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Schengen Visa Guide

How Is Overstaying in the Schengen Area Punished?

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How Is Overstaying in the Schengen Area Punished?

How Is Overstaying in the Schengen Area Punished? Schengen Visas are not easy to obtain. There are lots of documents you need to collect and requirements you must meet. You have to attend an interview and then wait for the visa to be processed. Once you receive the visa, it feels like everything was worth it.

Some people feel the 90-day period per six months is sufficient time to stay in the Schengen Zone. Others get visas that have shorter periods of stay, like five days or two weeks. However, many Schengen visa holders are tempted to stay longer once the visa expires, wondering repeatedly: What happens if I overstay in Europe?

The following things should be kept in mind if you’re tempted to do such a thing:

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First of all, you should be aware that overstaying a visa does not go unnoticed. The Schengen immigration authorities have a database for every person who enters or leaves, and for every overstay, even for a day.

It could be a fine, immediate deportation, or even being banned from entering the Schengen Zone for a specified period of time regardless of whether the overstay was intentional or unintentional.

Also, it does not matter whether you entered Schengen territory on a Schengen Visa or whether you are a national of a country to which a visa waiver has been granted. Overstaying 90 days per 180 days is not allowed, even if you belong to one of the latter. This does not apply whether you are overstaying a Schengen tourist visa or a student visa. You will get your visa overstaying penalty if you do such a thing.

Consequences of Overstaying in the Schengen Zone

In spite of the lack of a common overstaying penalty policy among Schengen Member States, each state applies its own type of penalty.

Therefore, the consequences of overstaying in the Schengen territory, whether it is your visa or the 90 days allowed for nationals of the countries under the visa-waiver program, depend a lot on the number of days you have overstayed and the country where you get caught. Known for applying very high fines to overstayers, Germany has the strictest immigration laws in the EU in this direction.

Each member state applies one of the following types of penalties for overstaying a Schengen visa or permitted stay.

Deportation

You will be totally deported to your home country when you get caught staying illegally in Europe. Your case and the country where you are caught will determine the deportation process. You may be deported immediately, within a few hours or after several days. A person who engages in paid activities while overstaying their visa, or engages in illegal activities, will most likely be taken into custody and await trial. Upon conviction, you will be jailed or fined a high amount of money. After completing the punishment, you will be deported to your home country and barred from entering Schengen for a certain period of time.

Deportation is always followed by another consequence. Usually, you will know about it in advance of being deported since you will receive your case’s decision. You might be able to leave without further penalties if you just overstayed for a few days, and you are lucky to be caught in a country that goes easy on overstayers.

See also  A list of European countries

Difficulties coming back to Schengen

Even if you get back to your home country without any fine or ban, you should know that your overstaying will cause you problems the next time you try to enter the Schengen Zone. Overstayers, regardless of where they were caught, are usually treated suspiciously by immigration officers and border guards. The EU external borders or getting a Schengen visa will therefore be difficult for you.

Fine

There are different penalties for overstaying a visa depending on the member state. Nevertheless, if you are caught after you have illegally stayed in the Schengen Area for a long time, you will not only be fined but you will also be banned from entering the Schengen Area for an extended period of time, or even permanently.

Ban

An individual can be banned from entering any of the Schengen area member states for a period of three years or more if they overstay and work or engage in other illegal activities.

No consequences

In some cases, people may not suffer any consequences for overstaying their visas, such as if they are a child or can’t travel without a caretaker due to an illness or disability. Alternatively, if you become ill or are in an accident that prevents you from traveling home, you may be advised to apply for a Schengen visa extension rather than overstay.

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How to Avoid Overstaying in Schengen

Many people unintentionally overstay their visas because they are unclear about how long they are permitted to remain in the Schengen Zone, or they have the wrong information. Therefore, you should always be aware of the period of time you are allowed to stay in a member state to avoid accidentally overstaying it. Just because you stayed after your visa expired without realizing it, you won’t be charged with any penalties. Make sure to check the following in order to prevent such a thing from happening:

90/180 Schengen Visa Rule

Many people misunderstand this rule, which, in fact, is quite easy. You will be affected by this rule if you are in Europe without a visa because you are from a visa-exempt country or entered on a multiple-entry visa for more than six months. If you have been in Europe for more than 90 days within the last six months, count the last 180 days. Even if you enter Schengen territory just before midnight, your first day is counted as day 1, while your last day is counted as the day you leave.

Schengen Visa Duration of Stay & Validity

It is common for people to overstay because they mistake Visa Validity and Duration of Stay as the same thing. A visa validity is the date from which the holder is allowed to enter the Schengen Area, and the duration of stay is how long he or she may remain there. Visa stickers affixed to passports of travelers permitted to enter the Schengen Zone provide details about the validity and duration of their visas.

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Conclusion

Schengen Area can have severe consequences, including fines, deportation, and bans from re-entry. The strict enforcement by Schengen Member States necessitates a clear understanding of visa rules, validity, and duration of stay. Avoiding unintentional overstays requires adherence to the 90/180 Schengen Visa Rule and distinguishing between visa validity and duration of stay. It is crucial to stay informed and comply with regulations to prevent any repercussions and ensure a smooth travel experience within the Schengen Zone.

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Schengen Visa Guide

What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a French Visa?

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What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a French Visa?

What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a French Visa? The same visa policy does not apply to every foreigner and every territory of France. Therefore, visa exemptions are heavily influenced by dissimilar factors, primarily the nationality of the foreigner, the territory of France the applicant seeks to visit, the foreigner’s residence status in the Schengen Area or specifically in France, and the purpose of the visit.

France’s territories are divided into three parts, each with its own visa policy:

  • French European Territory
  • French Overseas Départments or Regions (DOM)
  • French Overseas Territories (TOM)

Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in European French Territory?

The Schengen Area includes France. As a result, its European territory complements those of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, also members of the Area.

For entry and stay in the European French Territory, you need a French Visa.

Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in French Overseas Départments or Regions?

For short stays (up to 3 months) to Guadeloupe (and its dependencies: Saint Martin, Saint Barthélémy), French Guyana, Martinique, Réunion, the following foreign nationals do not require a French visa:

  • Andorre,
  • Argentina,
  • Australia,
  • Bolivia,
  • Brunei,
  • Bulgaria,
  • Cyprus,
  • Canada,
  • Chile,
  • Costa Rica,
  • Croatia,
  • El Salvador,
  • Guatemala,
  • Honduras,
  • Hong-Kong (titulaires du passeport de la Région administrative spéciale seulement),
  • Ireland,
  • Japan,
  • Macao (titulaires du passeport de la Région administrative spéciale seulement),
  • Malaysia,
  • Mexico,
  • Monaco,
  • New Zealand,
  • Nicaragua,
  • Panama,
  • Paraguay,
  • Singapour,
  • South Korea,
  • St-Marin,
  • Switzerland,
  • The Holly See,
  • United Kingdom,
  • United States,
  • Uruguay and
  • Venezuela. 

Note: Those from the above countries are allowed to enter and stay in French Overseas Départments and Regions without a French Visa, except for the following categories of foreign nationals who MUST have a French Visa:

  • Individuals from the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Venezuela, or Singapore wishing to work in these countries,

  • Students from the United States, citizens who hold diplomatic, official, or other service passports, and intend to stay in these French territories in a diplomatic or official mission, or journalists who intend to stay in these French territories for journalistic purposes

It is not possible for foreign nationals from the above excluded countries to enter or stay in French Overseas Départments or Regions without obtaining a French Visa through the French Visa Application process.

Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in French Overseas Territories? 

In French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia and its dependencies (Terrires Australes et Antartiques Françaises (TAAF)), Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the following foreign nationals may travel without a French Visa for short stays (up to 3 months):

  • Argentina,
  • Australia,
  • Bolivia,
  • Brasil,
  • Brunei,
  • Croatia,
  • Canada,
  • Chile,
  • Costa Rica,
  • El Salvador,
  • Guatemala,
  • Honduras,
  • Hong-Kong * (passport holders of the special administrative area exclusively),
  • Japan,
  • Macao* (passport holders of the special administrative area exclusively),
  • Malaysia,
  • Mexico,
  • New Zealand,
  • Nicaragua,
  • Panama,
  • Paraguay,
  • Singapore,
  • South Corea,
  • United States and
  • Uruguay.

These countries have nationals who can enter the French overseas territories without a French visa, but cannot stay more than three (3) months or ninety (90) days:

  • Andorra,
  • Bulgaria,
  • Cyprus,
  • Ireland,
  • Monaco,
  • Norway,
  • Netherlands,
  • Saint Marin,
  • The Holly See and
  • United Kingdom.

Note: Foreign nationals from the above countries are permitted to enter and stay in the French overseas territories without a French visa, with the exception of the following categories:

  • Brazilians, Canadians, South Koreans, Americans, Japanese, Australians, Malaysians, Mexicans, Singaporeans seeking gainful employment in these areas,

  • Nationals of the United States wishing to get a job there or to enter and stay there for journalistic purposes

  • In order to enter and stay in Overseas French Territory of New Caledonia, Hong Kong and Macao nationals will need a French visa.

Other foreign nationals from the above list cannot enter or stay in the French Overseas Territories without undergoing the French Visa Application procedure and getting the appropriate French Visa.

Conclusion 

French visa policies demands careful consideration of nationality, purpose, and destination. France categorizes its territories—European, Overseas Départments/Regions, and Overseas Territories—each with unique visa regulations. While some nations enjoy visa exemptions, specific categories necessitate visa acquisition for entry and extended stays.

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