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Schengen Visa Rules via Wayfaring With Wagner

Schengen Zone! If you live outside of Europe, you’ve probably heard the word but have no idea what it means and how it affects your European travels. I’ve broken down all the most commonly asked questions I get about the Schengen Zone and sneaky ways you can work around it!

*** Just a disclaimer, this post is targeted towards Americans! However, most of this information also pertains to Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders. As always, double check all visa information before leaving your home country because the visa information is constantly changing and evolving!

What is the Schengen Zone?

The Schengen Zone is an agreement between 26 countries that allows open borders between the countries. Essentially, once you enter a country part of the Schengen Zone, you can freely travel through the rest of the countries without having to go through passport control again! However, the tourist visa for the Schengen Zone doesn’t just pertain to one Schengen Zone country but all of them!

Schengen Area participation

The map above outlines the Schengen Zone:

  • Red: countries that are not part of Schengen due to opt-outs (Ireland and the United Kingdom)
  • Green: Schengen Zone members but not EU members (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland)
  • Orange: de facto Schengen member (Monaco)
  • Dark Purple: Non-EU member with open borders (San Marino and Vatican)
  • Yellow: EU member states not currently part of the Schengen Zone but obliged to join (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania)
  • Blue: EU member states and part of the Schengen Zone (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden)

Schengen Visa Rules

As an American, you can be in the Schengen Zone as a tourist 90 days in a 180-day period. If you leave the Schengen Zone, your time doesn’t reset so it is really important that you keep track of how long you’re in the Schengen Zone. If you’re in the Schengen Zone for 90 days consecutively, you must leave after 90 days and can’t return for another 90 days! That is critical because a lot of countries reset the clock if you leave. The Schengen Zone doesn’t!

I have a spreadsheet on my computer where I keep track of when I’m in the Schengen Zone, which countries I visit, and for how long. 180 days prior from today was September 10, 2015. Since then, I’ve been in the Schengen Zone for 30 days total. As long as I’m not in the Schengen Zone for more than 90 days in the previous 180 days, then I’m fine! Remember, the 90 days in a 180-day period don’t necessarily have to be consecutive, but they are cumulative.

Here is a GREAT calculator to figure out how much time you have left in the Schengen Zone as well as your 90-day period and 180-day period: Schengen Zone Calculator

What about Ireland and the United Kingdom?

Ireland and the United Kingdom opted out of the Schengen Zone meaning that the 90 days in a 180-day period don’t pertain to them. You can stay in Ireland for 90 days in a 180-day period and the United Kingdom for 180 days in a 360-day period.

Schengen Visa Rules via Wayfaring With WagnerHow does the process work in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania?

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania are all in the process of joining the Schengen Zone (rumor is Croatia could join as early as summer 2016). However, because they aren’t part of the Schengen Zone yet, they don’t have to abide by the 90 days in a 180-day period. Each of the four countries has their own visa policy and Americans can stay in each of the countries (individually) for 90 days in a 180-day period.

How long does my passport need to be valid?

The Schengen Zone requires your passport to be valid 3 months past your departure date from the Schengen Zone. So if you plan on spending 1 month in the Schengen Zone, your passport needs to be valid for at least 4 months when arriving in the Schengen Zone (1 month + 3 additional months). I always recommend having a passport that is valid for at least 6 months! Check each individual country though because some are stricter than others.

Schengen Visa Rules via Wayfaring With Wagner

What happens if I overstay my 90 days in the Schengen Zone?

This is a tricky question because it really varies. First off, the easiest way to avoid this issue is to NOT OVERSTAY THE 90 DAYS! However, if you do overstay the 90 days, I would suggest leaving from a country like Greece or Spain which is much more lenient with the 90 days in a 180-day period. Scandinavian countries and Germany are notoriously strict about enforcing the 90 days in a 180-day period. If you are caught violating the Schengen tourist visa, you could be fined or banned from entering the Schengen Zone for a certain period of time.

Short-term and long-term Schengen Visas (and implications)

I only bring this up because of an issue I faced when my long-term Schengen visa expired May 2015. When I started my master’s program in Germany, I was granted a 18-month Schengen visa. Under the German system, this is considered a “long-term” visa. To be honest, I’m not sure what qualifies as a long-term visa in terms of time length (I think it is anything more than 6 or 9 months but it might not be considered “long-term” until a year…this is important to note!).

After my visa expired, I was living in Croatia (but had not been outside of the Schengen Zone for more than the 180-days required) and wanted to visit Vienna. Some websites said that if you had a long-term visa (short-term visas don’t count!), once it expired you were then granted the additional 90 days in a 180-day period (as a tourist visa). Other websites said this was not allowed. From everything I’ve read, this is allowed as long as you leave the Schengen Zone before your long-term visa expires and then return on the tourist visa (this could mean even leaving just for a day). When you return on the tourist visa, it resets you to day 1 of the 90 days permitted. However, the rules are very vague and vary from Schengen country to Schengen country. I ended up canceling my Vienna trip because I just wasn’t sure and didn’t want to be in violation of any visa laws. My friend faced a similar issue when her long-term visa expired and she wanted to travel to Greece!

If anyone has any clarification, it would be much appreciated!

Schengen Visa Rules via Wayfaring With Wagner

How do I outsmart the 90-day rule?

Besides getting a long-term visa or overstaying your visa, there really isn’t a way to get around the 90 days in a 180-day period. However, you can outsmart the Schengen Zone by taking advantage of countries outside the Schengen Zone! For instance, after spending 90 days inside the Schengen Zone, why not spend 90 days in Croatia or Bulgaria before (legally) heading back into the Schengen Zone? You can also take advantage of the separate visa rules of Ireland, the United Kingdom, Romania, and Cyprus! Technically, you could continue doing this for the rest of your life to evade the Schengen visa laws.

Schengen Visa Rules via Wayfaring With Wagner

The Schengen Zone rules and regulations are quite complicated! This is not an all-encompassing guide but merely an overview to some of the more commonly asked questions. If you’re looking for more information about applying for a Schengen visa (because you don’t get the 90 tourist days automatically), please check out this post!

If you have an additional question or want more clarification, please comment below and I will get back to you (or refer you to the correct website)! Also, if you notice an error, please let me know! I know that the rules and regulations are constantly changing and I definitely don’t want to be distributing incorrect or outdated information :)

119 Comments

  1. I’ve read many places that the best way to maximize your time is to hop in and out of the Schengen if you’re planning on spending, say, 6 months in Europe. If only I had this problem to solve! ha!

  2. Oh how many hours I have researched into this stuff and it still confuses me! I as well was stumped on the issue of when my visa expires am I given 90 days on top of that to travel or not. I still have no idea about that one! Great guide Jordan!

    • Hi there! Sooo, maybe I’m just not smart enough to calculate this haha. But I entered Italy on October 18,2018 and I left on November 28,2018. How many days do I have left? And should I was considering coming back in March, any helpful tips would be awesome. Thank you so much for the help!

      • Hi Gabrielle! You were in the EU for 42 days so you still have 48 days left. However, remember that it is a rolling 90 days. You just have to go back your last 6 months…as long as you haven’t been in the EU for 90 days, you’ll be fine!

  3. Darn – I was hoping you had a solid answer after the long term visa expiration. We’re wondering the same thing. Our 2 year visa expires in July & and we’ve been wondering if we can re-enter as a tourist should we choose to stick around a bit. I’ll check back to see if anyone has any extra insight!

    • Jordan Reply

      Hey Jay! This might help you out: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/europe-western-europe/topics/can-i-travel-europe-after-my-long-stay-visa-expires From what I can tell, each Schengen country has their own interpretation of the law and most allow it as long as you leave the Schengen Zone before your visa expires (and then reenter as a tourist). I would suggest trying to contact the Norwegian Embassy in Canada to get clarification! You might also be able to contact the visa department in Norway (I know Germany had one) to get clarification! Hopefully this helps a bit :)

    • Hi there, just wondering if they count a full day in the zone if we have entered from Croatia and arrived at 6pm? Do they class this as a full day in the visa zone or is it counted as a day outside of the zone? Thanks in advance, Ryan

      • Hi Ryan – even if you’re in for 1 hour or 23 hours, it’s counted as 1 day. So if you arrive at 6 pm, that would be counted as day 1 of being in the Schengen Zone.

  4. I totally forgot that you’re not in the Schengen region anymore! It must be annoying to keep up with how many days you’ve spent where, but it seems like you have a good system going! :) I think Visas can be such a complicated hassle, but I guess we’re both pretty lucky to be citizens of countries that allow us relative easy entry in most countries – I know some people who have so called “third country passports” (like Vietnam or the Philippines) that make it incredibly difficult to travel to many places, especially the US and the Schengen area and I cannot imagine what it must be like to almost always have to apply for a visa beforehand and to always face the risk of being turned away. Anyway, great informative post – it may not pertain to me, but I’m sure it’s going to be super helpful for all your US readers! :)

  5. Suze - Luxury Columnist Reply

    I do find the Schengen zone quite complicated so it was good to read a round up of the rules!

    • Michael Pinela Reply

      Good morning, loved reading about the different scenarios. This is my situation, I have been living in France for the last 10 months on the long term Study visa and it expires in a few weeks. I was told that I must leave the Schengen zone for at least one day and then I can return for 90 days, is this true? Thank you

      • Hi Michael – every EU country is different in what they consider a short-term and long-term visa! For short-term visas, once they expire you must leave the Schengen zone for 90 days before returning. With a long-term visa, you automatically get 90 days to stay in the country after your visa expires. I know for Germany, a long-term visa is 12 months…so if that’s the same for France, then unfortunately you do need to leave for 90 days before returning! Hopefully this helps!

  6. Great read Jordan. As an almost permanent resident of Germany, this isn’t really an issue, but I can see from a student point of view how this could become really complicated. Also, I never thought about the complications of living in a border country to Schengen countries. That is so complicated! As always, you make the complicated readable and interesting.

  7. So, could you spend 90 days in say Italy and France and then go to Ireland and the UK for 90 days and be good to head back into Italy and France again? I think you explained it really well, but I’m still a little fuzzy on some things.

    • Jordan Reply

      Exactly! :) Are long as you are not in Schengen for more than 90 days in a 180-day period, you’re good (so in a broader perspective, only 6 months in a 12-month period through 3-month increments…so 3 months in, 3 months out, 3 months in, etc.). Can I answer any other questions for you? I know it gets super confusing!

      • No that’s super helpful! I’m a US citizen hoping to spend more time in Europe as I build my travel planning business. I have friends in Ireland and Switzerland and connections for the UK. I would love to spend a year in Europe but always struggled with the how. I think I now have it figured out!! Thanks :)

      • Nalini Marajh Reply

        Hi, so i am in bulgaria currently, but my flight is leaving when i am here for 92 days. What are my options? Thank you

      • My daughter is studying abroad in Belgium. She arrived in January 13 and is headed home on April 15. 2 days over. Would us benefit her at all that she left for 3 days to Ireland and returned? Will they give her a hard time for 2 days? Classes didn’t end until the 13th and couldn’t get a reasonable flight back until the 15th.

        • They could definitely give her a hard time which results in a fine and/or ban from the Schengen Zone. She should definitely go to Ireland or another non-Schengen country for 4-5 days. That way, if her flight is canceled or something, she has a bit of a buffer day wise!

  8. I should probably pay better attention to this than I have been. I know on our current visa we are only allowed to be in California for 45 days out of the year before something bad happens* but it never occurred to me to look into how much time we could spend in other EU countries during our two-year stint here in Ireland. I’m going to have to get someone in the legal department at my husband’s work to look into this for us because I’ve stared at several websites now and I’m more confused than ever! I’m beginning to think immigration rules are purposely tricky to catch people out. ;-)

    • Jordan Reply

      Hey Becky! I see that you are an American! Is your husband American as well? What is your visa situation like in Ireland (what kind do you have)? Hopefully I can help you :)

      • We’re here on a two-year work visa for my husband’s American company. I’m not entirely clear on the particulars but I know it’s one that doesn’t go toward citizenship. In looking into it further we think it probably won’t be an issue for us, we’ll just have to track it closely in case we go hog wild with European travel during the summer months. :)

  9. Just stopping by and poking around.. still loving the new blog face!! ;) When we started our trip (almost two years ago.. what?!!) we didn’t plan for visa until we were in. the. air. on our way to Europe! So dumb haha. But as a Swiss, I’d never needed a visa before and didn’t even think of it. Tyler on the other hand does not have that advantage soo he did have a panic moment when he realized we hadn’t thought of that. The solutions though, as you said, are so easy! We ended up doing the hop between mainland Europe and England/Ireland for about eight months of our travel year. It worked really well for us; we just had to keep an accurate count of the days we were back in the Schengen region. (I think we ended up pushing it to the last few days of our limit.) It’s the long term visa stuff that still has me stumped. Not sure what route we’d take if we wanted to relocate permanently!

  10. Hi, firstly, thanks for this post! It was very informative.

    Currently, I am in a bit of a predicament. So, I hold a US passport and entered germany feb 13 2017 – march 26 2017 (41 days). My 180 days is up aug 12 2017.

    I am looking to return to germany in June 23rd and use up my remaining days. To be safe I plan to leave for the UK aug 8 (by then i will have used up 87 days) and stay until aug 16th (therefore, past my original 180 days). If I try to return to germany on aug 16th, will I be granted a new 90 days?

    I’m sorry I know my question is a bit complicated but I’m trying to ask as many people as I can as i want to avoid breaking any rules.

    Jamie

    • I know this was forever ago that you asked this question, but did you ever find out the answer or test this theory? I’m coming up on my 90 days of visa stay, but it’s close to the end of my 180 day period and I want to know how long I REALLY need to leave the Schengen zone before I can re-enter. Many people say it’s 3 months, but that can’t be right….then it would be 90 days of 9 months time and that makes no sense.

      • Hi Sierra! Your time doesn’t reset to a new 90 days when you leave. You can only be in the Schengen Zone for 90 days within a 180-day period. If you count back 180 days and you’ve been in the Schengen Zone for more than 90 days, then you won’t be allowed back in and could potential face a fine/ban from the Schengen Zone! Does that make sense?

        • Thanks for the reply! I’m not planning to overstay my 90 days. My plan would be to leave the Zone after the 90 days and hope to return quickly after the 180 day period is reached. I’m trying to figure out how long after the 180 days is reached do I still need to stay out of the EU. Can I come back the following week and start another 90/180 day period?

          For my current 90 days I traveled a little in November, but went back to the US for a couple months and have been back in the EU closer to the end of the 180 day time. This is why I am getting confused and want to know how long I need to be out of the EU. I understand that I can only be in for 90/180 days but counting back 180 days will include the time I spend here in November. I have diligently been counting my days in the EU to not run over the 90 day rule, but it seems I will only have a couple weeks difference between my 90 days being completed and the end of the 180 days that started in November. My understanding is that the 90 days don’t have to be consecutive and I would only have to be out for 90 days if I had used up my entire time at the beginning of the 180 day period. Yes, I’m confused. Haha.

          • Hey Sierra! If you send me the dates when you were previously in the Schengen Zone and when you plan on going back (and for how long), I can figure it out for you! I know it gets so confusing :)

  11. Thank you for your information above. I too have the same question as Jamie in the pervious post. That is :
    When my 180 days is finished how soon can I return into a Schengen area? My country of preference is France. Is there a ‘waiting period’ or can I return after a few days?

  12. Hello! I love your blog layout! Great to see another blog updating people on this issue. I also write about Schengen visas. However, I just wanted to let you know that Greece is not the ideal country to leave from if someone has overstayed. Having lived there myself and witnessed many getting caught, they are more strict on their borders due to refugee influx and knowing that people ‘hang out’ in Greece and work under the table. Just a suggestion from my side!

    • Jordan Wagner Reply

      Yes definitely! Ideally (and as I mention in my post), I would NEVER recommend anyone ever overstaying their visa. While southern countries tend to let you get away with it a *bit* more, it always just depends on the border patrol officer you get. Thanks! :)

  13. Do I need to exit from same Schengen country that issued my visa originally and was my point of entry or can I exit from any schengen country?

    • Jordan Wagner Reply

      Hi BJ! It doesn’t matter where you enter or exit so you can exit from a different Schengen country than you entered. It is just most important that you don’t overstay! :)

  14. Hello!

    I start my long term Visa to France Sept/01/2017, however i would like to leave a week early as my partner has this time off for holiday. Do you think there will be any issues if i fly to London and spend a week there before my long term student visa starts on the 1st? I really don’t want to have any issues or jeopardize my visa. I am a Canadian citizen (not sure if that makes a difference.)

  15. Hi! I entered Sweden July 5,2017 and left July 11, 2017. And then I returned to Sweden August 14, 2017 until August 22, 2017. I am coming back in october, but this time, I’m staying as long as I can to maximize the 90/180. My question is, don’t I still have 74 days left for my next visit in October (which will mean I leave sweden in December). I also read where if a person stays 90 days, I have to wait another 90 days until I can come back? I am a us national. By the way, I really appreciate your article!

  16. Hello im an American citizen who traveled to Germany on a tourist visa and while i was their i tried to take a language course visa so as i applied they gave me an additional three months waiting period until i get a reply of i was given an extended visa. But unfortunately i was rejected and i returned to the US at the end of the waiting period visa . My question is do i have to wait 90 days to return or 180 days since i stayed six months not three months?

  17. Hi my daughter just had her work visa approved from the Czech Republic last week. She did a program called TEFL(teaching English) back in April. She first visited a friend for a week in England before heading to Prague for her training. She applied for her work visa on June 26th and then left for 4 days for Ireland before heading to the US. Long story short was her work visa only was approved September 4th taking longer than the 2 months she was told. 2 Weeks ago she was offered a job and an apartment if she arrived before September 1st. She accepted and flew back 2 weeks ago. She now has to fly to Brussels to get her work visa to work and live. She will be a few days over because of the visa delay. Would she be protected from deportation because she was in process? She was unable to get there last week due to training. Any advice? I am confused whether those U.K. and Ireland stays are counted in her 90 days? Thanks!

  18. Thomas Krob Reply

    Hello! My buddies and I are planning on backpacking in Europe starting in January and are worried about this 90 day limit. We’re planning on staying for 130 days approximately and were wondering if we’re able to stay in the Schengen area for, let’s say, 80 days, stay outside of it for 40 days, and then enter back for the remaining 10. If so, how would we go about that process?
    Thanks so much in advance, and for the informative article!

  19. I am studying in Austria and will be here for around 110 days. I am trying to avoid the expensive and tedious process of getting a visa. If i spend 20 days in somewhere out of the schengen zone like London, does this mean those 20 days will not count and they will only see the 90 days I spent in the schengen zone?

  20. I’ve done so much research and so confused by all the information, my 90 days are up and won’t be leaving France till Monday, which puts me, I believe 7 days overstayed, where could I find information about this? I know the french are pretty easy going. But a bit worried.

    • I overstayed by 25 days back in 2011. I was going to leave from Amsterdam but was told not to. I was advised France was a bit relaxed. So i flew out of Orly in Paris..not Charles de Gaulle (apparently more strict). No problem at all. Hope this helps.

  21. If a person is in schengen zone but for some reason have to come back to home country then is it possible to extend visa?
    Means it may be of exit from Europe for 2 to 3 days?

  22. I am overstaying my visa by 17days. Am I able to spend 3 weeks in England to “stop the clock” on my visa before continuing out.

    • I have a similar issue, can you let me know how things worked for you? Hope all went well!

  23. Hello,
    I just want a little clarification on the 90/180 rule. I spent 90 days in Italy (July 18-October 17). I want to go back as soon as I can. Do I need to wait 3 months (90 days) or 6 months (180 days) before I return?

    Thanks!

  24. Louise Penasse Reply

    My son has a tourist visa for 90 days. He is canadian. He went to Finland, then Germany and nice France. He is back in Canada. Now he has 7 days left on visa. What to do now if he wants to go back to Finland/

  25. A question please. Does staying in San Marino count as leaving the Schengen Area? I have a partner in Bologna and I have been doing the 90 days in and then 90 days out thing for the last year, but was wondering if I can stay in San Marino for 90 days and then enter back into Bologna, or the Schengen Zone? Thank you for any help you may offer! ~Charlie

  26. Hey there! I was looking for some clarification: Am I allowed to spend my 90 days in the Schengen zone, then go to Croatia for a week, then return to the Schengen zone for two more weeks?
    Thank you so much!

  27. Heather Young Reply

    Hi How are you?
    So I have a stressful situation. I am an American citizen, I am currently staying in Slovakia with my fiancé who is also American playing professional Hockey for the KHL here in Bratislava. I asked the team numerous times what I needed to do to get temp residency to stay here for the season. Until March 2018. I would be about 90 days past my 90 day allowance. They kept saying “she’s fine” well I am not. As my 90 days approach (December 25) I am still without answers…. I submitted for a background check to the FBI in August… they JUST now this past week sent it out…. So now it may be expired.
    Anyways while I try to submit for my permanent residency (if I can even get as a fiance) I can’t seem to get an answer as to this…. But I need to try to buy myself time….. I am confused as to where I can go. Obviously ball to America, and now after reading your post UK and Ireland ? And If I risk it and go over my 90 days do you think they will ban me from the EU? Or just charge a fine? And from Slovakia fly from Spain maybe…… or where else would be easier to maybe bypass strict immigration? I don’t want to even risk this because he will probably be playing over seas for MANY more years. I need some help because I am going to have a nervous breakdown over this and this is all going to be very expensive traveling around trying to avoid the 90 days.

  28. Tones Larsen Reply

    I’m pretty confident up I understand correctly but would like to make sure. Every site talks about doing 90 consecutive days. Say I started in Iceland for 10 days, then hit UK and Ireland for a month…then jumped back into Schengen zone in Spain…I should still have 80 days left, correct?

  29. Hi,
    First thank you for all your information on your site. It is very useful!
    Ok here is goes.
    I am an american citizen and have been in and out of schengen since 2011 90 days in and 90 days out.
    I am wondering since it is 90 days in a 180 day period….Can I do this….

    example:
    I entered Norway on November 20 of 2017, I am leaving on December 19th 2017 to the states
    30days in

    From Dec 19th 2017 to March 20th 2018 that keeps me out for 90 days

    I plan on reentering Norway on March 20th and stay until May 18th of 2018
    60days in
    Giving me a total of 90 days in and 90 days out within a 180 day period.

    My question is: After the 18th of May 2018 I plan to leave for like a week or so to the UK…Does my 180 restet if I reenter Norway or any schengen country on the 25th of May 2018? Will I have a new 90 days in schengen

    That

  30. Bryon Cronk Reply

    Great article, Thank you. I believe you have answered my question, but I have not seen it in print. I am going to Italy for two months April, but planned to return for three months in the fall. I was hoping the clock would reset if I was out of the Schengen for 90 days. This does not seem to be true and I must follow the 180 day rule. Disappointed, but that seems to be the rule.

  31. I thought we were complying with Schengen rules, but our interaction with the border agent at Gatwick is making me anxious. We were 76 days inside the Schengen zone and have now started our 92 days out. We’re planning on returning to the Schengen zone for another 79 days in April. Since we won’t be in the Schengen zone for more than 90 days in any span of 180 days, I thought we were fine. The immigration officer (and her supervisor) after detaining us for almost an hour, said that we might have trouble getting back into Italy in April. Are they right?

  32. Hi,

    I am currently an au pair in France and come from Australia.

    I have a 6 month visa issued, terminating in 29th July 2018.
    I however will be finishing my contract early (mid July) and will begin a contiki tour and further travel in Europe.
    I will be staying in Europe and returning to Australia at the end of August.

    I really hope you can help me and answer my question as it is extremely hard to find an answer about this.

    Do I have to extend my existing visa to allow me to continue travelling in Europe?
    OR
    Do I receive the 90 days free travel after the visa ends?
    OR
    After I exit the area I have been living and get a tourist passport stamp valid for 90 days is it all fine and I don’t have to do anything to change the visa?

    Please please help me!

    Thanks in advance!
    Meg

    • Hi Meg! This is actually a tricky question because it varies by Schengen country. In general, you only get the 90 additional tourist days after a long-term visa (which most countries categorize at 1 year or more). So in this case, after your visa expires, you would need to get the visa extended. Like I said, this can really vary by Schengen countries and what they consider a “long-term” visa (I know Germany is only allows the additional 90 days after a year-long visa or longer). Is there a way to talk to the local visa/immigration authorities? They’d probably be your best bet. Sorry I can’t be more of a help! Good luck and please let me know what they end up saying because I’m always trying to keep my information up-to-date! :)

  33. Hi Jordan,
    My parents intend visiting Italy(13 days), Austria(8 days), Switzerland(8 days) & France(5 days).

    From here they will go to UK(13 days),proceeding to Spain(7 days) before returning to India.

    I am confused as to the kind of visa they require. Will they need a single entry Schengen visa or a double Entry Schengen visa???

    Thanks
    Abhishek

  34. If I want to extend my 90 can in leave the Schengen country to Romania or UK for 1 week and return to the Schengen country? Or this doesn’t work?

  35. Hi Jordan, I need your help :( So glad I found your site!

    Gosh researching this issue is beyond stressful. Here’s my scenario.

    I have a 1 year multi-entry Schengen visa valid from 16/12/2017 to 15/12/2018. I have entered Sweden from 16/12/2017 to 05/01/2018 & 21/02/2018 to 07/03/2018.

    I have a few questions.

    1. Does my 180 days start the 16/12/2017 and if yes, does it end on the 13 June 2018? (180 days from first day of entry)

    2. If the answer is yes to question 1, I’ve then used 36 days of the 90 days allocated to me and I can re-enter Sweden (proposed future dates 22/05/2018 – 11th June 2018). I would then have used 57 days in the 180 day period and would need to leave the country.

    3. After the 11th of June 2018, can I go to Ireland for 1 week and re-enter Sweden for 90 consecutive days from 16 June to 11th September (88 days)?

    4. If yes to question 3, I would then need to leave Sweden for 90 days before I re-enter right?

    5. If the above calculation is wrong, does my visa then expire after my 90 days have been used up from 16/12/2017 – 15/12/2018? If yes, I’m guessing I would then need to re-apply for a new visa right?

    Really appreciate your help here. Thank you!

  36. Robert Arbeit Reply

    I enter France on January 1st and stay for 10 days. I then leave the Schengen Zone but return in April of that year and stay for an additional 80 days until my 90 days are up within the 180 day period. I leave France for a day or 2. Can I then re-enter and stay for 90 days?

    • I hace the same question. I stayed two days in France in April and then came to Spain in June. I’m leaving in September but would like to come back as soon as possible. I know that the technical 180 day period ends in October. Can I return to Spain for 3 months at the end of that 180 day period (in october) or do I have to wait a full 90 days to return?

  37. Karly Borden Reply

    Thanks so much for the great post! I’ve been looking for an answer to this question and was wondering if you could help: do we automatically get a Schengen Visa? I understand that its good for 90 days within a 180 day span, but we were wondering if that starts once we receive it or once we enter the Schengen country: We’ll be in Portugal for for two months (June, July), then we’ll be in a non-Schengen country for a month (August). Can we re-enter Portugal with a Schengen Visa for the next three months (September, October, November)? Feel free to point me in the right direction :)

  38. Hi there I’m curious as a resident in Italy (but not an EU citizen) can one travel to and fro from EU /Schengen countries without worrying about the 90day rule?

  39. I was just doing research on the Schengen and realized I won’t get to all my “must do” spots before 90 days is up! Just a good reason to hop over to Ireland and spend some quality time there!

  40. Thanks for such an informative post!

    I do have one question that has to do with re-entry to the Schengen region. For me, personally, I entered the Schengen in early May 2018, but only stayed for about 40 days before heading out to Ireland/back to the US. I know the 180 days is up in early November.

    But I’m itching to spend Europe in the fall! Do I have to leave the Schengen for 90 days in November, even though I wasn’t there for 90 days consecutively? Or will simply a short trip out to the UK be enough to reset my Schengen time?

    Thanks so much for your help!

  41. You seem insightful….and knowledgeable. My daughter has a student visa to being studying in Spain in September. She wanted to go backpack Europe this summer before school. Because she had no assurances when her student visa would arrive she got a second US passport and departed. Her visa has now arrived, and I will be meeting her soon in Italy to travel and will give it to her. We were told she would need to depart the Schengen region and re-enter….most likely via England to get her Visa stamped. Does this sound like the best plan? Do they actually do anything to the visa? It would be so much easier if she could just travel to Spain from Germany, but want to make sure there are no complications. How long should she stay in London. So she’s basically doing the reverse of what a lot of people do, most study and depart on a tourist visa after their student visa has expired. She is traveling on a tourist visa, but will then be on her student visa….just want to make sure we don’t run into any problems.

  42. “Ireland and the United Kingdom opted out of the Schengen Zone meaning that the 90 days in a 180-day period don’t pertain to them. You can stay in Ireland for 90 days in a 180-day period and the United Kingdom for 180 days in a 360-day period.”

    Thank you for an excellent and informative site. My problem is so complicated (and mind boggling) that I know you cannot help me but the above quoted paragraph might help alleviate my situation. The problem is I’m not sure I understand it. Do you mean Ireland (northern Ireland) or the Republic of Eire? My interpretation of that paragraph is that you are saying you could stay a total of 240 days between the two countries and still be in compliance. More importantly for my situation: If you came into Europe through the UK then spend more than 90 days on the continent and fly out of the UK within the 180 day period back to the US would you still be in compliance?

  43. Greetings!
    Holding a Schengen Visa1 issued by Germany – It expires on 19th August 2018. Have traveled before on this visa.
    Have a new Schengen visa2 issued by France – Valid from 20th August 2018 for two years. Not used yet.
    Question is : Can I travel to German by Visa1 before 19th August and stay in Germany and exit from Germany on 30th August using the Visa2?
    Please help with valuable information.
    Thanks in advance

  44. Charles Hyams Reply

    Back in 2012 I completed my 90 days in a Schengen Land on Sept 1st, and the 180 day Schengen Period for my travels ended on Sept 9th, 2012. Because a new Schengen Period commenced on Sept 10th, 2012 I was re-admitted for a subsequent visit.

    Succinctly, the Schengen rule then was that the 180 day period BEGAN on first entry to Schengen Land, and visits were legal for a total of 90 days within that period. Another 180 day Schengen Period began immediately after the end of a 180 day Schengen Period.

    Now the rule appears to be that a visit is legal if no more than 90 visit days have occurred during 180 days back from the day of departure.

    My questions are, When did the changes occur? What notice was given and how was it given when the changes were made?

  45. Hayley Flemming Reply

    I’m Canadian and have overstayed my 90 Schengen Visa by quite some time now. I moved over here to teach English and hoped to have my Spanish NIE by now and still have not received it. I travel to Spain through the UK…my question is if I want to travel back home to Canada now and travel through the UK (Spain, UK, Canada) and the same route back, will I be caught for overstaying in Spain?

    Thanks!

    • Hi! I have a similar situation so please let me know how it went for you!

  46. can you email me the reply

    i was in europe a few schw countries starting early july

    i left late august with 37 days left in the first 90 day period
    QUESTION

    1 Is it that i have to be OUT of the Schw countries for 90 days in between the next second 90 day period

    OR

    2 is it that i have 180 days total in any calendar year, In other words in a 360 day period…can i stay 180 days any time Without a 90 day period Out of the Schw countries In Between? Yes or NO

    i am eager to return asap

    i am looking into a longer stay Visa

    3 Additional question

    What is your experience with longer stay visa
    For Example, if i am an independent researcher, ??? Do i need university association???

    Can i qualify for a longer stay visa, even though it is more like a self sufficient sabbatical type situation?

    or what about a creative person…writer or artist

    can they get a long Stay visa permit in countries like Germany holland or switz?

  47. Hello!

    You say “Some websites said that if you had a long-term visa (short-term visas don’t count!), once it expired you were then granted the additional 90 days in a 180-day period (as a tourist visa). Other websites said this was not allowed. From everything I’ve read, this is allowed as long as you leave the Schengen Zone before your long-term visa expires and then return on the tourist visa (this could mean even leaving just for a day). When you return on the tourist visa, it resets you to day 1 of the 90 days permitted.”

    This is exactly the information I’ve been searching for as my German Au Pair visa is expiring soon but I do not want to leave Hamburg. So based on this I could plan a quick trip to say London the day before my visa is set to expire and return a few days later as a tourist for 90 days?

    My head is spinning trying to get these answers!! HAHA

    Thanks for any help

    – A confused American gal

  48. Schengen visa rules are one of the toughest I have ever seen it has so strict rules that nobody could ever easily get one visa for the country, I found this article very much interesting thanks for the Post.

  49. Hi! I hope you or one of your readers can provide information for me. I’m an American living in Italy with a work visa that expires 11/2019. However, I will be leaving this job in mid January. Do I have until the end of the work visa to find another job in Italy or only 90 days from my final day on the job? Can I travel to other Schengen countries during that time? Also, what if I travel by train and they don’t stamp my passport? That happened this Summer when I was in Austria and Germany.

    I can see you’ve been swamped with questions, many are quite similar. I haven’t seen any like this. I hope you’ll have the answers for me!

    THanks so much!

    • Hi Monica! In this case, I think it really depends on the laws of Italy. In Germany (where I live), once you leave a job, your work visa is no longer valid. However, I don’t know if the government gets notified immediately or if you have a bit of wiggle room. I know that in Germany, they are quite strict and seem to know everything. Depending on the length of your work visa, you will either get and additional 90 days once you leave your job (under the normal tourist visa) or you will have to leave immediately (if you were on a short-term contract…either less than 6 or 12 months!). You should be totally fine traveling to other Schengen countries. However, do note that due to the refugee crisis, some countries have temporary reinstated passport country. I know this happens in some places in Austria, Denmark, Sweden, etc. Even though they are Schengen countries, they’ve received special permission to reinstate border control. If you got stopped there and they noticed, you could get in a lot of trouble!

  50. Thanks for the valuable information I always wanted to know more about this type of visa, I don’t get some countries to have a lot of restrictions to enter while some are visa-free. anyways keep posting such informative article

  51. I traveled to London and when trying to get on the plane to Paris they wouldn’t let me board due to the Schengen Agreement since my passport expires a little over 1 month. Anyway around this to still go since it’s only supposed to be 6 days there?

    • Hi Chris – unfortunately, they are correct. Regardless of how long you plan to stay in Paris, you passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the length of stay.

    • Hi PL – thanks for letting me know but I already mention in the article that the days don’t have to be consecutive. The EU changed this law 10+ years ago.

  52. Hi

    I was hoping you can please assist my wife and I.

    Both my wife and i are travelling to europe in march 2019 as tourists and are both Australian citizens.

    We have researched the 90/180 schengen zone stay.

    Our understanding is for example we can stay in the schengen zone for 90 days (ie. March 1st till May 30th) max within a 180 day period (ie. March 1st to Aug 28th).

    Once we stay the 90 days we have to leave the schengen zone and cannot re enter until after Aug 28th, is this correct ? ( Ie re-enter on september 1st and can then stay another 90 days in the schengen zone?

    Another way to ask my question is can we stay 90 days in schengen zone, leave to uk for 90 days then come back to schengen zone for 90 days ?

    Kind regards
    Gunesh

    • Hi Gunesh – you can absolutely stay 90 days in the Schengen Zone, leave for the UK for 90 days (not in Schengen!), and then come back from 90 days :)

  53. Hi! One question if you don’t mind, you have so many of them! I’m American and I was in the Schenegen zone August 7th, 2018- September 7, 18. Then again September 25th until October 19th, 2018, a total of 54 days all together. I plan on returning February 8th to Norway. Now, is that a part of 180 days or because there was a three and a half month gap do I restart the days?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Rachel – you’re totally correct! Because you’ve been out for more than 90 days, you can go into Schengen on February 8th and will need to leave again by either May 9th or 10th!

  54. Hello

    Very nice information.
    I wanted to ask u some thing: I overstayed for 53 days and I left but without being fined since my husband is working on my residency.
    My question is after 90/180 I have to finish the 53 days so I can go back to Europe?

    • The first time I enterred was 27 August to Denmark then I left on the 2 November and came back on th 7th of November and stayed till 20 of January.
      While leaving the country I was told that I broke my visa for 53 days.
      My question is when I can go back to Europe?

      Thank you so much

  55. Thanks for the valuable information I always wanted to know more about this type of visa, I don’t get some countries to have a lot of restrictions to enter while some are visa-free. anyways keep posting such informative article

  56. Thanks for this information with us I always wanted to know more about this type of visa, I got some countries to have a lot of restrictions to enter while some are visa-free. anyways keep posting such informative article.

  57. Hiya,

    Thanks for this thorough and clearly-explained post. You did not mention the exception Poland has for US citizens. I am currently in Poland where US citizens can stay for 90 days, exit, then reenter for another 90 days. Exiting resets the 90 day period. However, you must exit all of Schengen, then return to Poland and Poland only. This has worked for me twice now. I am not terribly interested in visiting the rest of Schengen (I have traveled a bit before), but I know I will want to at some point. Would you happen to know anything about this? Specifically, whether I would have to leave Poland for 90 or 180 days before being permitted to learn how to make burrata in Puglia, see flamenco in Seville, or go island hopping in the Aegean?

    Thank you again and great job explaining the 90/180 rule.

  58. If I am interning at a university in Germany and my flights are day 1 in and day 91 out (both in Germany) BUT I am planning to go to Albania for 4 – 5 at some point, will I be ok within the boundaries of the 90 day rule?

    • You’ll be okay because you would have only been in the Schengen Zone for 85 or 86 days (Albania doesn’t count towards the Schengen Zone!)

  59. Hello! Thank you for this article. I am an American and studied abroad in Rome, Italy last year. I was on a National Type D Visa(it is considered long term because it’s more than 90 days) that expired in June. I stayed over the summer to travel and left in July. So I stayed past my visa by one month. I was told my study abroad program that our visa allows for 90 days of free travel after the visa expires. Yet, when I was exiting the Schengen area through Germany after my stay, the customs officer told me that what I had done was wrong. He said I was supposed to leave the Schengen area, but he let me go. My question is will I have a hard time being let in Italy the next time I go as a tourist? I love Italy and I am worried that I won’t be let in. I have my round trip flight for my next trip. So I’m not going in with a one-way flight and I am also staying less than 90 days. Thank you!

    • Hi Diana! That’s a tricky situation. To be honest, I’m inclined to say that you’re going to be fine, especially because you’re entering and exiting through Italy. Plus, I don’t know if the German officials actually were 100% correct. Like you said, you had a long-term visa. In most cases (at least with my German visa), if you have a long-term visa for over a year, you automatically get the 90 tourist days once your visa expires. If you’re still worried, you could always contact an Italian Consulate. However, if the German authorities let you go with no fine or ban, then I don’t see you having a problem returning!

  60. Bryan Caldwell Reply

    Hi. I am a U.S. citizen. Before visiting Portugal and Spain I checked the U.S. government travel site and saw that no visa was required for stays of less than 90 days in either country. I spent 30 days in Portugal and then went on to Spain where I am now, and will have spent 30 days when I leave for London in just over one week. I was unaware of the Schengen 90/180 day requirement and in Nov.-Dec. of last year I spent some time in France which will put me 18 days over the limit with I leave Spain for London. I’m not sure what to do. I’ve already exceeded the limit. I know that the UK is not a Schengen country but my biggest fear is being denied entry to the UK when I leave Spain. I have with me documentation of a return flight to the U.S. six weeks after entering the UK, proof of substantial (pension) income, pre-paid non-refundable lodging reservations in the UK, proof of additional financial resources, and proof that I have my own healthcare insurance. I’ve been a frequent visitor in the past to the UK and never overstayed. What are the chances the UK will deny me entry? Thanks

    • Hi Bryan – you’ll be totally fine getting into the UK. They aren’t Schengen and don’t care what you did/didn’t do in Schengen because they have their own immigration/visa requirements. You’ll be fine, don’t worry! The only issue you could have is actually leaving the Schengen Zone. If they find out you overstayed, they could fine you and/or ban you from entering the Schengen Zone for a certain period of time. However, if you overstay, I always say it is better to leave for Greece, Italy, or Spain rather than a Northern European country (they’re stricter about enforcing Schengen). Because you’re leaving from Spain, I’m inclined to say you’ll be okay. Obviously can’t say for sure but crossing my fingers for you!

  61. I have a 5 year Schengen Travel Ban issued by Norway.

    I want to travel to Belgium for 3 days due to a family emergency meeting.

    My wife is from Poland, and her parents are currently living in Brussels.
    I am from Albania and I have UK residence.

    Please can you help me?

    • Hi Arber – I so wish I was able to help you. Unfortunately, I wrote this post based on my own knowledge and am not connected at all to immigration authorities. I would suggest contacting the Belgium embassy. They might be able to help. Best of luck!

  62. I’ve actually over-stayed my tourist visa before without knowing it! I arrived in Barcelona on June 8th, and I left from Paris on August 27th. I didn’t get any kind of trouble regarding my overstay

    • Hi! You actually didn’t overstay your visa ;) Under the Schengen rules, you’re entitled to 90 days and you were under the 90 days!

  63. Hello! I feel pretty confident with all the specific rules after reading over everything. Can anyone confirm, so I could go to Italy for 90 days, then go to Ireland for 90 days, and then go to London for 180 days?

  64. Zolo Davidson Reply

    Hello there,

    I am planing to go to Austria to visit my girlfirend from 10th of august 2019, to October 19th 2019. so Once my trip is over , when can i go back to the shengen state again ?
    im still so confused with this time period stuff.

  65. Hello, I’m a U.S. citizen and i took a trip to Portugal to visit a friend this April. I arrived in Portugal on April 5th and I returned to the U.S. on April 11th. Would I be able to return to Portugal to visit this friend for two weeks again this July? I’m confused because I thought that the day I arrived began a 90 day period in which I can come and go, which would end on July 3rd I believe, however, this article makes it sound like I can come and go as many times as i want within a 180 day period as long as all of the days I spend there don’t add up to over 90. Should I plan on taking this trip this July or will I be denied entry?

    • Hi Lucas! You can totally take the trip in July :) As stated in the article, you can come and go as many times as you would like within a 180-day period as long as all the days don’t add up to over 90 days. So you’re totally fine!

      • oh ok! thank you so much! so after that 180 day period, is it all reset? or do i have to wait a period of time before returning after those 180 days are up?

        • It is on a rolling 180-day basis. So the easiest way to calculate is to count back 180 days from the current day. If you haven’t been in more than 90 days in the last 180 days, you’re fine :) it isn’t a fixed 180 days!

  66. Hi, Do you know if it is possible to continuously do 2 months in and 2 months out? Let’s just say you were going between France and Ukraine for example. So France 60 days, Ukraine 60 days, France 60 days — now if you look back from any point while you are in France the second time you have kept within the 90/180 day limit within the past 180 days but you would be staying a month after your first 90/180. A

  67. Hi! I was only given 30 day stay period for my Schengen visa even though I stated on my application that I’m staying for 45 days. Someone from the consulate told me I have to go out of Schengen zone and reenter again as I have multiple entries. Do you think I can fly to Monaco since its not part of Schengen area?

  68. Could it be that the laws changed? I have just returned from a trip outside Europe and both on my way out and in I asked the officers stamping my passport about the 90-day rule (I hold a US passport, flew out from Berlin and in into Frankfurt): Both officers told me that the 90-day count will reset when I enter. In fact, the officer when I entered through Frankfurt told me that I could even drive to Poland and come in and it will reset and I can do this for as long as I want!

  69. Thanks a lot for the brief guidance on Schengen zone, I was very confused about the same. Thanks for the detailed guide.

  70. Thanks for the wonderful post. I have a question – I am a US citizen. I have never been to Europe before. I go to Italy for 10 days in August 2019 and then come back to the US. Then, in end of September 2019 I am planning to go to Greece for 10 days and then returning to the US. Do you think that will be ok (regarding the 90/180 rule) or do I need to apply for a visa when I go to Greece since I am re entering a Schengen Country?

  71. Hi, I have a US passport. I visit my family in Germany every year but was only from 1-3 months on a tourist visa in past years.

    But from this year 2019, I will stay in Germany for 4 months June 4th to September 29th. I have been staying in Germany for 57 days so far. My 90 days tourist visa will expire on September 1st. I have been thinking of extend my tourist visa by traveling to a country that is not in EU and not schengen country in order to avoid spending 100 Euro for an extension visa fee. I would rather spend that money on traveling somewhere on a weekend trip in August then return to Germany.

    Will that reset my tourist visa to enter Germany?

    If it does not work that way, I will apply for an extension of tourist visa for another 90 days on Friday of August 30th that will be 88 days.

    Your reply and advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  72. My 90 days has expired and I’m leaving the zone but need to return in 5 weeks to pick up my cat. I’ll only be in the Schengen Zone for 4 days. Does anyone know if this will be an issue?

  73. Hello! Im a schengen visa holder. Its valid until June 2020
    I entered The Netherlands on July 22 , 2019 and I left on August 13,2019 back to Philippines. , How many days do I have left? And Im planning to book a flight for September 2019 ,would i have any problem in immigration of The Netherlands? any helpful tips would be awesome. Thank you so much for the help!

    • Hi Gladys – if you return in September, you still have 67 days! This is provided that your visa allows you re-entry. Make sure to double-check the specifics of your visa! :)

  74. Hey there, thanks for this awesome post. This past year I studied in Italy for about 6 months on an official professional/studio visa. That visa officially ended May 15th of 2019, and then after I went to Spain for three weeks. I traveled there and then left the Schengen zone back to the US through Portugal on June 5th without any problems. My question is, will I have any issues going back to the Schengen zone in a week (September 23rd!)? The way I see it is that since I had a legit study visa I’ve technically only used up 22 days of my allowable 90 tourist days and that I should be okay to stay there another 68 days. Does that seem right? Or does my allowable 90 days only exist within a 180 day limit? Meaning that if I came to Schengen next week I could only stay until I reached the 180th day (this would be 180 days past May 15th, which would be November 11th). Thanks!

  75. Alejandro Yanes Castellanos Reply

    Hello, I have a question, I have a single entry schengen visa, and im going on a cruise that goes from italy, to Monaco, to france and then to spain, am i going to have trouble since my visa is single entry and monaco it is not technically part of the schendren area?

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