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Old 11-07-2014, 02:26   #1
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Schengen Bilateral Agreements

I have been working on my Schengen problem as I've got now less than a month to go before I will have spent 90 days in the last 180 in the Schengen zone.

I have applied for a Finnish residence permit and hope to get it soon. This will be too late to extend my Baltic cruising but at least it will let me get back into Finland for work after I've run out of Schengen days.

Meanwhile I have discovered -- stimulated by one post in a different thread here -- that it is really true that not all Schengen countries count the days you have spent in other parts of Schengen, and there are a surprising number of them.

First of all, the legal basis:
There is a provision of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement, namely Article 20(2), which allows member states to keep their bilaterial visa waivers in place:
"2. Paragraph 1 shall not affect each Contracting Party's right to extend beyond three months an alien's stay in its territory in exceptional circumstances or in accordance with a bilateral agreement concluded before the entry into force of this Convention."
That means that every country has the right to deviate from the 90/180 rule in case it has a visa waiver treaty in place which predated the Schengen Convention.


This is specifically referred to on the EU website in relation to New Zealanders, who have a fantastic deal in Schengen:



On top of the overall Schengen visa waiver, New Zealand concluded bilateral visa waiver agreements with many of the individual countries in the Schengen area before the Schengen Agreement came into force. The countries with which New Zealand has bilateral visa waiver agreements are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The Schengen Convention provides for a Schengen State the possibility to "extend" a visa-free stay beyond 3 months in its territory for the nationals of the third country concerned in accordance with such an existing bilateral agreement. Thus, for example New Zealanders can stay in such Member States for the period provided by the bilateral visa waiver agreement in force between the two countries (generally three months), on top of the general 90 days stay in the Schengen area. However, it is to be noted that the Schengen Convention only provides the POSSIBILITY for the Member States to apply their "old" bilateral agreements for such extension, but this is not an obligation. Therefore, in case you intend to circulate longer than 90 days (in any 180-day period) in the Schengen area, it is recommended to contact the consulates of the Member States to be visited for further information regarding the applicability of such agreements.

http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/new_zealand/eu_travel/visa/index_en.htm


But New Zealand is not the only country with bilateral agreements in the Schengen area. Americans allegedly have such agreements in the following states: Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Spain, and Austria.



Apparently at least the French recognize the old agreements and allow Americans to stay for 90 out of 180 days in France regardless of time spent in other Schengen countries. Here is one French consulate advice on the matter I was able to dig up:
"Okay, since I started writing this I have since heard back from the French Consulate in San Francisco. We have emailed back and forth seven times so far. I'm still trying to get some more specific details from them, but I was able to confirm that they do honor the 1949 treaty at least to the degree where if you were to spend 90 days in the Schengen zone, then come into France, they will allow you to stay another 90 days on top of that. Below is a quote from one of the emails I got from them.
'As a US citizen, you can spend up to 90 days in France per semester independently from your previous stays in over Schengen countries (careful, the reverse is not true).
Unless you want to spend 90 days in France, then exit the Schengen area for 3 months (go to London for example) and re-enter for another 90 days per semester in France, you'll have to apply for a long stay visa.'"

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/europe-western-europe/topics/overstaying-schengen-visa-the-facts?page=25


I was able to find the 1949 visa waiver treaty with France in Treaties in Force on the State Department website, but I have not been able to find a German one, although there are a few references to this in the Internet.


For Sweden and Denmark, the rule seems to be that you are allowed to spend 90 out of 180 days in the Nordic countries collectively, without regard to time spent in non-Nordic countries.



For Poland, the rule seems to be that Americans can spend 180 days out of 365 in Poland without regard to time spent in other Schengen countries.


So for me -- and I hope this is useful to other cruisers -- it seems to mean that I can run out my Schengen days but still have no problem as long as I stay in countries where I have not run out their specific allowances. So it means that I must be out of Finland by the end of August, if I haven't gotten my residence permit by then, but if I make it to Sweden by then, I'll have a couple more weeks, since I did not enter the Nordic countries until sometime in May. And if I get to Germany before running out of Nordic days, I am altogether OK, since I have only spent a couple of weeks in Germany. And if I skip the Netherlands and Belgium (or I guess -- don't check in there or risk not being checked and for God's sake don't fly out of there) I will be ok if I get to France.


Or if I simply take the Southern route and go via Poland and Germany, then I won't have to worry about running out of Nordic country days.


It seems to me that I will need to check with the consulates of all of these countries to be sure that they will honor these bilateral agreements, since the Schengen Convention doesn't obligate them to do so. If I can get some consular advice from each one, then printing that out and having it in my documents ought to be really helpful in case I am questioned somewhere.


All this will probably soon be moot, by the way, as there is a movement afoot to change these rules. It looks like there will be a new type of Schengen visa which allows one to "circulate" in the Schengen zone for 180 days, or that the 90/180 rule will be changed to 180/365, either of which would be a great relief to non-European cruisers in Europe. At the same time, the bilateral agreements will be phased out. This is likely to take place by the end of the year.
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Old 11-07-2014, 02:42   #2
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

This Schengen thing is the most stupid the country can do against tourisme on the region.
As permanent living aboard cruising is impossible to respect this scheme, 90 days fly in a second on a boat and only 90 days for a Continent!
We now need to go and spend our incomes in africa to renew the 90 days instead to spend in Italy and help a little on their economy.
Schengen is ok for normal tourist on a plane but for cruisers must be much better if we can made country customs any time we arrive and have just 90 days per country like in other parts of the world, in that way you can visit better the small places and spent more money in local economy suporting then.

Hope some day the idiotic thing change.....
But for now we need to head for Tunisia
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:27   #3
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

I wonder how you would make this work in practice. Within Schengen there are no longer any border controls. You don't have to show your passport, you don't get it stamped. When I fly from Zürich to anywhere within the Schengen area my passport never leaves my wallet at all.
(Which is why I still believe that once you've got residence in one Schengen country you can then just ignore the 90/180 rule from then on)

So then when it comes to leaving, and upon exit of the Schengen area the border guard looks at the stamps in your passport, and noticed that more then 90 days have passed since you officially entered. How are you going to prove that a lot of those days were spend in countries where these days don't count towards the general Schengen limit?
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:38   #4
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

Just making clear in where you arrive with you boat ( we are not talking about planes here) and if your are luck they will stamp your pass on arrival then you have your 90 days again
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:39   #5
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ypake View Post
This Schengen thing is the most stupid the country can do against tourisme on the region.
This is a stupid comment.
The Schengen agreement has been a tremendous boon for tourism. I see that every day.
Before Schengen it for example happened regularly that passengers on the Paris - Rome night train got kicked of the train at the Swiss border because they had been unaware that this train actually is routed through Switzerland and hadn't bothered getting a Visa for that country. Thanks to Schengen someone who wants to make a multi country visit to Europe doesn't need to get individual visas for each one anymore. That is a huge, tremendous plus.

Do you really think that making Indians and Chinese queue up at the consulates of every little country in Europe they want to visit is a smart thing to do if you want to promote tourism?
Switzerland, a non EU country, joined Schengen precisely because it is a smart move for a country that makes a lot of money in tourism.

No, you can't just dismiss Schengen as stupid because you happen to be on of the handful of people inconvenienced by it.
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:41   #6
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

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Originally Posted by Ypake View Post
Just making clear in where you arrive with you boat ( we are not talking about planes here) and if your are luck they will stamp your pass on arrival then you have your 90 days again
I was once sailing with a Russian on board, who had a multi entry Schengen visa that he theoretically needed to get stamped upon each entry. We crossed from the UK to Spain, and it took him then three days to find someone who was both competent and willing to give him his entry stamp...
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:48   #7
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

kVB I am talking as permanently living aboard and sailing around the world and writing just sitting from my cockpit and not from a house somewhere miles away from the sea.
And yes as a cruiser ( the forum is named crusisers forum I think) still think schengen is a stupid idea for boats.
Is good for land people but Iam not complaning about that.
Hope one of this days the thing change.
And yes I have no problem to do customs and burocracy any time I arrive a new country if that gime some time to visit the country and not need to be rushing arournd.
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:52   #8
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

DH, you might wan to double check the Nordic countries list. While checking on Denmark visas, I seem to recall that Finland was included as a Nordic country. I hope I am wrong. Best of luck.
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Old 11-07-2014, 04:36   #9
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

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And yes as a cruiser ( the forum is named crusisers forum I think) still think schengen is a stupid idea for boats.
Agree. But that's not what you said. You said that Schengen was a stupid idea from the point of view of promoting tourism. And that is getting it completely backwards...

And if you think that Schengen is a nuisance, just check what the USA imposes on visiting cruisers...
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Old 11-07-2014, 04:39   #10
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

Quote:
Originally Posted by K_V_B View Post
I wonder how you would make this work in practice. Within Schengen there are no longer any border controls. You don't have to show your passport, you don't get it stamped. When I fly from Zürich to anywhere within the Schengen area my passport never leaves my wallet at all.
(Which is why I still believe that once you've got residence in one Schengen country you can then just ignore the 90/180 rule from then on)

So then when it comes to leaving, and upon exit of the Schengen area the border guard looks at the stamps in your passport, and noticed that more then 90 days have passed since you officially entered. How are you going to prove that a lot of those days were spend in countries where these days don't count towards the general Schengen limit?
Yes, it is pure chaos to have separate bilateral agreements when there are no internal borders -- something mentioned in the briefs about adopting new rules next year.

When you have a residence permit in a Schengen country you are still supposed to limit travel in other Schengen countries to 90 out of 180 days. As you mention, it would be really hard to enforce with no internal borders. However, not impossible. With a boat, there's your log, which will give clear proof of any violation of this. And if you fly out of a country where you have neither residence permit nor privileges under a bilateral treaty, then the authorities are entitled to make presumptions unfavorable to you about where you spent how much time. So it is a screwed up situation indeed!

When sailing from a Schengen country to the UK, as far as I know, and in my experience, you never get stamped out. But you DO get stamped into the UK, if you follow the rules and call "Yachtline". And I would definitely do that, as I would NOT want the UK officials wondering if I had been in the UK too long. So I think you're screwed even there -- next time you fly into Schengen, your passport will look like you overstayed, and the problem will be that YOU will not be able to prove that you were in Germany or France or wherever you had the right to stay longer.

So I guess I would want to scrupulously avoid any violation, and then travel with my log, and with copies of the consulate advice of the bilateral countries, in order to be able to prove that I did not violate. At the moment, that seems the only way. Although theoretically I guess I could flash the Finnish residence permit and probably that would be the end of any questions in maybe 90% of cases. Maybe.
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Old 11-07-2014, 04:42   #11
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viking Sailor View Post
DH, you might wan to double check the Nordic countries list. While checking on Denmark visas, I seem to recall that Finland was included as a Nordic country. I hope I am wrong. Best of luck.
Nope, you're right -- Finland is a member of the Nordic Passport Union and is a Nordic country. Just not Scandinavian.
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Old 11-07-2014, 04:48   #12
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

Quote:
Originally Posted by K_V_B View Post
This is a stupid comment.
The Schengen agreement has been a tremendous boon for tourism. I see that every day.
Before Schengen it for example happened regularly that passengers on the Paris - Rome night train got kicked of the train at the Swiss border because they had been unaware that this train actually is routed through Switzerland and hadn't bothered getting a Visa for that country. Thanks to Schengen someone who wants to make a multi country visit to Europe doesn't need to get individual visas for each one anymore. That is a huge, tremendous plus.

Do you really think that making Indians and Chinese queue up at the consulates of every little country in Europe they want to visit is a smart thing to do if you want to promote tourism?
Switzerland, a non EU country, joined Schengen precisely because it is a smart move for a country that makes a lot of money in tourism.

No, you can't just dismiss Schengen as stupid because you happen to be on of the handful of people inconvenienced by it.
Peace, brothers. Schengen IS a boon for tourism in Europe. And also, Schengen is stupidly implemented in some respects. You're both right.

One of the dumbest things about Schengen is this 90/180 thing in the absence of a one-year touring visa. It leaves a big gap which screws sailors, touring musicians, etc., since you've got either 90 days or a residence permit and nothing in between. The authorities recognize this and it will be changed by the end of the year I think. What we will probably get is 180 days a year, which would solve my problem, but would not solve the problem of people on an extended tour of Europe. There should be a visa type for that, too -- a visa for extended tourist trips for people who are retired or on sabbatical and not staying in one particular country.
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:05   #13
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

More confirmation that these bilateral treaties remain in force, from the EU website:

"The calculator cannot take into account more favourable rules applicable to short-stays of third-country nationals under bilateral visa waiver agreements between certain Schengen States and certain third countries as provided by Article 20(2) of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement (CISA). According to that provision Member States have the possibility to "extend" the duration of stay of visa-free third -country nationals beyond 90 days under the following circumstances. In case a Schengen State concluded a bilateral visa waiver agreement with a third country of the so - called "positive visa list" (like Canada, New Zealand or the US) before the entry into force of the Schengen Agreement (or the date of its later accession to the Schengen Agreement), the provisions of that bilateral agreement may continue to apply. The CISA provides for a Schengen State the possibility to extend a visa - free stay beyond 90 days in its territory for the nationals of the third country concerned in accordance with such an existing bilateral agreement. Thus, for example the nationals of Canada, New Zealand, US, etc. depending on the continued application of the agreement by the Schengen State - may stay in such Schengen States for the period provided by the bilateral visa waiver agreement in force between the two countries (generally three months), on top of the general 90 days stay in the Schengen area. Article 20(2) of the CISA only provides for the possibility for the Schengen States to apply their 'old' bilateral agreements for such extension, but this is not an obligation."

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs..._manual_en.pdf

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Old 11-07-2014, 05:47   #14
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

Thanks dockhead for all the info, i start studing if Argentina have a old treaty with Italy , hope have one as we have so mamy millons of Italian inmigrants there.
kVB no hard fellings is only opinions. We stay in USA in 2012 and was one the most easy country and well welcome, we had a one year cruising permit and strait six month stamp and as soon you leave the country to Canada or bahamas and return ypu have another six month, I really love to have this in Europe.
We arrive to Azores and the clock start ticking even when you sail the atlantic.
Then we visit north spain and france then to get out the sechengen sail to Ireland and Scotland then to get out the boat from the eurozone sail to Norway but then we are again in schengen
And in the northen countrys nobody cares about the schengen or eurozone here in the burocratic southern europe they look more for this things so now we need to sail to Northen Africa with all their complications and unsafety with my family to reset the dam schengen.
So I am not very happy with this system.
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Old 11-07-2014, 08:27   #15
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Re: Schengen Bilateral Agreements

Now for the $64,000 question:

While they are allowed to honor these prior agreements, are they actually honoring them (outside the new zealand/austraila ones)?
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