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Old 28-07-2013, 04:39   #1
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Another Schengen Thread

Rather than revive one of the many previous threads thought I would throw out this comment on a new thread. May heat up the forum on the subject yet again.

Last week it occurred to me that a close relative might have some insight on the subject. This person, who I will not name for reasons that will become obvious, is in the megayacht business. Worked up from crewing on small boats to captain on megayachts to running a consulting and management company. Example of the business, currently supervising construction and designing systems for a "small" boat of 83'.

In the past this relative has spent many months in Europe, sometimes a year or more at a time. Frequently based in Monaco but would move around a bit and spent a lot of time in Holland, especially when supervising construction of a new boat or maintenance on an old one.

Emailed and asked how they deal with Schengen and the reply I got back could be summed up as "What's the question? Never had to deal with Schengen. You are over thinking this and no one cares or ever asks about Schengen visas or limits."

Of course for common boat bums like myself this may not apply in the same way it would for the captain of a 200' Feadship but that's the experience of someone who has lived with it from the beginning of Schengen.
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Old 28-07-2013, 04:52   #2
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

In the past your friend was probably right, but today many of the southern European countries are struggling financially.

So they are all looking to cut expenses and increase income which is were foreigners come in by "taxing them till they squeak". Collecting taxes has never been a strong point in some countries but they are now waking up to the need.

A rich foreigner on a expensive gin palace (that's you and me to a tax inspector) is an easy target, guess peeps just need to keep their heads down and move regularly. Those with super yachts have accountants to avoid any annoying little taxes which the great unwashed should of course pay.

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Old 28-07-2013, 05:40   #3
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

Not so easy any more for those who are trying to be sneaky. In Cartegena, Spain just two weeks ago my boat was knocked upon be two very nice and polite customs police who went though every page of my passport. They counted the days I'd been in Spain on this visit and asked about my plans over the next two months and reviewed the past six month history. I explained that my plans were to stay in Europe on this visit for 90 days plus 14 as a tourist on my Non-EU vessel, and the one agent who spoke English was nice enough to return the following day and explain to me in detail, how I could do this and still be in compliance with the treaty rules. I would need to check out of Spain for at least 14 days and visit a non-treaty country... then I would be allowed back into Spain to complete my stay. Because I'm traveling on USA passport only 90 days is allowed during a 180 stretch. January-July and July-Dec.

The agents were very nice and went well out of their way to bring me the information... but they are checking. Those who think they can be sneaky, are mistaken. Friends of mine who were not being sneaky, but had simply made a visa mistake and overstayed a visit into the EU were fined several thousand euros in Greece I believe... an expensive lesson.

The impression I got from the immigration agents, was one of trying to assist a tourist like myself.... not an impression of being out to "get me."
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Old 28-07-2013, 05:59   #4
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
In the past this relative has spent many months in Europe, sometimes a year or more at a time. Frequently based in Monaco but would move around a bit and spent a lot of time in Holland, especially when supervising construction of a new boat or maintenance on an old one.
The question is of course: What nationality has this relative, and what status does he have when "based" in Monaco?
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Old 28-07-2013, 06:06   #5
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

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Not so easy any more for those who are trying to be sneaky. In Cartegena, Spain just two weeks ago my boat was knocked upon be two very nice and polite customs police who went though every page of my passport. They counted the days I'd been in Spain on this visit and asked about my plans over the next two months and reviewed the past six month history. I explained that my plans were to stay in Europe on this visit for 90 days plus 14 as a tourist on my Non-EU vessel, and the one agent who spoke English was nice enough to return the following day and explain to me in detail, how I could do this and still be in compliance with the treaty rules. I would need to check out of Spain for at least 14 days and visit a non-treaty country... then I would be allowed back into Spain to complete my stay. Because I'm traveling on USA passport only 90 days is allowed during a 180 stretch. January-July and July-Dec.

The agents were very nice and went well out of their way to bring me the information... but they are checking. Those who think they can be sneaky, are mistaken. Friends of mine who were not being sneaky, but had simply made a visa mistake and overstayed a visit into the EU were fined several thousand euros in Greece I believe... an expensive lesson.

The impression I got from the immigration agents, was one of trying to assist a tourist like myself.... not an impression of being out to "get me."
Thank you for an excellent, first hand report of current situation. While I think my relatives experience interesting I don't plan to follow the same philosophy. Both because I'm not on a megayacht and, as Pete7 points out, times have changed.

Current plan is to continue exploring a long stay visa that is theoretically available in several countries but when (never say "if") I get there be ready to duck in and out of Schengen countries to keep within the 90 day rule.

Western Europe it looks to be relatively easy with the UK and Ireland staying outside the Schengen treaty. In the Med it will be a little more difficult. With the current political unrest I'm not too enamored of north Africa which leaves a long haul to the eastern Med to get out of Schengen. So far there are a couple of the Balkan countries still outside the zone, Turkey I guess is pending Schengen, or Israel.

Regarding a long stay visa. I have researched France and Italy where it might be possible but an old friend moved to Germany and assures me that it can be done there for sure. The problem is, having "free" days to spend in Germany still won't help out in the Med.

There is the option of leaving the boat, which is allowed to spend more time in Europe than the captain and crew (which I find very strange) and fly back to the states. Will solve the problem but at significant expense.
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Old 28-07-2013, 06:12   #6
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

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The question is of course: What nationality has this relative, and what status does he have when "based" in Monaco?
Sorry. Should have been more clear on that. Like myself, the relative is from the USA and maintains US citizenship and passport.

When I asked about long stays in EU there was no mention of long term visas, work permits, etc. Boats were flagged under offshore corporations, usually Cayman Islands so they were not subject to local employment law.
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Old 28-07-2013, 07:02   #7
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

A quick follow up on my prior note. The Spanish customs police even offered to go down to the main office with me in order to translate a request if I liked, for a long stay tourist visa for Spain. Since we had planned on visiting Morocco and Gibraltar for a couple of weeks, I didn't take up this option... although it might be a good idea for the next season.

But I don't want to mislead and give the impression that the customs police can be fooled. They were both wearing guns and did have the authority and ability to detain me if they felt it necessary, but I was honest with them and had my story and itinerary laid out for them to review. I'm sure my experience could and would have been quite different if I had some dumbass story and an expired visa that was 6 months to a year expired.

Again, they seem to be looking for tax cheats and illegal aliens, folks in the country using services and not paying for them. The police are not after honest tourists who are playing by the rules and in the country to spend some euros.
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Old 28-07-2013, 08:07   #8
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

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"What's the question? Never had to deal with Schengen. You are over thinking this and no one cares or ever asks about Schengen visas or limits."
.
He's on a Seamans ticket.
Get it? Its different.
normal people get fines 2,500 eur and have the chance of paying VAT on their boat etc.

Shengen doesnt apply to him.
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Old 28-07-2013, 13:37   #9
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

While there are a number of cluttering issues, it's a lot like saying: "what speed limit? Everyone speeds..." Of course that works great until the authorities decide to enforce the rules.

Also, your relative's boss probably has lawyers and tax accountants who can take care of things if they do decide he's been there too long.
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Old 29-07-2013, 12:39   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post

Regarding a long stay visa. I have researched France and Italy where it might be possible but an old friend moved to Germany and assures me that it can be done there for sure. The problem is, having "free" days to spend in Germany still won't help out in the Med.
.
But nobody knows that you're spending your free "German" ( or French) days in the Med. if you have a friend who lives in Germany ask him if you can temporarily take up residence at his address, and get temporary residence in Germany. Once you're inside the borders of the Schengen zone nobody cares where you travel.
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Old 29-07-2013, 13:45   #11
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

"There is the option of leaving the boat, which is allowed to spend more time in Europe than the captain and crew (which I find very strange) ..."

Skipmac, those are two very different issues. The European countries would love for you to keep your boat there forever. It's just that you will get a tax bill for VAT after 18 months (and maybe other bills as well). Schengen is an immigration issue. You can get an extension to the 90-day visa without leaving Schengen, but that is a PITA. If you stop at an immigration office in most European cities you will likely find it packed with foreign students who have to go through that process repeatedly while they are studying in Europe.

In the past I have offered advice to not get overly concerned about the Schengen issue - just leave Schengen once every 90 days for a day or two to get your passport stamped. That advice was based on my experience in 2005-2007. However Kenomac's experience in Cartagena tells me things are changing. Back when I was there no country seemed to be as laid back as Spain with regard to cruisers moving through their ports. There were no immigration officials at any of the Spanish marinas I stopped in. The marina office would make a copy of my passport, but only the picture and info pages - none of the entry and departure pages. Even the customs officials were pretty much invisible. While in Almerimar I had several expensive boat parts shipped to me from the states, and they were hand-delivered by the DHL driver right to the boat. No customs or VAT was collected. That definitely would not have happened back then in Portugal, and I suspect not today in Spain.
I'm sure the Schengen issue will be manageable as long as the UK continues to opt out, but it sounds like the officials are paying more attention today.

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Old 30-07-2013, 01:30   #12
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

Here's what is happening at all the marinas and shipyards we've been at while in Spain. A worker will come around each day and check each boat to see which boats are in the marina, not making any contact, just taking an inventory on a ledger. I don't know what is done with the inventory list. In Cartegena, the officers come by every day checking all the new arrivals, passports and questioning everyone. When one arrives at a marina or shipyard, your vessel papers, your passport and insurance papers will be photocopied.
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Old 30-07-2013, 04:58   #13
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

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But nobody knows that you're spending your free "German" ( or French) days in the Med.
Exactly my point. I may be able to get some "free" days with a long stay visa in some country like Germany but I can foresee a problem trying to explain that to a customs agent in Portugal.


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if you have a friend who lives in Germany ask him if you can temporarily take up residence at his address, and get temporary residence in Germany. Once you're inside the borders of the Schengen zone nobody cares where you travel.
More or less true, as long as you never have to show your passport to anyone official you can probably stay inside Europe indefinitely. The problem will come if you try to fly out of an airport in Europe. As soon as they check your passport for departure you will have a problem, perhaps a very big problem.
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Old 30-07-2013, 05:04   #14
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

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Skipmac, those are two very different issues. The European countries would love for you to keep your boat there forever. It's just that you will get a tax bill for VAT after 18 months (and maybe other bills as well). Schengen is an immigration issue. You can get an extension to the 90-day visa without leaving Schengen, but that is a PITA. If you stop at an immigration office in most European cities you will likely find it packed with foreign students who have to go through that process repeatedly while they are studying in Europe.
Logically one might think they would also love for me to be there forever spending my USD$ as well as trying to ding me for VAT on the boat. But as we all know, logic and government policies are in no way connected.

Regarding an extension for a Schengen visa, everything I have read on that said it is impossible to get an extension for tourism purposes. Study, family, employment and similar reasons I have found listed as ways to get visa extensions but not just travel for fun.
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Old 30-07-2013, 06:21   #15
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Re: Another Schengen Thread

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Logically one might think they would also love for me to be there forever spending my USD$ as well as trying to ding me for VAT on the boat. But as we all know, logic and government policies are in no way connected.

Regarding an extension for a Schengen visa, everything I have read on that said it is impossible to get an extension for tourism purposes. Study, family, employment and similar reasons I have found listed as ways to get visa extensions but not just travel for fun.
In the big picture, your USD$ are probably a lot less than you think. If there were millions of foreign nationals coming over spending $5000/month on average and the only reason they didn't stay and spend more was because of visa rules, you would see the rules change.

Reality is, there are probably only a few thousand crusing boats and most can't get away for more than 3 months at a time anyway. Of those that can/would stay longer, the bulk probably live an inexpensive lifestyle anchoring out (ie: not spending a lot of money). At the other end of the spectrum, the very wealthy, likely have thier lawyers arrange long stay visas.

It's not that they don't want your money. Its just that the narrow slice who spends $3,000/month in the EU just isn't big enough to get the govt's attention.

The informaiton is a bit sketchy but there are long stay visas available but they want proof of a pretty healthy amount of cash in the bank that a lot of cruisers will have difficulty coming up with.
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