90 days limit question. Have I overstayed it?
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Nov 6, 2012 2:17 AM Last Post By: Aribo
Nov 3, 2012 9:33 PM
90 days limit question. Have I overstayed it?Hi,
I’m a Canadian who arrived in the Eurozone (Austria, Hungary and now Slovakia) June 6th.
Last year, I was advised that if I get a „passport stamp” for leaving the country before my 90 days is up, then it re-extends my stay for another 90 days.
Meaning, the Canadian Embassay in Hungary told me that as long as I get a stamp for having left the country every 90 days... I’m fine.
However... I don’t think this is accurate. So here what happened:
I arrived June 6th.
I entered into Romania mid August (Romanian borders still check and stamp passports).
And I came back from Romania August 26th (which again gave me another stamp).
IF the theory is right... that all I need is any sort of stamp, then I have until November 26th before I’m overstayed.
Recently, I have found out about 90/180 days and according to it, I have overstayed my 90 days already by more than a month.
So, am I already overstayed? Meaning did that Romania stamp accomplish nothing? How does this rule practically work?
Furthermore, if I’m overstayed (or if someone overstays)... what are the penalties? What I understand is they aren’t permitted re-entry into a Eurozone country for 6 months. Is this true? Is there a way around it? Some sort of documents, proof, paperwork, fees paid etc?
Thank you in advance for all your answers.
Nov 4, 2012 1:52 AM
1The Eurozone refers to the countries that use the euro (the currency) and has nothing to do with visas. I suppose you are talking about the Schengen Area.
As a Canadian citizen, you are allowed to stay 90 days per 180-day period in this area. Of the countries you mention here, Romania is the only non-Schengen country.
Leaving the Schengen Area and returning immediately doesn not start a new 90 day period; there is some confusion about how to calculate the 90-out-of-180-day thing, but to err on the safe side, assume that if you calculate backwards from today, you've overstayed if you were in the Schengen Area for over 90 days.
Possible consequences of overstaying are:
- none at all, or just a verbal warning
- a fine, which can range from a few hundred euros to over €1000
- a ban from the Schengen Area for x years; having such a stamp in your passport can also make it harder to get into other, non-Schengen EU countries such as the UK
- being held for questioning at the airport long enough to miss your flight (so leave more time than usual to clear immigration)
- being uninsured
Speak to your embassy again and ask them for help.
Edited by: Aribo
Nov 4, 2012 3:08 AM
2As said, while the precise computation can be unclear in close cases, in your case you've clearly exceeded your 90-day stay.
Do a web search to see what other travellers in this situation have done, bearing in mind that someone's experience just a week ago, much less a year ago, may not reflect the situation today.
Note the discussion in that forum about extending your stay in some countries beyond 90 days. This is not an extension of the Schengen period, but an extension to stay only in the one country that grants you the extension. How this would work in your case with an overstay I do not know, and it would probably vary a lot by country, but it is something you should at least look into.
Nov 5, 2012 6:12 PM
3Thank you, Aribo. That's what I was the most afraid of. What would be your advice for me now? Should I leave Schengen right now? What do you mean by being uninsured as a penalty? I already contacted Canadian Embassy, but really concerned with this situation because I was planning to spend plenty of time in Hungary next year.
Nov 5, 2012 6:14 PM
Nov 6, 2012 2:17 AM
5LanaDan, much as I'd like to help you, I can't give you any advice that will guarantee you a hassle- free exit out of the Schengen Area. Being an EU citizen myself, the 90/180 day restriction doesn't apply to me, and I've never had to deal with the Canadian embassy in Hungary either, so all I can give is second-hand info.
What I can tell you is based on countless reports I've seen on this forum, and even then there's a lot of conflicting information around. Problem with the Schengen rules is that a) they leave some room for different interpretations and b) there seems to be a certain randomness involved in how the rules are enforced. As a consequence, some travellers say they've overstayed for weeks without any consequences, while others got a heavy fine for a mere three-day overstay; it's often suggested some countries are more lenient when dealing with overstayers than others, but the one or two reports I've seen about Hungary indicate that that country - like many other relatively new EU members - tends to be strict.
I can also not give you any clear-cut answer to the question of how you can get yourself out of this situation with minimum consequences, but what I would consider is:
- contact your embassy and explain the situation; even though the embassy won't bail you out if you are remotely responsible for the trouble you're in, they should be able to direct you to the right Hungarian authority
- contact Hungarian immigration services and ask if there's any way to extend your time in their country. Travellers have reported that some countries granted them a one-month extension, although I couldn't tell if Hungary offers that option too. There is, however, a considerable risk involved given that you are already in the country illegally as we speak: chances are you'll be escorted straight to the airport and are put on the first plane back to Canada. As an alternative, if you know a local you think you can trust, you can ask that person to make a call on your behalf, leaving out any details that may disclose your identity, and see what he's told
- book the first flight out of the Schengen Area and bite the bullet; make sure you get to the airport early enough, just in case immigration detains you for questioning and to sort out what to do with you, and be prepared to receive a fine and/or ban from the Schengen Area. Perhaps it helps if you act the ignorant and apologetic tourist or perhaps you're lucky enough to have your passport checked by a sleepy or bored immigration officer who lets you through without a word
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