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Can anyone help... Am I banned from Schengen??

Travel Forums Europe Can anyone help... Am I banned from Schengen??

1. Posted by soangelpie (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

Hello fellow travelers! I'm REALLY hoping someone can answer my question, because I haven't seen it addressed anywhere else yet... Here's my story:

In April I left for a 6 month backpacking trip through Europe. Instead of carefully researching the laws, I let my excitement take over my good judgment and found out the hard way, AFTER arriving in the Schengen region that, as a US citizen, I was only allowed to be there 90 days out of 180.

After many MANY phone calls and visits (in many countries) to embassies, consulates, foreign affairs offices, police, airports... No one was able to even direct me to someone who could help. Each and every person I spoke with told me, "I'm sorry we don't handle that here." I ran in circles, not wanting to overstay the limit and be fined.

Then I discovered that Gibraltar is British territory and I was able to spend time there with an acquaintance as to not overstay my limit after all! However, the border there was lax to say the least, and I had to actually request a stamp in my passport. I have just one saying my date of entry, but as I went in and out continuously no one paid any attention.

I returned last month to California, from the Helsinki airport. The passport officer questioned my timing and I explained how I had been in and out of Schengen. He asked about stamps, paperwork, any proof and I had none. I told him the situation and that I had been hitch-hiking/ridesharing and no one had ever asked me for any documentation, save when I specifically requested a stamp at the border.

He kindly did not fine me, (I presume because he only THOUGHT I had overstayed) but he did say to me, "I hope you don't plan on returning any time soon. Go home."

I'm sorry for the long explanation but ANnnYyyy info on the following would be so much appreciated!!!

HERE IS MY PROBLEM: I am seeing a guy in Switzerland who would like to fly me back to visit. I am also considering starting school there mid-year. I have no idea if the officer put any kind of ban on my passport for thinking I overstayed, or if I'm clear, and I would hate to get all the way to Europe and be denied entry. Neither my boyfriend nor I have much money and the price of a ticket would hurt if it were wasted.

WHO CAN I CONTACT to find out if I'm allowed back, or if I'm in some system that will show up when my passport is scanned?? After my exhausting attempts to discuss it with someone while I was in Europe I am completely unsure who can tell me, or if it's even possible to find out?? THANKS!!

2. Posted by amsel07 (Budding Member 55 posts) 5y

If you're going to study in Switzerland, you have to apply for a student visa. Star the process now, check with the Swiss consulate and they'll tell you if there is any ban.

3. Posted by soangelpie (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

I tried contacting the Swiss consulate but they didn't have an answer for me. I'm not 100% sure I will study there, but maybe if I contact the people in charge of the student Visa application process they will point me in the right direction? I'll try that. The more suggestions the better, Thanks!! :)

4. Posted by Visa_Machine (Budding Member 5 posts) 5y

Student visa application process will actually require a course pre-booked, otherwise you will be a tourist allowed to stay for 90 days, again.

'I had to actually request a stamp in my passport'

'He asked about stamps, paperwork, any proof and I had none. '

I am not sure how these two statements work together? Did you have a stamp or not?

5. Posted by soangelpie (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

I see. Alright.

As for the stamps: I had to request it, so I have ONE stamp that states my date of entry into Gibraltar. This proves I left Schengen, but not when I returned - coming and going apparently is not a big deal to the border control there. Because my passport is stamped leaving Helsinki, it is clear I re-entered the region, but the official unfortunately could not tell when. I didn't think that through. He couldn't (or wouldn't) take my word for it, but he also couldn't prove I overstayed.

Maybe someone knows, if I am offered a job in Switzerland am I allowed to travel on a work Visa even if it turns out I am currently banned?

I'd still like to know how to find out IF I'm banned... :-S Thanks!