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Europe for 1 Year.. Do i need Schengen Visa????

Travel Forums Europe Europe for 1 Year.. Do i need Schengen Visa????

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31. Posted by jart (Budding Member 2 posts) 10y

Just an update on post #30, I did the right thing and talked to the visa folks in France. They were great, with a little extra paperwork everything will be fine. Now I can remain in France, stress-free.

32. Posted by mauidude (Budding Member 2 posts) 10y

There is some really good info on this thread.

I am a US citizen and have been travelling back and forth between Europe, Asia, and the US for the past 10 years. I have regularly overstayed my time of 90 days in Europe. I usually stay for 4-5 months. The travel by highway and train between European countries is very easy. On the highways in the EU, almost all of the border crossings are not checking passports any longer. On the trains, it is common for police or military police to board the train and check passports when crossing borders, so be prepared.

I think one of the posters is correct that the computers will probably catch up with people like us one day, but they are much more concerned about illegal immigrants coming in to the country than they are US citizens leaving. With the recent addition of some Eastern European countries to the EU last year and more being added next year, there is alot of concern among the locals, and authorities, about too many immigrants, so I think that immigration problem will be keeping authorities quite busy. Just to give you an idea, I just saw a news article recently which said that 400,000 Polish immigrants had applied for work in the UK, last year. I know, it's not a Schengen country, but the other EU countires are experiencing the same kind of immigration problems.

It has only been the past year or so that my passport is getting stamped when I arrive and depart from Paris (every time the last 5 times to Charles de Gaulle), before there was no stamp. However, my passport has always been scanned when arriving and departing all non EU arrivals and departures. All evidence that I have seen points to the Schengen countries getting more organized, and strict, with regard to visa requirements, but you are more likely to run into trouble if you have an Eastern European passport. Many times I have flown in to Frankfurt and out of Paris and had no problems when overstaying by several months. I have also seen news reports about how some countries, namely the UK and the Netherlands are getting much more strict about immigration and identification of travellers, even to the point of using facial recognition software in the airports, trainstations, and even in the streets. I generally avoid flying into those countries if possible, and take the train, or car, or ferry.

I am a property owner here in Europe, living on a very modest savings, so I cannot meet the requirements for long-term visas. So, I stay here without getting a visa. As previously stated in the thread, US citizens are not required to obtain tourist visas for stays of less than 90 days.

This trip I am here for 9 months so I am a little more concerned, but I basically just plan to play stupid and say that I have been travelling around and have not stayed in any one country for more than 90 days, if I run into any problems. My experience with the French so far has been that if you play dumb and are really bad at the language, they generally don't want to have anything to do with you, and will just wave you on.

I am not a burden on any country's economy, and I'm not taking any jobs from anyone, AND, I pay taxes and buy goods while I am here, so hopefully it will not be a problem. I have been contemplating visiting my brother in London who will be there on a business trip next month, but have decided against it since I have already been here for 4 months, and a weekend trip to London isn't worth the risk of me running into immigration problems.

I can understand some European traveller's resentment for US citizens overstaying their visas or alloted time when the penalty for overstay in the US is not being allowed back into the country. To that I can only repeat that I'm not a burden to any locals and actually contribute to the local economy. And frankly, I don't really like being in the US as much as I like being in Europe, nor do I particularly care for current US policies for that matter. I'm not anti-American, it's just not my favorite place to be at this time. I have a friend who is basically the identical kind of situation, and she plans to do the same thing and just play dumb and hope to not be banned from the schengen countries in the future. From past experience I would say the worst thing one could do would be to go to the authorities and confess to breaking the law. In that case, they are oblidged to take action, while the guy in the passport booth at the airport is much less likely to stop you when there is a line of 50 other people waiting behind you.

In general, I am a law abiding person, but it is difficult for me to live here in Europe without breaking some immigration rules. So I cross my fingers and act like a dumb American. Like I said, they usually don't want to bother with you if you are just stupid, it's another story altogether if one is being arrogant.

Happy and safe travels to all!

33. Posted by frprovis (Budding Member 3 posts) 10y

Like I said, they usually don't want to bother with you if you are just stupid, it's another story altogether if one is being arrogant.

This is a very good point. I've read certain people, who are otherwise quite sensible, suggest that you will be given special treatment if you are obviously rich. That is quite misleading, especially in Europe or the other non-corrupt countries.

Put yourself in a policeman's shoes. Like most people, policeman place a very high value on the opinion of their peers, and also the opinion of the general public. What do people respect in a policeman? Things like courage, honesty, intelligence, the ability to spot crime and criminals where an ordinary person would never notice anything amiss, etc. All policeman desire respect, even in the most corrupt countries. If a policeman in a corrupt country sticks his neck out and arrests an arrogant big shot, then yes, the policeman will perhaps be punished later and the arrogant big shot will get off free. But at the same time, the policeman gains the respect of his peers. Even the supervisor who punishes him will secretly respect him, especially if the big shot was really arrogant. In non-corrupt countries, which means most of Europe, punishment for enforcing the law is not an issue. Bottom line, you definitely don't want to be in a position where a policeman gains the respect of his peers by arresting or otherwise hassling you. Same thing applies to all persons in a position of authority.

And what do policeman despise in their peers? Things like cowardice, dishonesty, stupidity, incompetence, etc. Police especially disliked being thought of as another Barney Fife (a bumbling policeman on an American television show who shot himself in the foot and thereafter wasn't allowed to keep any bullets in his gun). Arresting people for trivial crimes is a good way to make the other policeman laugh at you and call you Barney Fife. Also, failing to arrest arrogant big shots because you are afraid of the consequence is a good way to make the other policeman despise you as a coward.

Obviously, you have to look at the big picture. If the word from on high comes down and says there is to be strict enforcement of the Schengen rules, the police have no choice but to obey the rules. What will happen is that they will unofficially arrange to have a quota of hapless tourists for each policemann to bust. This is probably what is happening in Greece now. But the police certainly don't like this sort of thing, because it doesn't earn them the respect either of their fellow policeman or the public at large. The way to get respect is by arresting drug traffickers and terrorists and mafia types and violent criminal, and so that is what they naturally prefer. Where there is no quota, the police will overlook petty infractions by people who behave politely and humbly, because they don't want to get the reputation among their fellow policeman of being a Barney Fife type. Of course, sometimes the policeman you run into IS a Barney Fife clone, and what a pain in the ass those types can be (unless you're a real criminal, in which case great, you pay the fine for jay-walking but nothing happens about the people you robbed or murdered).

One other thing. The simplest way to avoid these Schengen problems for American long-term travelers is to spend a couple months in Turkey or the Arabic countries in between stints of time in the Schengen area. That is probably what I will be doing in the future. If you enter Europe in one country (say Greece), leave Europe several months later via another country (say Italy) for Morroco (French is widely spoken there, so you don't have to learn Arabic), and then spend at least a month outside Europe, and then re-enter Europe through a different country (say Spain) and finally leave Europe through yet another country (say France), then you will probably beat the system, even if you are technically in violation of the 90 days in 180 days rule, unless there are computers checking everything and the Europeans decide, for whatever reason, to really crack down on American long-term tourists, perhaps a tit-for-tat thing because the American government is cracking down on European long-term tourists. I'm hoping that eventually the United States government will realize that tourism is a good way to fix the trade deficit and hence will relax its rules a bit in the future, and thus the Europeans will relax theirs as well.

[ Edit: Edited on Dec 12, 2006, at 2:44 PM by frprovis ]

34. Posted by bdell555 (Budding Member 2 posts) 10y

For persons whose nationality require getting a Schengen visa pasted into their visa before arrival, the expiry date should be printed right on it and passport control will look for it so I don't recommend overstaying.

But for countries like the US for which there is a visa waiver, while there is that rule saying max 90 days in an 180 day period, for practical purposes this not enforced.

For example, after the long term Swedish resident permit in my Canadian passport expired last year on June 18, I was stamped into Austria by train from the Czech Republic on June 21 and there is no record I left the Schengen area until I was stamped out of Italy on Sept 3 for the UK. I then was stamped back in by the Germans from the UK on Oct 6, so that when the Swedes stamped me out again (for Hungary) on Oct 26, I was over the 90 day limit but there were no issues. More importantly, when I flew back to Copenhagen 48 hours later, the Danes didn't blink an eye. Neither did they, or the Portuguese, raise any issues when I flew from Copenhagen to Lisbon the day after that. Exiting Portugal for the UK a week later was not an issue either.

I would even disagree with those who say "eventually the computer will catch up with you". If some computer automatically calculated your time in a jurisdiction basen on when your passport was swiped in and out, passport control officers could surely just call that up. The one time passport control made a half-hearted attempt to figure out my time in country, it was at a UK airport and she did it by looking at my stamps. But the biggest reason I doubt there is a routinely consulted database is because the stamps, or even the passport swipes, are not determinative. For example, during that June 21 to Sept 3 period, I entered and exited Slovenia by Italian rail and I got no stamps for any part of either crossing. The officers on the train just looked at my passport and handed it right back to me without stamping or swiping.

Note also that if I ever were to have a problem, I could say in all honesty that I had gone to Slovenia, and the my exit and re-entry into the Schengen area was not recorded (in fact I was only there for a couple days, but the point is that the Schengen land borders are not all controlled and you could have also been driven across or perhaps took a bus/ferry).

35. Posted by Cabronbr (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

Hello i came here to look on rule and the diference between the European union and teh Schengen visa but i came across soem posts about Greece and i wanted to contribute to the issue. Since i have just been fined in Greece i an quite sure i can give an accurate contribution. I have a brazilain passport by the way...

The Schengen rules are beeing enforced quite scritly on Greece i belive due to the influx of Albanian emigrants and the current overstay by turist in general i have traveled to Greece in February this year(2006) and when leaving to Israel i realised i had overstayed a mere 3 days and they put me aside in the passport control after checking my passport i got fined in 600 euros since i couldnt affort the fine and even if i did i would try no to pay cause i belive its a rip of... (i have overstayed in Thailand, Taiwan and Korean and never been rip of that much maximum 100USD or so but that was due to a period of 2 weeks to a month of ovestay) 3 mesel days i trully have forgoten about.
I tried playing the dumb card but it didnt work at all
I asked the Greek customs offical what would happen if i didnt have the money to pay the fine he explained to me (in quite a nice way i must ad considering how rude greeks and airport people can be) that i would have to pay the fine or i would no be alowed to enter Greece fro the next 5 years! I asked if i could enter other european countries and he said yes but no greece until i had passed the 5 years or paid the fine...
SO DO NOT OVERSTAY IN GREECE CAUSE THEY REALLY CHECK AND THEY DONT FORGIVE...

In fact i returned to europe flying to Viena and i had no problems at all. After that i went o Germany in fligth thru Zurich were they didnt stamped me at all so i got a stamp out of Austria and into Germany wich i didnt quite understand.

Now i have a question if anyone could help i would apreciate...

Is there a diference between europe visas and Schegen visa? If so wich one?
For exemple i just left Germany to Poland by bus to visit my girlfriend and they stamped me out of Germany and into Poland. Since poland is not Schengen yet does the time i stay in Poland count as time in Europe? Brazilian citizens are alowed to stay for 90 days for tourism in europe will i have problems when i take my next bus to Italy? Would Flying to italy help in any way?:)

PS i think for the people trying to avoid probles is that france is the place they woudl less likely to give you problems on your way out after and overstay

36. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

Europe = Continent

European Union = general agreement to form a confederation of states and to work together on all aspects of political, environmental, social, etc issues by the states who signed the treaty

Schengen treaty = one of many different treaties designed to fasten the ties between the member states of the EU, its aim is to unify the rules for visas. It was intended that all member states of the EU should join, but some refused (the UK) or are not sure yet about joining. Yet at the same time non-members of the EU (Switzerland for example) joined the Schengen treaty for practical reasons.

Ergo: In terms of who is a member, the EU and Schengen treaty have nothing to do with each other. They are two different children, two siblings sprung from the European idea.

37. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

Quoting frprovis

you will probably beat the system, even if you are technically in violation of the 90 days in 180 days rule, unless there are computers checking everything

Since the "computers checking everything" issue here has come up before, I would like to adress this here.

Such a central computer system checking all incoming and outgoing non-EU passengers is indeed part of the Schengen treaty. All full members of the Schengen treaty must have the hardware to acess it and the laws permitting its use. The problem is implementing the system all across Europe. First there is the cost of hardware and second there are the technical problems due to the sheer mass of data the software needs to process. (Third there is the speed at which big administrative systems move and the legal issues around budgeting etc. but that is another story.)

What is currently up and running is a database of stolen or lost EU passports and a list of people formally banned from entering member countries, mostly from countries whose citizens need visa to the European countries anyway. People from this list should not be issued visa or residency permits for full member Schengen countries, yet in practise this is up to the individual country's discretion.

To give an example: Germany kann ban Maria from Mexico from entering Germany and formally forbid her to ever come to Germany again. They will then register her as "non-desirable person" in the database. Yet if the Spanish give Maria a residency permit despite her being registered as "non-desirable person", Maria can enter Germany via Spain again, as Germany has an open border with Spain. It is not legal for Maria to do so and she should really hope she does not get caught, but there is nothing the Germans can do about her Spanish residency permit.

There are plans to exend this system to ultimatively track all movements of non-member state's citizens in and out of the Schengen area. This will include "positive state citizens", ie people from USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, etc. who do not need a visa and are only subjected to passport checks at the border right now. But currently the system is not yet able to handle the masses of data nor are the legal issues over data-protection, financing, acess and data storage resolved.

Until then, what is done is checking the passport of "positive state citizens" for overstay when they leave and fine them on the spot. This is done with more or less diligence, depending upon the country's policies, legal framework and the individual border officials zeal.

Hope I helped.

38. Posted by Cabronbr (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

Europe = Continent

European Union = general agreement to form a confederation of states and to work together on all aspects of political, environmental, social, etc issues by the states who signed the treaty

Schengen treaty = one of many different treaties designed to fasten the ties between the member states of the EU, its aim is to unify the rules for visas. It was intended that all member states of the EU should join, but some refused (the UK) or are not sure yet about joining. Yet at the same time non-members of the EU (Switzerland for example) joined the Schengen treaty for practical reasons.

Ergo: In terms of who is a member, the EU and Schengen treaty have nothing to do with each other. They are two different children, two siblings sprung from the European idea.

Thanks T_maia

That much i knew i gues i should have made my question diferently...
For example as i brazilian i can stay 90 days in Europeans countries this includes poland for example but poland its not a full member or schengen yet therfore when i crossed the border by bus from germany they stamped my passport but that (according to the guy at the brazilian embassy) still counts as Europe and they stamped hte passport as a normal formality of customs.

so at my earlier question i iamed on this difeence anyone knows about the agreements between the countries in the european union and brazil when it comes to overstay?

39. Posted by chjacques (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

I understand that if one travels outside the EU during the 90 out of 180 days, the days outside the EU do not count towards your visa stay (I am from the US). My question, then, is whether the customs agents will hassle you when you arrive if your return ticket is from an EU country at a date more than 90 days after your arrival. I plan on traveling to Slovenia and maybe Croatia from the Czech Republic. Will I be able to just tell the customs agents that I won't overstay my visa, and they'll just take my word for it? Please let me know, I'm leaving on Thursday.

40. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

Which country are you flying into?

This thread is about the Schengen visa, and like I wrote before EU and Schengen are two seperate entities.

You might be writing in the wrong thread, as the Czech Republic will not become a full Schengen member until Jan 2008. So please write more about your travel plans.

BTW, you can easily prove your travel plans by showing any tickets you might have bought online or hostel reservations you might have made online.

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