My wife and I are recently retired U.S. citizens who want to travel around the Euro countries for about 6 months. Sadly, we just learned that we can only get a 3 month visa during any 6 month period. We can, however get a 6 month visa for the UK. If we go to the UK first and enter with a 6 month UK visa, can we then travel around EURO countries departing from london with that visa, or upon arriving from London to Madrid, even possessing the UK visa, will the Spanish authorities stamp our passports with the restrictive 3 months visa or let us in with the UK visa?
Frankly, you should be taking advice from your government's website.
The UK and EU signatories to the Schengen agreement are different entities.
You are allowed ninety days total in one hundred and eighty visa free in the Schengen area. On entry to any country you should have your passport stamped, if not offered, and whenever you exit the country. If there are no border controls you should maintain and retain travel records.
I would not be relying on contributors to this or any other forum for correct advice and I include myself for this subject.
[ Edit: Edited on 25-Mar-2012, at 08:04 by WomBatt ]
There are more than 40 countries in Europe. Several have come together and formed an area commonly called Schengen. With a US passport you don't need a visa to enter Schengen and you are alllowed to stay there for 90 days out of 180, as said in post#2.
The Uk and Ireland are not part of Schengen. Here you can get a visa for up to six months on arrival, but how much you actually get is up to the immigration officer.
Several countries in the East of Europe are not -yet-part of Schengen. Here you have to check the visa regulations for US citizens individually.
So with careful planning it is entirely possible to spend more than six months in Europe.