I am an American national who frequently visits Germany just with the tourist 90 days. I have been coming to Germany not only sightsee but to visit my German national boyfriend, now fiancé. I am a university student in the United States so I decided to come for my entire summer semester and booked a flight for 88 days. I came through Switzerland to Germany and was given quite a hard time because they thought that with my original fly back date I would be overstaying my 90 days out of 180 days. But the immigration officer after calculating my total visited time told me that I was fine for this visit, and that I did not need to change my flight back home to a sooner date. Being almost late for my next plane, I didn't ask a lot of questions... and all he told me is that I could get in a lot of trouble if I overstayed.
Lately I have been incredibly worried with the idea of overstaying, since it may cause problems later on when we try to marry. These are the dates that I have already visited Germany...
August 7th - August 16th 2010 10 days
November 24th - November 28th 2010 5 days
January 21st - Febuary 6th 2011 18 days
March 25th - April 3rd 2011 10 days
May 27th - August 22nd 2011 88 days
What I am most confused about is when the half year starts and stops. I was planning on coming back to Germany in December 2012...but I don't know if that is possible if I continue to stay until August 22nd.
I have been scouring the internet but a lot of sites seem to contradict one another. If someone could please help me, that would be greatly appreciated!
Firstly, I don't know why you are putting the dates for 2010. Totally irrelevant.
Okay, you are right about the 90/180 days. Basically, you are allowed to stay 90 days in Europe then you have to get out for 90 days before you can come back.
If you are leaving Europe on August 22, 90 days will take you to about November 19th. You will be eligible to come back to Europe (Schengen area) after that for 90 days. So, the short answer is, you are being paranoid and you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
What I am most confused about is when the half year starts and stops
The half year starts and stops on any given day. That is, within any possible 180 day period, you're only allowed to be within the Schengen area for 90 days. (That could be one day in, one day out, one day in, one day out all the way, or that could be one block of 90 days in, and one block of 90 days out.)
The 10 days in March/April 2011 do fall within a block of 180 days which also includes the 88 days from May 27th - August 22nd, and so that would be overstaying. I don't understand how the immigration official you talked to counted, but from everything I know, the original position that you'd be overstaying was correct.
So, by itself the visit in December should be absolutely fine (as morro said), but I don't know what happens if - when you leave on the 22nd - they determine that you've been overstaying. (There could be penalties not allowing you re-entry? (Really don't know; though the guide article only mentions fines.)) Probably your safest bet would be to go and spend 10 days (8 full days, plus two travel days) outside the Schengen area during the next month (take a trip to the UK or to Croatia), or to change your flight back home after all, leaving not later than the 14th of August.
[ Edit: Edited on 20-Jul-2011, at 13:15 by Sander ]
Why don't you get a calendar and circle all the dates you are in Europe. Just count 180 days starting when you entered Europe. Out of that 180 days, you cannot spend more than 90 days. Once you go over 180 days, you can start crossing out the days at the start.
You really need to work out a good system seeing you are constantly in and out of Germany. Can you get a more permanent visa or maybe even a working holiday visa or something?
Thanks so much for the responses, they are are much appreciated. I called an immigration hotline here and they said that your 180 days starts at your first entrance....and once those 180 days are up they don't start again until you re-enter. So I recounted...and I should be fine, but the 180 day period ends and restarts when I am in germany. So I don't know if that is a problem. If it is... that's a problem because it was 10 days ago.
Might be worth reading thesenotes.