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How do you stay in Europe for longer than 3 months considering the Schengen Agreement

We are an Australian family planning to travel to Europe for an indefinite time. The plan is to stay in Spain for winter and travel around europe for the rest of the time. However the schengen agreement only allows 90 days in 180 days. Is there a way around this?

Answers (6) Add an Answer

We are a family of 4, I am from the UK originally, my husband is from the USA and has a US passport and our 2 kids have UK passports, and we have been in mainland europe since 2008. After the 3 month agreement, every country is different and have different requirements. We got married in France, but before that we had to apply for a carte de sejour for my husband and the same in Italy (even though we are married now, and I am an EU citizen he still is treated like an American coming in from a foreign land) - from my experience the paperwork takes months, maybe this is because my husband and I are a special case being split nationalities, but while you are applying you can technically stay in the country, they just like to see that you are actively doing something above board. It took 18 months for our VISA for France for my husband, and we applied in Italy now for a long stay (8 months) we are leaving next month to go to Greece and we have not heard anything from the authorities regarding his application and it's unlikely we will, plus in Italy they require us to have our marriage certificate translated in Italian by the actual French embassy in Italy, who apparently on contacting them, don't offer that service, so we are in limbo, but have no intentions of staying so it's just a case of having a story to tell if required about your progress, we were told that directly by the police here in France and Italy. There is no border control in europe, and speaking from experience, I've done France to Spain, to Gibralter to Spain to Italy by car without anyone asking to see our passports, the issue is when you go in and out of airports. It depends on a variety of things really as to how to best judge the situation - length of time you intend to stay, if you need any schooling, medical etc... But the general consensus in Europe I have found is that unless you go and present yourselves, nobody knows you're here. If you do want to present yourselves, then start the ball rolling and once you are applying you can stay. Speak to the expats in the area (there are loads in Spain, all nationalities) and see what they are doing. We basically deal with the situation when we arrive, and hope for the best, because as to what you need when you actually start getting into the system seems to depend on who you are, and who you have dealing with you at the offices. :-/ Good luck!

Answered 8 years ago Report Abuse Recommend (556)

You need a visa for Spain. You can then travel around to any other country. Technically you can only stay in any EU country other than Spain for a limited period of time (up to 3 months) but since the Schengen is open, there's no way to know you're staying there. Be aware that not all EU countries are part of the Schengen Zone, for example Great Britain is not and you need to show your passport to go there and they will not let you in a second time if you overstay your 3 months there the first time. Furthermore, be aware that not all of Europe is in the EU, for example Switzerland and Norway, however, they are in the Schengen Zone. I don't know about Visa's specifically in Spain but I imagine it is merely a paperwork exercise to get such a visa and is probably renewable once or twice easily as long as you are not going to work. A quick search says maybe you should try applying for a student visa or maybe a temporary residence visa. If you have lots of money or are retired, things are easier. I, as an American, had a Visa to live and work in France and I could travel to Britain as an American for 3 months, and ditto for any other European country.

Answered 8 years ago Report Abuse Recommend (545)

The answers above are right - there's no getting around the 90/180 rule. We're Canadians, and the visas were by far the biggest hassle of our trip. That's because we are here in Europe for 13 months or so total, but in an individual country for only 3 months or less (Finland, Belgium, Greece, Netherlands). Therefore, none of the individual embassies knew what to do with us, nor were they willing to give us a long term visa since we'd only be there for 3 months. In the end, my colleagues in Finland wrote us an invitation letter for a full year plus, and we applied for a research (I'm a university scientist) and family visa through the Finland system. Like the other people wrote, we had to provide evidence of a visiting scientist invitation from our hosts, sufficient income, proof of medical insurance back home in Canada, and lots of other red tape. Note also that it takes a REALLY long time to obtain such a visa. Even with a stereotypically "efficient" bureaucracy like Finland, it took us 8+ weeks (even though the websites promise 4-6) and a lot of direct phone calls from our Finnish hosts and myself to finally get the visas. I can imagine that Spain might be a LOT longer. Do NOT consider arriving in Europe before getting your visas, it's not worth the risk of getting sent home! You also cannot "pick up" your visa at a different country that where you originally applied for (i.e. we applied and sent our stuff to the Finnish embassy in Canada, and can't go to another country and pick it up there at their Finnish embassy). On the positive side, with our Finnish visa, we've been completely free to travel throughout Europe since our arrival, no questions asked (11 countries and counting!). All have been EU countries except for Russia, and Schengen countries except for UK. Good luck! It's a hassle but completely worth it!

Answered 8 years ago Report Abuse Recommend (543)

We are US citizens and have a similar plan, but don't know the answer. We were thinking about landing in Spain, heading to England and staying 3 months (approx) and then heading back to Spain for the remainder of our 90 in 180 days. I've read that the 180 days begins with the first stop in a Schengen country. Then, we could jump to Gibraltar at the 180 day point and return back to Spain and travel Europe for 90 days. Someone told us it wouldn't work, but I'm not sure why not. One family we've met online is getting a special license to live long term in Prague for starting a business there, but I don't know how that affects travel in the rest of Europe. I look forward to hearing from someone who knows the answer to this.

Answered 8 years ago Report Abuse Recommend (537)

Hi - I'm not sure about the rules for Spain specifically, but we recently applied for a long term (1 year visa) in Czech Republic. We considered not getting the visa and just traveling out of the country every few months to remain within the Schengen rules, but decided to make Prague more of a home base and get the visa so we could travel when we wanted to. We considered Germany, France, and Czech Republic for the long term visa rules. Germany was the most difficult, France was the easiest (you just had to show money in the bank) and Czech was different, it allowed the visa if you applied for a trade license or attended language school. We are trying to start a tour business to support our travels and decided the trade license would work. We just applied for the visa and should receive it in 2 months. We are currently traveling to UK to get out of the Schengen Zone till our visa comes back. Hope this helps, good luck! Katie

Answered 8 years ago Report Abuse Recommend (530)

Hi, The short answer is, there is no getting around this 180 rule. The long answer: we are an American family living in France since october 2011. There is no getting around the 180 rule. If you plan on making Spain and/or anywhere in the entire Schengen area for more than 90 days in any 180-day period, then you will need a work, residence, long-term, and/or other type of visa (depending on what you plan to do) from the country you currently live in to do so. For France, it was a matter of applying for a long stay visa. France requires that you show you can support yourself for your intended stay. There was no chart showing how much money we had to have we used sources we found on the web. I looked at the spain website and i think this is what they said. "show a minimum of $10,000 increased by $1,700 for each dependent for each year" But... i would call the embassy to ask as i found conflicting information. Your long-term visa must be applied for in your own country, and to work, you need to be sponsored by a company in Spain. You will have to also show proof that you have medical insurance You may have to provide proof that you have a place to stay while in Spain You may have to get a medical exam before you leave, we did ours in France. If you are self employed there are other requirements for spain that you will have to apply for. If you have children, do you plan on homeschooling them. If not, you should contact the schools ahead of time and maybe ask them to provide a letter to you saying that they are accepted. There are other requirements also but those are the big ones. Hope that helps. The process is long but worth it. Good LUCK!

Answered 8 years ago Report Abuse Recommend (519)