Skip Navigation

Questions about Visas and borders in Europe

Travel Forums Europe Questions about Visas and borders in Europe

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

Hi everyone.

I was wondering if someone here could help me with some questions I have about an upcoming trip.
I have both an American and Israeli passport, I live in Israel.

I'm planning on traveling throughout some countries in Europe for three months (I understand 90 days are the limit unfortunately), mainly doing stuff through and (helping out in places for accommodation and meals). What I want to do is arrive in one country, stay there for two or three weeks, then go on to another country, and so on, until my 90 days are done and I go home.

So I have a few questions:

1) I understand that the UK/Ireland aren't a part of the Schengen Agreement. Does that mean that if I start my travels in France, and after 90 days of staying in the Schengen Agreement countries, I go to the UK - can I stay there for an additional two/three weeks? Or must my time in England be included in the 90 days even though they're not strictly in the agreement?

2) I understand that some countries have strict border rules. Doing a trip like this means I can't simply order a two-way ticket to the first country I'm visiting, because I can't be sure exactly when I want to leave. I may decide to continue to another country after two weeks, or after three weeks - depending on where I am and how much fun it is over there, etc. So what I thought I'd do was buy a one-way ticket for my first country, and then go on depending on how things go. But I read in several places that some countries may make trouble about the whole one-way ticket thing (especially the UK from what I've read) - and they want proof that you're leaving their country in some specific date.. if that's true then must I buy some second plain/train ticket even though I don't want to be restricted by a specific date? I understand these tickets are many times difficult to cancel and get a refund. What would you guys suggest?

3) Referring to my last question, after I already enter the first country in Europe - how are movements between countries? I guess the cheap options are train rides or EasyJet flights. Is there a big difference between the two (for example - if I take a train into another country I guess there are no border checkups on my way, but if I go by plane - I must show the visa I got from the first country I entered right?)? Is it different for instance if I'm travelling from Italy to France, or if I'm going from France to the UK (which isn't in the Schengen Agreement)?

If anyone had patience for all of this - thanks a lot, and I'd appreciate any kind of answer, information, suggestions, etc.


2. Posted by travelersdigest (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

The Schengen Area is compromised of 25 states who have all agreed to uniform visa standards. The period of stay in this area is 90 days within any six-month period, as to prevent someone from leaving and returning immediately to receive another 90 day period. However this may or may not be rigidly enforced. Once you are in the Schengen Area travel is free and without borders, including air travel. Equivalent to domestic travel within the United States.

If you are concerned with the return ticket requirement, you can try purchasing a bus ticket or other small cost purchase like a ferry ticket. England is more rigorous about this requirement than most other countries in Europe.

Now on to England. The United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen Area, which means that you can spend 90 days in Europe and then go to the UK and get a full term there. For American citizens this is 6 months visa free for tourists. Ireland is 90 for American citizens and this is also not tied to your stay in Schengen or the UK.

I hope this answers at least some of your questions.

- Dakota, a writer for Travelers Digest who has lived in Europe

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

Hi Dakota, thanks a lot for your reply. Il'l indeed make sure to have some kind of cheap return ticket. And knowing that the 90 days in the Schengen area are not related to staying in the UK or Ireland is also great to know.
Thanks again.

Can I also ask what you think about the whole "working for accommodation" thing? I hear it's a huge grey area which is technically not allowed on a tourist visa. The thing is that it's not work for payment, no money is exchanged. You simple help out a few hours a day, and are given a room to stay in. Some say it's totally illegal, while others say it's fine..

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Nov-2011, at 01:00 by Crumbs ]

4. Posted by travelersdigest (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Ok I've also read that Americans entering the UK from Ireland are only allowed to stay three months. So if you need a full six months there you should be sure to plan accordingly.

As for the working, unpaid work is usually still classified as work, that being said some Schengen countries allow work during the 90 day stay. U.S. citizens can work in the following countries: Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Germany, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

While Israeli citizens can also work in France and every other country that Americans can except for Romania. For the other countries you will be travelling in, it's probably best not to mention your plans to immigration officials.

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

Wow that info is great.. I don't think there's really any way of finding out my plans (unless as you say I mention them to border control), but I thought that no country allows any kind of work whatsoever.
Can you please tell me where you got that info? If I can legally work as a US citizen / Israeli citizen in the countries you mentioned - I'd try to plan my travels through more of those countries instead of some I had planned. I tried searching but the tourist visas say things only about staying 90 days - nothing about work.
Thanks a lot!

6. Posted by travelersdigest (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

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

Thank you very much.. that's great news.