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Creative Shengen (Spain)/UK/Morocco advice

Travel Forums Europe Creative Shengen (Spain)/UK/Morocco advice

1. Posted by e_la (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!


I am a U.S. citizen, planning on a 6 month (maybe longer) stay in Europe, beginning in April 2011. From other posts, I think understand the 90/180 rule with the Shengen visa; also, from my understanding, I can stay as a visitor in the UK for up to 180 days in a 12 month period. I plan to spend most of my 90 days in Spain, making excursions UK and Morocco to stretch out the time. In trying to make the best plan, I have some questions:

1) Is it best to fly into London first or is it better to start my time in a Shengen country (Spain in my case)? Or does it matter? I ask because I'm wondering if the UK operates the same way as the Shengen countries; that is, the 'clock' starts upon entry, then stops upon exit, restarts upon re-entry (eg. 10 days in London, leave and then have 170 days left on my visitor visa).

2) Is it necessary to have a return ticket to the States at the onset? I am planning on a 6 month period, but I am not sure whether I want to fly back to the U.S. in 6 months. Ideally, I'd like to have some flexibility to decide the return date and departure city closer to the time I actually want to come back. I don't want to make my life difficult by raising eyebrows, but I'd like to keep my return plans open.

3) From what I've read, Morocco has a similar 90 day visa for U.S. citizens. Is traveling between Morocco and Spain fairly straight-forward with a U.S. passport?

4) Finally, I'm not planning on working as I am conducting research for a book (hence a desire for flexibility). Does anybody know anything about artist or journalist visas for Spain? I've been looking into them, but thought somebody might have some advice on that.

Any advice on how people have creatively worked out how to maximize visas would be appreciated! Any any advice on Morocco would be fabulous, as I have never been to North Africa.

!Thanks so much!

2. Posted by wildeside (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,

I just can help you with the 3rd question. You don't need a visa to get in Morocco as US citizen. So, you shouldn't find any difficulty to travel there. I'm Spanish but I met few americans when travelling in Morocco from Europe and nobody mentioned any problem.

I hope it helps

3. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

1) Depends what you are trying to achieve. AFAIK UK doesn't have a "clock". It is 180 days upon entry.

2) I very strongly recommend it. You might want to shop around for a ticket where you can change the date of the return ticket for a small fee (say 50 USD). You'll have difficulty changing the departure city though. I would fly in and out of London or in and out of Madrid. London would probably the most flexible, there are a bunch of budget airlines connecting London to the rest of Europe and North Africa.

4. Posted by e_la (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

@ wildeside: Thanks for the helpful link!

@t_maia: I see your point about my first question. From your answer I gather that if I were to fly into London on April 1st, for example, I'd have until the last week of September until my tourist time expires --- regardless of whether I exit the UK or not.

Whereas with the Schengen, it's not based on a fixed date of entry, but a maximum amount of days within the participating countries (the 90 in 180 rule). If I flew into Madrid on April 1st, then went to London on June 1st, say, I'd have 180 days from THAT date (giving me until the end of November approximately). In that case, I would have used about 60 days of my Schengen, assuming I stayed in Spain that whole time.

Looks like I'll have to be dutiful in planning my itinerary. l will take your advice on finding a flexible round trip ticket.

Thank you both! :-)