visa? By leaving I meant leaving France and staying in Italy for about a month or so after…

    • Wade Shepard February 9, 2012, 2:26 pm

      The tourist C visa is what you get on arrival if you’re from a country where you don’t need a prearranged visa to enter the Schengen zone. If you are from a country where you need one in advance, you must apply at the consulate of the Schengen country you plan to enter first.

  • Samantha February 21, 2012, 6:26 pm

    Hi Wade .. I am an American Student studying in Spain on a 180 day Student Visa. My program ends at the end of May and my Student Visa expires on June 10th. I would really like to travel around europe for a couple months this summer but don’t want to get in trouble leaving and be banned from returning because of an expired Visa. If I leave for a few days prior to my student Visa expiring and go to Morocco can I get a stamp when I come back to spain with a tourist visa? Can I come back a couple days before my original student visa expires on the 10th of June or should I wait to come back into Spain until after that day? Sorry for all the questions and I really appreicate your help!! Also do you know if they give stamps in your passport only if you take a flight from a non Schengen zone country or what if you take a ferry? Thanks Again!

  • Astrid Santiago April 10, 2012, 1:26 pm

    Hi Wade,
    I’m in a similar sticky situation. My 6 month student visa expires July 23. I plan on staying here in France (where I’ll be flying out from) until August 2. I contact the consolate and legally, the only way to do this is to beg to the prefecture to extend my visa. However it sounds as though I can still do this legally, by claiming my right as a tourist after my visa is over. My question now, is timing. You mentioned earlier to exit prior to the student visa expiring (going to UK) and then re-enter a few days later. Do I time this so that when I re-enter my student visa is over and they have to accept be back as a tourist? Or do I time it so my student visa is still in act when I plan on coming back..I think the first one sounds right, no?

    Thank you!

    • Wade Shepard April 13, 2012, 7:54 pm

      Due to the high volume of questions and the time sensitive nature of Schengen visa issues I’m no longer responding personally to questions of this topic on the site. I’m now doing Schengen visa consultation by private email consultation for a $19 donation. Thanks.

  • Breanna Murphy May 18, 2012, 9:24 am


    So happy I came across your blog.

    I am just now leaving Spain after a semester of study abroad. This summer, my aunt and I want to plan a trip back to Europe (Spain, France, Ireland), but I’ve just now been hearing people say that you can’t return to the country for 90 days. I have a student visa for 180 days that expires on July 1, 2012, but I am leaving on May 19th, 2012. If I plan a trip for the beginning of August, will I be allowed to enter the country? I don’t understand how this works, and i REALLY want to come back to visit friends and my host family here. Could you potentially help? Thanks so much.

    • Wade Shepard May 19, 2012, 8:55 am

      These rules are changing all the time, not to mention the various different interpretation of the rules between countries in the Schengen zone.

      Because of this I no longer answer Schengen visa questions live on this site. If anyone wants private consultation I will do this for a $19 donation to the site via the form on http://www.vagabondjourney.com/travelogue/visa/schengen-visas/.

      Questions sent via email, Facebook, or through the comments on these pages will not be replied to by me personally.