An issue popped up and hit the overlanddiaries team yesterday and Rochelle (Auzzie Passport Holder) specially so I wanted to share with all you people out there.“How can you stay Legally in Europe for more than 90 days?”.
It’s a great question with a very complicated answer. I’ve always knew it to be difficult but until yesterday that I started researching on how to make it happen, I never knew how difficult. In the process of this research I’ve come to learn there are a few ways to stay in Europe longer than 90 days, they just aren’t well known.
First, it’s important to note that Europe isn’t one area, when people talk about the “90 day limit”, they are talking about restrictions on the Schengen Visa, which is the visa rule that governs 26 countries in Europe.
It includes all the European Union except Ireland and the United Kingdom as well as a few non-EU countries.
These countries have a border-free visa agreement that lets residents move throughout the zone without needing a passport. Residents of the UK and Ireland, while not Schengen, are still allowed limitless entry.
For non-Schengen citizens, you are allowed entry into the zone for 90 days within any 180 day period. These days don’t need to be consecutive – the total is cumulative. Once day 181 hits, the count resets itself.Your passport simply gets stamped upon your arrival and departure from Europe. You are allowed to enter and leave from any country you want. Once you are in, your 90 day counter starts.
Staying more than 90 days in the Schengen zone is not easy. If you do, you are subject to a fine and deportation. How that rule is enforced, though, varies greatly between one country and another. If you overstay by a few days or even a week, you’ll probably be OK. If you overstay longer, you might have problems.
– Luckily, you have one fabulous trick to keep you in the Schengen zone past 90 days. It is by far the best option out there.
All you need to do is enter Schengen zone and France via the Chunnel (train service) from England. England doesn’t issue exit stamps and France does not have entry stamps in the Chunnel. So technically there is never any proof of when you entered the Schengen zone. All you have is the entry stamp you got when you flew into England. Since England allows you to stay for 180 days and Schengen gives you 90 days, in theory you could stay in the Schengen zone for 270 days, telling the immigration officer you left England on the 180th day. There’s no proof youdidn’t do that. The reverse does not work,when you leave France, you will get an exit stamp and receive an entry stamp from England. Immigration officials can’t prove you were in the Schengen zone for more than 90 days, but they can’t disprove it either. If I were to use this trick I would consider buying a train ticket leaving England on day 180. That way you can have at least “some proof” you “took” the train.