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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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41. Posted by shellieb (Budding Member 5 posts) 9y

Can anyone tell if they stamp your passport when arriving into paris via Eurostar?

42. Posted by immunA (Budding Member 5 posts) 9y

Hello,

as everybody here I have also visa trouble ... to be more precise - I am a Romanian citizen and since January 2006 I live in Germany with my fiancee ... last summer we decided to get married but because he is US citizen I had to apply for K1 fiancee visa - we want to get married in US ... I have all the required papers except one - Police certificate from the German Authorities ... my fiancee calling the US Embassy here in Germany found out that I have to be registered in order to be given such a important paper. My biggest problem is that I overstayed my visa and I am affraid now to go and register, I am affraid I might get deported even though I am EU citizen. The woman at the US Embassy in DE told my finacee that I have nothing to fear as long as I tell the truth about the fact that I did not know the rules and that I have to register myself to the local authorities. We had no idea till the woman told us .... All I knew when I came to Germany to live with my finacee was that as long as I am not a liability of any kind to the German authorities i have no problems. Seems I was misinformed about how things work. My K1 visa was approved and the US Embassy is waiting my last paper for the US fiancee visa interview.

Will I get in big trouble when I go register to the local authorities - will I get deported even if I am 2 steps away from the K1 visa interview and marriage to a US citizen in his country?

Please, guide me so I make the wright decision and I have the chance to attend my upcoming K1 visa interview.

Thank You!

43. Posted by immunA (Budding Member 5 posts) 9y

Concerning my previous post on this matter: despite what some of the people on this forum had told me about getting registered. (Which was bad information and was not accurate.) Everything went great I hope everything goes good for the rest of you people out there.

44. Posted by knorthcutt (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

I am a Student studying in Spain for the year and arrived here in August. My original student visa was for 180 days with multiple entries. Since arriving in Spain I have been outside the Schengen territory only twice, London for four days in October and Czech Republic for 3 days in January. I am an American citizen with an American passport and my visa expired Feb. 9 and I am not scheduled to leave until May 24th. The local authorities here in Spain said there would be no problem leaving, but since it will be more than 90 days until May 24th, I fear that when I land in London before connecting to my flight home, there could be problems. Does anyone have any experience with this, a finished visa, overstay, and then returning from Schengen country to London, before back to the States?

45. Posted by immunA (Budding Member 5 posts) 9y

Hello knorthcutt,

my advice for you would be to go to the American Embassy, tell them what your current situation is and ask them what your options are and how can they help you in order for you not to get in trouble anywhere on your way home.
Just go to the American Embassy.

I wish you good luck! :)

46. Posted by JaimeN (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

I have a similar problem as Knorthcutt. I am a US citizen and I originally intended to stay in Spain from September until December and I applied for a 180 day student visa, while here I decided to extend my stay for the second semester. I went home to the US for 1 month from December 22nd to January 22nd. Upon returning I was told I could get a residence card, but the Spanish government had changed the law that would allow me to get that. Now I am afraid that if I travel to other countries like France, Italy, Holland... etc when I come back to Spain I will get deported or some other horrible fate. I have been told I'll be fine if I stay in Spain the whole time, but that puts a really damper on my plans. I was also told by someone that the authorities in Europe unofficially view the US as almost like an extension of the EU and would rather not fill the paperwork out for deportation, especially when spending money in Europe, but I'm not quick to take someone's word on that though. I don't know what to do because there is so much of Europe I still haven't seen. Is there any other way someone knows of to extend a visa while in Europe. Its really too bad I didn't know about the law changing because I could have gone to the consulate back home while I was there for a month!

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 14, 2007, at 4:52 PM by JaimeN ]

47. Posted by mmi117 (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y

A similar situation that I need advice on:

From May 21st-May31st I will be travelling in Italy to visit my relatives, then from May 31st to August 25th I'll be living in Germany with my boyfriend (an American interning at a research institute in Leipzig)
What this amounts to is 97 days in the EU before I head back to the US...I'm flying in via Roma, then flying to Germany, then flying back to the USA via Germany. However, because I bought my ticket to Italy long before I knew I'd be in Germany all summer - I have a round trip flight booked which says I'll be leaving on May 31st. Does anyone think that I'll have problems in August when it's time to return after 97 days... or is this too risky? Will customs really care about those 7 days? (I will probably also leave Germany to visit Poland/Czech Republic/Hungary at some point this summer)
Thanks!

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

mmi117 this should be no problem i'm in europe all the time and never got any hassle if you want to be completelly safe just make sure that you stay 7 days or more in a country that does not belong to the european union but i think that they wont bother you for only 7 days unless if you leave europe thru Greece they dont fuck around dont overstay there cause they are just waiting to try to fine you. Other then that when you leave germany to Czech and hungary they will stamp you in and out of germany the same with poland so the mess of stamps should be enough they dont really care tat much for jsut a week just relax and enjoy your trip

49. Posted by gumby (Budding Member 6 posts) 9y

I've had a good bit of experience in these issues, traveled a lot in Europe, studied into this a lot, talked to a lot of unshady types about their experiences, etc. So I thought I'd share what I do know:

First, for the lowdown on what foreign entry requirements are, the best place I know of is http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/brochures/brochures_1229.html

It is fairly up to date, but you have to be careful because laws change all the time and if you travel a lot, sooner or later you may very likely be in violation. Rarely, though, do European nations do anything about U.S. citizens over-staying.

First, I recommend reading the info at the bottom of the above mentioned web site where it talks about what Schengen is. Then you might want to read the requirements for, say, Italy, Holland, and SPain. I mention these because note that Italy requires you to register your presence with the police within 8 days, if you intend to stay that long. You could be fined or something if you don't. Probably, it won't ever come up unless YOU do something dumb like go in and tell them you screwed up after a month or something, and they fine you. Either register within the 8 days, don't stay that long, or if you do stay longer and failed to register, just leave quietly. Italian jails are notoriously uncomfortable.

For Holland, it says long-term visitors must register within 30 days. By this they mean anyone staying over a 180 day period, however you do that. How do I know that? I called their embassy in LA and in NYC and both told me the same thing. You can learn a lot this way -- the real information, not the incorrect stuff you'll get on a lot of blogs.

While I'm on Holland. They've gotten strict about immigration and stuff. If you overstay, they will probably do nothing if you're American and play dumb. Just don't lie. They are all connected to a centralized computer system, and presumably it gets better all the time. Note that when checking into almost any hotel or hostel in Europe, your passport will be checked, and either at that moment or later, they (or you) will fill out a little 1/4 page sized form that goes to Europol. What is Europol?

They are the intelligence system for Europe, as opposed to Interpol, which is like their FBI. Europol cannot even arrest a person. But if they think a person is in violation, they can notify the police or Interpol in the country where they think that person may be and the local cops may go after him if he is considered undesireable. Probably, Europol isn't going to bother Interpol or the local cops about someone who may have overstayed unless he is undesireable (has a record they know about, and not just some DUI from 8 years ago), AND they have a good idea about where he is (they have the little forms from a hotel he's been staying at for months).

Recently, I met a guy at a hostel in Amsterdam. Over several days we partied a lot, and one night he had too much and told me he was a fugitive from the U.S. I thought he was just talking b.s. and, just playing around, said "I'm sorry you had to tell me that" and stood up and pulled out my wallet and just as I flipped it open as if to show him a badge, he freaked out, eyes widened in fear, and said, “Oh shit, not again!” To which I told him I was just kidding, he sighed heavily, then proceeded to tell me he had already been caught in France, deported, and returned by flying into Holland. It surprised me he had got back in. So their system is flawed, but not always.

He then told me that he was held in a shit jail in Paris two weeks before being put on a plane to NYC. At NYC, they told him he had a warrant out on him for drug possession and failure to appear (a felony drug possession, he said) in California, but just waived him thru after he said he’d take care of it. A cop friend of mine told me that states rarely hold someone for another state’s warrant unless it is for a violent felony.

About two weeks later, I was in another hostel in Amsterdam. About 10 am, the manager and some cops came into the 6 person dorm, and asked us all if we knew the kid who had been in bunk #whatever. We all said no, they checked our ID’s, then quickly left. I stayed there several weeks, and had occasion to ask the manager about it. He said the kid was a fugitive, didn’t say for what, and that he had stayed there before and the cops had asked him (the manager) to let them know if the kid came around their again, because he had a pattern of bouncing around the same hostels. They just missed the kid, by like twenty minutes.

I was in Holland for 88 days, with a few side-trips of several days to a few other Schengen nations. When I left, at Schipol airport in late 2006, I went thru passport control (Dutch guy working for the Dutch) and no problem. He scanned my passport, which is what usually happens, and I went on to the gate. I was boarding a plane to America. The Dutch guy at the gate, who worked for AMERICA, had a podium in front of him, which if you are flying into AMERICA is actually a flat panel display full of all kinds of info about you, supplied by AMERICA (and mostly acquired by The Department of Der Homeland! Insecurity from information sellers like Checkpoint Systems). They didn’t tell me what they knew, but at soon as the guy pulled me up on the “podium” he turned weird and started drilling me about why I changed my flight home (actually extended twice) and was had changed the ROUTE home to go thru NYC instead of Houston. I told him the truth – was having too much fun to leave, and when I extended, the via Houston route was what worked best for me at the time. He called his supervisor over, a little Dutch prick with short man syndrome, and he was a real shit. He asked me the same questions, asked me for my frequent flyer number (!) which I did not know by heart, asked me several questions (father’s name, my full address, a few others) and was clearly matching those with what was on the podium. Finally I was given a boarding pass, and the supervisor spent the next twenty minutes on a phone, at times glancing over at me. Incidentally, I am not Muslim and don’t look like anything but a typical clean cut American dude.

50. Posted by gumby (Budding Member 6 posts) 9y

continued from where last post left off:

When I got into America, the lines at passport control were long, as usual, and everyone was passed thru quickly after the passport scan. They scanned my, stuck my passport in an envelope, held it high in the air, and a Homeland Security blackshirt politely escorted me to a room full of chairs before a high counter staffed by three more blackshirts. I sat down and she handed them the folder with my passport. Twenty minutes later they called my name and handed me my passport and said “Have a nice day.” They gave me the little card to present to customs after writing some red cryptic symbol on it. NO ONE got pulled from that line for a search EXCEPT ME. They didn’t search my person, just my laptop bag, cursorily. Then I was waived on.

That is about the only “problem” I’ve ever had, except that when I recently entered the US on a flight from Switz, they did the exact same stuff. I got a bust for misdemeanor weed possession about twenty years ago. Maybe that is the reason for the extra searching.

As for the passport control thing, and the prickiness of the Dutch guys who worked for DHS – I think that was all about the flagging of unusual behavior, namely, re-scheduling, re-routing. A number of travelers have told me they were similarly scrutinized for paying for their flight with CASH instead of credit cards or whatever. I’ve also been a very vocal critic and blogged a lot about the Bush Admin and wonder about that.

Two years ago, I was in Schengen (Belgium), and decided to go to Switzerland, by train. Ended up chatting with a Swiss woman on the train, and we briefly discussed some of these traveling issues. She mentioned to me the Swiss had just voted to join Schengen, but that it had not went into effect yet, she was pretty sure. But I was unsure so when I got into Basel, I went ahead and checked in with the Swiss. Their was no one around but the two young Swiss guys in green uniforms (unlike their blue Army uniforms). They said, “No, you were right to check in. Officially, we’re not yet Schengen.” One scanned my passport, and while doing so the other guy brought out a friendly black Labrador who sniffed my bags and then they stamped my passport and waived me on. I said, “So then do I need to check out when I leave Switzerland?” They said no, not really. I asked what would have happened if I had not checked in and it was later noticed. They said nothing, so long as I hadn’t been a problem.

I once overstayed in Thailand about 10 days. They fined me like, $250 or so, then sent me on my way. Good thing – Thailand jails are supposedly some of the worst in the world, according to Amnesty Intl and a few people who have told me they learned the hard way.

In Poland, I stayed recently for about 5 weeks. When I left, they asked me, “Did you register with the police while you were here?” I think they randomly ask a person here and there that question, if they stay over a month or something. I said “Yes, I sure did.” Which was a lie I should not have told – should have played dumb probably. But they just waived me thru.

Once, recently I overstayed in Shengen by about a month. So I went to Bratislava, which was not Schengen just yet, via Vienna. No border check. I checked into a hostel a few days, did a few ATM withdrawals, kept the receipts. Then re-entered Schengen via Vienna (no border check again). Then took a train to Paris, and they told me I had overstayed and would be fined. I said, “But I was only in Schengen 87 days.” They said, no, it was about 125 days. I said I had went to Slovenia for 6 weeks. They asked me for receipts to prove it. I showed them the receipts I had kept. They asked for some going back further, I said I did not usually keep receipts and that was all I had. They waved me on, without a fine. THAT was risky knowing what I now know, because if they had a better computer system, or it was updated more often, or they had checked, they might have seen that my passport was scanned in Schengen in the past 6 weeks on trains, or would have known that I had stayed at hotels and hostels in Schengen in that time due to the little forms I mentioned before that the hotels fill out (or ask you to fill out).

One time about ten years ago, I flew into Paris. They were being kind of shitty with everyone, it seemed, probably due to the origin of the flight, which was Bulgaria. It is common to give those from Eastern Europe a hard time when they enter Schengen. The French guy asked me for my proof of funds, onward ticket, evidence of hotel reservations. I have NEVER been asked for ANY of that in any travel. But most of them CAN ask. Lots of folks did not have this and were being hassled or led away. He even asked for my proof of medical insurance. I had all that. Always do. He then asked me, “Have you ever been in bankruptcy?”. For fuck’s sake! Not paying your bills in France is a serious crime you go to prison for – no such thing as bankruptcy there. I knew not to say yes to that one, because I had studied their entry requirements. I was waived thru after he asked why I had been in Bulgaria (“tourism” was all I said).

In the past fifteen years, I have entered a Schengen country and went thru passport control about 50 times. Those are the only weird things that have happened. I have over-stayed a few times. I agree that the best thing is to just play dumb if you screw up, don’t speak the language well, say VERY little, sputter in ignorance, say “But I never stayed in one country over 90 days”, humbly, if they persist.

And that little “trick” I used to get receipts in Bratislava? Could work out for you, but what if they do have proof of scans of your passport or hotel stays when, according to you, you were outside Schengen? Lie and they catch you and I suspect you may be detained and not just fined. When those Dutch pricks interrogated me recently, they asked me what countries I had been in over the 88 days. I said, “Hmmm….Just here, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg.” They said, “Ahhh…and you fail to MENTION Switzerland and Germany!” I had honestly just forgot about the few days in Switz, and that I had PASSED THRU Germany on a train (where they will ALWAYS scan your passport with a handheld scanner that has a database inside it of ALL Interpol listed fugitives and stolen passports.)

Bottom line: Do your homework, don’t violate their laws, and NEVER lie. Too risky. If you do screw up, go tell the embassy you lost your passport and get another in hopes that the only way you’ll get tripped up is if the Schengen people actually look thru the stamps (very, very rare, though). But if they ask you why your passport is new (if they even know), or why no stamps in it, just say you lost yours and nothing else. If they ask you how long you stayed, be honest and say you were awaiting the new passport, and IF you didn’t stay in any one country longer than 90 days, say that, too. Play dumb. Do NOT challenge them, or be arrogant. Just play dumb and harmless. Be polite. And never, ever go thru Kuala Lumpur with any trace of drugs in your system. Especially if coming from Amsterdam. They randomly DRUG SCREEN travelers, mainly young people coming from Amsterdam, and if you turn up positive, mandatory 20 years. If they find a roach in your bad – mandatory DEATH PENALTY. Do your studying beforehand ;)

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