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Old 24-02-2013, 22:02   #1
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Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

We had discussions about visa issues and regs in the Schengen area, and in order to keep down some of the complexities I am asking folks to confine this thread to the question of how a Yank can legally spend more then 90 days in the med without running afoul of anything.

Schengen Fact Sheet covers the basics, although it could be clearer and requires careful reading.

I've linked a slightly flawed map down below. It is flawed in that it shows Gibraltar as being in Schengen--but since Gib is a part of the UK, I think it is exempted, as are Ireland and the UK proper. It shows Crete, south of Greece, but Crete hasn't been accepted yet and may not be accepted if they can't iron out the old Greek-Turk issues. And for simplicity, I might call the new nations north of Greece "the former Yugoslavia" with no offense meant to any of them.

Africa, Israel, Turkey, Egypt are unlabelled but conveniently outside the Schengen area.

So...the rules for a Yank appear to be (after looking at the US DOS web site and various others) that a Yank can enter the Schengen area without a visa, and then stay for any accumulation of 90 days, not necessarily consecutive, within any period of 180 consecutive days. But once you've been in the Schengen area for those totalled 90 days, you must exit for 90 consecutive days before you can re-enter. UNLESS you have a visa.

And apparently you can receive a one year visa from any Schengen state for a nominal sum (under 100EU) which allows you to spend time in that state, not the entire Schengen zone.

So in order to take a traditional "grand tour" you've got to plan your first 180 days carefully, spending no more than 90 of them in the Schengen states, and then you have to either get OUT for 90 days, or remain in a state that has issued you the year-long visa, or some combination.

Ah, a loophole of sorts. Certainly a more flexible option that simply going away for 90 days!

So I was thinking, would it make sense to apply for a one year visa to Italy? Stop first in Iberia, skip Gib, see France, skip Italy, see Greece. Then check the calender, and spend the 90-day "exemption" period seeing the former Yugoslavia, Italy (plenty of coasts and islands) and Gibraltar, and either heading east or south as convenient to spend time in the other non-Schengen lands, as needed, to wait out the exemption period?

With a little careful planning, a coupe of longish hops, it would seem very possible to run the clock without much inconvenience at all.

And then, perhaps, duck up to Scandanavia with the option of seeing Ireland and the UK outside of Schegen limits again.

Not now, not this season, but looking ahead...It looks like a "grand tour" can still be done. Without cheating on any entry stamps.

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Old 24-02-2013, 22:29   #2
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

Sounds like you're thinking along the same lines as I. Plan to put in a couple more years building the cruising kitty and then go see Europe and the Schengen thing so far seems to be one of the biggest potential obstacles.

I have carefully followed all the recent threads and "surfed the web" looking at comments in travel forums. Lots of suggestions along the lines of don't worry they seldom check but I'm not exactly comfortable going that way.

Getting a one year visa in one of the countries to get out of the Schengen limits sounds like the best option so far, but looking on the web sites for several countries, getting a one year visa may have its own problems. Perhaps reality is easier than the requirements posted online, but most countries I researched require a permanent address for the the stay and lots and lots of paperwork.

Haven't given up on this idea but initial research it looks like it could be a bit tricky. Have you checked into the specifics for Italy?
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Old 25-02-2013, 04:08   #3
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

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And apparently you can receive a one year visa from any Schengen state for a nominal sum (under 100EU) which allows you to spend time in that state, not the entire Schengen zone.
Can you provide specific links to these one-year visas. Im not aware that any are issued to people cruising on boats. They are certainly not available in "every" EU country

be aware that they can cause tax residency problems and other issues as well.

Id loved to see the links

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Old 25-02-2013, 04:13   #4
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

For example , in Italy there is a Study visa , but to access it youll need

- An official letter of acceptance from an Italian academic institution.
- A letter of acceptance from an American academic institution stating that you have been accepted and admitted to its center in Italy. The letter must be addressed to the Visa Office of the Italian Diplomatic/Consular Mission competent for territory of your official residence, and must indicate the address of the center in Italy, the period of study by date and bear the seal of that institution.
- A letter of acceptance from an American academic institution providing for the Study Abroad Program, and a letter of acceptance from the accredited academic institution in Italy. Both letters must be addressed to the Visa Office of the Italian Diplomatic/Consular Mission competent for territory of your official residence, and must indicate the address of the center in Italy, the period of study by date and bear the seal of that institution.

Students applying for full-time enrollment or “corsi singoli” at an Italian University, must first contact the Education Department of the Italian Diplomatic/Consular Mission competent for territory of their official residence.

Visas will not be issued for private school programs in basic language instruction.
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Old 25-02-2013, 05:48   #5
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

Im there every year for 8-9 months and have never once had anyone bring it up- There is no enforcement of the law , just come and enjoy, they want your money! BTW, Italy is the most lax of any EU country in my experence, Ive sailed thro there a dozen times and no one will check me in, each port I go to they send me to the next port who sends me to the next port, there too busy watching TV to want to do the papper work, Now I dont even try!
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Old 25-02-2013, 05:55   #6
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Im there every year for 8-9 months and have never once had anyone bring it up- There is no enforcement of the law , just come and enjoy, they want your money! BTW, Italy is the most lax of any EU country in my experence, Ive sailed thro there a dozen times and no one will check me in, each port I go to they send me to the next port who sends me to the next port, there too busy watching TV to want to do the papper work, Now I dont even try!
I spent regularly 4 to 6 month in the EU without any question asked, in or out. Is it because I'm entering by plane not yacht? I don't think so.
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Old 25-02-2013, 05:59   #7
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

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Im there every year for 8-9 months and have never once had anyone bring it up- There is no enforcement of the law , just come and enjoy, they want your money! BTW, Italy is the most lax of any EU country in my experence, Ive sailed thro there a dozen times and no one will check me in, each port I go to they send me to the next port who sends me to the next port, there too busy watching TV to want to do the papper work, Now I dont even try!
Yes this is the general experience, however all it takes is one zealous official , usually at an airport and you could get a ban stamped into your passport, not what you want if you intended returning to the boat!.

A simple Google will result in first hand accounts of such issues. They are not that common , but they do happen, almost always at airports and not ports. the EU doesnt really care about cruisers .

As to "they want your money" that has nothing to do with it.

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Old 25-02-2013, 06:10   #8
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

as an example and yes its only anecdotal

" Nonetheless, I found plenty of posts from people (mostly from Australia, SA, Canada and the USA) who'd overstayed and got caught. Penalties varied. The worst cases involved heavy fines (up to 1100 euros) and a large stamp in the passport, the kind of stamp you don't want if you intended to carry on travelling. One poor Australian woman was detained for questioning at Athens airport for so long that she missed her flight home and had to buy a new ticket at full price. That was in addition to the ~1100 euro fine she had to pay."

"
A friend of mine just fell foul of the 180 day limit. Having lived in France for almost 90 days, he ducked over to Croatia for a day or two, then came back and made plans to travel to the UK. Believing it to be like the 90 day rule described in your post, he happily showed his passport to the security people at the airport and was promptly deported back to the US. Nice big red stamp in his passport saying "Illegal immigrant", too...
"

"Approaching the Greek/Bulgarian border I handed over my passport to my shock the Greek police informed me they believed I had been in the EU or Schengen region for over a year! Upon inspection of my passport I realised that we weren't stamped entry into the Schengen region at the Ferry dock in Calais, France. The last entry stamp was when we initially entered Europe in July 2011. The ferry was around 2-3am in the morning, we just drove out of the port gates being waved through by an official!

So unless I'm mistaken the French borders need to get their act together!

Based on my passport I had overstayed the 90 days for another 9-10 months! In order for me to have left Greece in to Bulgaria I would have to pay an 1100 euro fine and a minimum 3 year ban from the Schengen zone! "

Departed from Copenhagen airport on the 29th sep to go to Zurich-Switzerland as a transit for 12hrs. so i landed in Zurich around 9pm on the 29th and since my other flight was after 12hrs i decided to sleep till i can go signout and totally forgot that my visa was going to end on the 29th midnight. woke up around 4am on the 30th and went to signout and found that i overstayed. so had to pay a fine 350 CHF and sign a declaration. didnt get any weird stamps on my passport. I'm applying again for a short-term schengen visa. do you think i will face any problems to get a schengen visa again?

"I was in Italy for 2 years and when I left through Rome heading for SE Asia, I just got an exit stamp and no questions asked, not even when I returned a month later with no problem. I was completely oblivious to all the rules and Schengen mumbo jumbo. Should I kick myself now for not being informed? Maybe. I just thought I should share. Take care all and be careful. Also, take heed on the warnings on leaving through Athens or Germanic countries, which are more stringent. And never go to the UK after an overstay or with a return ticket to Schengen countries. The UK knows more about Schengen than the actual Schengen countries."


"A friend of mine accidentally overstayed his schengen VISA by just a few days and then tried to fly out of Munich Germany, where he was held for an hour or so by officials (lucky he got there super early).

Even just a few days can land you in hot water! Luckily he didnt receive any weird stamps in his passport, oddly enough apparently the border guard asked him if he had any receipts from being outside of Germany, he showed them some from Norway and Sweden , which evidently meant the border guard was able to bend the rules slightly and let him off with no punishment and just the normal stamps in his passport, although the guard did have to file a 'report' for what happened, so who knows!
"



Your mileage may vary, do nice middle class people, want "illegal immigrant" stamped into their passport, probably not....
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Old 25-02-2013, 06:11   #9
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Yes this is the general experience, however all it takes is one zealous official , usually at an airport and you could get a ban stamped into your passport, not what you want if you intended returning to the boat!.

A simple Google will result in first hand accounts of such issues. They are not that common , but they do happen, almost always at airports and not ports. the EU doesnt really care about cruisers .

As to "they want your money" that has nothing to do with it.

Dave
If this is not that common, why worry about it? , seems to me there are more than enough things in life to be concerned with , then to worry about something that will likely never happen- I suspect if you treat those folks with respect it will never happen to you, of course if your one of those Angry Americans then perhaps you might expect to be banned- and that would be a good thing, -- Worry is the waste of your imagination~ I wonder how many hundereds of thousands over stay and are not bothered at all, I do it every year, but im only staying about 8 months
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Old 25-02-2013, 06:15   #10
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

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If this is not that common, why worry about it? , seems to me there are more than enough things in life to be concerned with , then to worry about something that will likely never happen- I suspect if you treat those folks with respect it will never happen to you, of course if your one of those Angry Americans then perhaps you might expect to be banned- and that would be a good thing, -- Worry is the waste of your imagination~
Well firstly its illegal, do you routinely break laws that arnt nessarily policed heavily, I dont,. Secondly , yes it may never happen to you , BUT , it could happen. You have to weigh up the options.

But I would absolutely refrain from suggesting that its a zero consequence option. All the time the Schengen system is being tightened up, so you takes your chances....

Dave
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Old 25-02-2013, 07:02   #11
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Italian visa

Spent a few hours researching various countries and have focused in on Italy.

It seems like they offer an Elective Residence Visa that will allow long term stay in country. You would not be allowed to work and must document you have sufficient resources to support yourself. Application here.

Ministero degli Affari Esteri - Visti

Of course, researching various web sites I found inconsistent information about the requirements but it may be doable. The main concern I see is the possible requirement to show a permanent address in Italy. Maybe that could be dealt with by using a marina lease?
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Old 25-02-2013, 07:09   #12
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

Ram-
"No enforcement"...Onceuponatime, I wanted to get everything stamped in my first passport. And when I crossed into I think it was France, by highway, the man in the little booth absolutely refused to stamp my entry. Went back into his booth, pulled the shades down, and pretended he was closed for lunch. No enforcement?
Years later I realized he possibly was simply embarrassed that he had no ink, these things do cost money and it wasn't a fancy crossing.
Heck, last year I had a TSA agent ask me what my ID card was because he'd never seen one before. Ah, the rare US State Department Passport Card. Maybe I should have given him my Amex card instead?

If I'm going to be an obvious target, i.e. sticking around in plain sight with a slow-moving vessel, I prefer to dot the i's and cross the t's, and that means all paperwork in order. Like the many Russian dashcam shots of the meteor, it is SO simple to document things today.

skip-
Even the DOS web site, which one might hope was written by native Ynglish speakers having some, ah, diplomatic or communication skills, is not written as clearly and unimstakeably as it might be. The foreign sites, translated of course, are more like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates.<G>
The Schengen sites seem to indicate that any member state can issue a 1-year visa, and that can be an extended visa OR a residency visa, some ambiguity as to the exact terms and type available. I would avoid "residency" like the plague, because of possible tax issues, unless it was absolutely certain that only affected you if you were employed and located in that country for the entire year, or some other clear circumstance.
Italy seemed like a convenient start because it is central, has way more coastline than France (in the Med) and from what I've experienced and been told, the local French diplomatic corps is a stickler for attitude and technicality, even against their own countrymen. There might be better choices, but "central" seemed like a good place to start looking.

http://www.esteri.it/MAE/EN/Minister...i_ingresso.htm
Appears to be the place to start asking questions. Apparently there are at least three "Type D" long term visas available but this page seems to indicate "residency" papers will be required for any of them. No mention of tax, etc. implications.
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Old 25-02-2013, 07:16   #13
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French Visa

And here are a couple of links for a long stay French visa. Details and restrictions seem similar to Italy.

Long stay visa for non professional purpose "visitor visa" - Consulat Général de France à Washington

General information - Consulat Général de France à Washington

So, in theory getting a long stay visa seems possible. Not sure how it works in the real world. I did read on one person's blog that claimed getting the Italian long stay visa through the Los Angeles Italian consulate was almost impossible but applying elsewhere fairly easy.
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Old 25-02-2013, 07:41   #14
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

A marina lease might be counterproductive if you were planning to travel the coasts. But, who knows, a marina manager might be glad to receive mail for a small fee, knowing you'd have to return to collect it.

Or, it might be worth investing in a "full" American Express card. They always used to hold parcels and mail for cardmembers.

Also of note is that you'll undoubtedly have to show proof of some sort of income or support, and proof of medical/medevac insurance as well, in the minimum amount of some $40,000 from what I saw.
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Old 25-02-2013, 08:15   #15
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Re: Extended tour in the EU, Med, Schengen for Yanks?

I have no wish to dampen your enthusiasm, but there are several things to bear in mind.

We have yet to hear any cruiser on this of other forums, explain how they did it with a 1 year national visa. if it was easy many would be doing it.

The implications of a residency visa need careful consideration.


to say

"The Schengen sites seem to indicate that any member state can issue a 1-year visa, and that can be an extended visa OR a residency visa, some ambiguity as to the exact terms and type available"

Is incorrect, The Schengen agreement contains nothing about long stay visas, this is purely the remit of national laws, France has a 1 year tourist visa, that harks back well before the Schengen agreement. Others countries have certain variations, the vast majority being a form of study visa which will not be applicable to the majority of cruisers. I suggest you undertake some careful research including e-mailing the relevant consulates before going any further.

remember France is a country where virtually everything works, Italy is a country where most things work and Greece is a country where virtually nothing works, plan according and dont listen to rumor.

My belief is that , if you want to not break the law, then you will be confined to 90 in 180, or its "under the radar" stuff.

Good luck, The Med is a beautiful place.

Dave
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