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!!