90/180-day rule for holders of a Schengen Visa

This post is also available in: Norwegian Bokmål Danish Finnish Swedish Estonian Latvian Lithuanian Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French German Japanese Polish Russian Spanish Hungarian Ukrainian Dutch Italian

For anyone looking to process immigration to Europe, the Schengen visa is that coveted gateway. After you process your visa and have the itinerary in place, it’s time to know more details about rules that apply in that part of the world. The best travellers of old told us that when you move to Rome, its only right that you do as Romans do. This old adage still holds true even in the Schengen area. One thing that stands out is that Schengen states allow EU citizens to travel within them without visa and to stay for as long as they want. However, if you are not an EEA national, you can travel without a visa but you can only stay for not longer than 90 days within a total period of 180 days. 

The rule asserts that non-EEA citizens cannot return to Schengen after staying for 90 days until another 90 days elapse. For instance, if you travel to France on 1st May and stay for 90 days (you leave on 30th October), you can only return in February. 

How to Count the 90 Days

The 90 days begin as soon as you land at the airport of the Schengen state you are travelling to. Therefore, the first day is the day you enter the country while the last day is the day you leave the country. However, this is different if you are travel by road. Travelling by road means the ninety days begin as soon as you enter the first Schengen state. 

According to EU’s latest recommendation, to better understand the rule, you should look back in time from your entry point. Thus, starting from day one you should view it as a moving period of 180 days. So, anytime you find yourself in a Schengen state, you should not have been there for more than 90 days within the last 180 days in the same place. 

Implications of the 90/180-day period rule for holders of a Schengen Visa

The major implication of this rule is that as long as you continuously stay away from Schengen for 90 days, you are allowed to stay in the country for 90 days. The best way to calculate these days is by using a short-stay calculator tool

The tool offers you two options; the control and planning options. The control option is mainly effective for checking if you are complying with the 90/180-day period rule. It allows you to keep track of your current and previous stays. 

The planning tool on the other hand, is effective for planning future visits. It allows you to determine the number of days you might be allowed to stay in the Schengen Area in the future. Select the most suitable option and then enter your former recent stays. Be sure to also include the dates of exit and entry in the format 00/00/00; for example, 21/05/22.

What happens if you stay Past the 90 Days? 

At the moment, there are no distinct penalties for overstaying in Schengen. The greatest risk to overstaying your visa is that you might never get a Schengen visa ever again. Similarly, depending on the country, you risk getting fined and deportation to your home country. 

Overstaying your visa could also be very inconveniencing in some cases. For instance, you could be asked to present your papers for any given reason. This includes when crossing from one country to another within the Schengen zone. Once the authorities notice that you have overstayed your visa, they will order you to leave the zone within 30 days.  

The good news however, is that in most countries there would be no additional penalties so long as you comply and leave within the ordered period. Be careful though because countries like France would reject any future applications for a carte de séjour to live in France.

Can You Extend your Schengen Visa? 

Extending a Schengen Visa can prove rather challenging since one requires a very valid reason. Some examples of cases where a visa would be extended include; 

  1. Force majeure.
  2. Humanitarian reasons.
  3. Serious personal reasons.

The embassy will require undisputable evidence that you cannot leave the country before you complete the said task. However, even with a strong reason, the chances of extending your Schengen visa after the 90 days have elapsed are close to zero. Thus, it is advisable to make your application before the visa expires to increase your chances. 

If you are in France, another option would be to apply for a visa de long séjour. A visa de long séjour though temporary, will enable you to stay in the country for another four to six months. However, you cannot renew the visa and you will therefore be forced to leave once it expires. 

You could also apply for a visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour (VLS-TS). Unlike the visa de long séjour, (VLS-TS) will extend your stay for a year. However, an applicant is expected to pay a fee of approximately €99 depending on your home-country.