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Old 16-01-2016, 20:26   #31
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Re: How do U.S.cruisers deal with visas in Europe?

A lot of people just take their chances and I don't know anyone that had any issues, though heard of "friends of friends" who had to pay a minimal fine. The countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea don't seem to enforce the Schengen requirement for cruisers - and it seems to me they don't want to enforce it. There was supposed to be a ruling coming up with the EU to exempt cruisers from the Schengen requirement but haven't heard the latest on it.
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Old 17-01-2016, 02:11   #32
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Re: How do U.S.cruisers deal with visas in Europe?

Yes, there was talk about a change to the schengen to allow longer stays for certain groups but I suspect with the immigrant crisis, that got moved way down on the priority list. Even though it is almost completely unrelated, from a PR standpoint, anything that looks like opening the borders is going to be a tough sell.
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Old 17-01-2016, 03:14   #33
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Re: How do U.S.cruisers deal with visas in Europe?

Just to give you how we worked it. We arrived Horta and had some boat work to do which took a couple of weeks. Then over to Terceria where we spent way to much time but it was St John festival and what a great week. Then another island stop for a couple of days and to wait a weather window to Lagos, Port. At the suggestion of the Azores customs we checked out to save the sailing days. When we checked in in Port we were informed we had XX days left in Schengen. Portugal counts days as seems a bit strict about it. We traveled through Portugal for about a week then moved on to La Linea Spain near Gib as the Gib marinas are outside Schengen and were expensive and full. We traveled for about a week in Spain and actually went to Madrid to see if we could get an expended visa for the winter. This was at the National Police. They told us our best bet was to take a train to Lisbon, go to their embassy and apply there and get it and then come back. Or as they put it just stay we don't care.
Our problem was we were going to fly back to the USA during the winter and would have been over by a lot and we had been warned that some airport customs folks take their job serious and our massive overstay could cause a fine and potential red stamp. A 1% chance of that was to much to consider so sailed 1/2 up the Spanish coast stopping along the way and then over to the Balearic Islands for a while then down to Sardinia where we checked out and had spent over 100 days in Schengen. We have a habit to trying to use small out of the way ports to check in and out to get away for officialdom. The only concern for the customs guys was when they asked our next destination and told them Tunisia and they said non Schengen, smiled and stamped us out.
We spent the winter in Tunisia. Our next summer we sailed to Sardinia and got a booklet that we were told we had to have stamped at each Italian port. At our second port went to CG to get it stamped and they said no stamp needed but I wanted on it was 35euro which I declined and never tried again. We sailed to Corsica then over to Rome down the coast with stops along the way thru the Messina Straits, across the boot to Ortanto and checked out there. We had about 20 days left. We went to Albania and land traveled to Macedonia, Kosovo and sailed up to Montenegro where we land traveled to Serbia. All that time we were getting stamps in our passport and we had trouble trying to find our Schengen days. We sailed up through Croatia and crossed over to Venice and checked back in and the customs guy told us we now had 90 in Schengen. We knew better as it is 90 in 180. NOW I can give you a case that if I worked at it a bit I could move the calendar around so the time getting to Albania applied to the 180 with Tunisia but that might be a strectch.
We sailed down the coast of Italy to Malta and had to wait our a terrific blow. We thought about checking out there but Malta is ex Brit and they have a way to sometimes to cross every "t" and dot every "I" so we decided to check out in a small Italian port of Lambadusa and they took one look at our passports and could not figure out where we had been when. They even took them to a back room and came back smiling with them stamped. We spent the 2nd winter in Tunisia.
This past year we wanted to sail the Greek islands so we sailed to Sicily and got the book again. At a stop in Sicily we went to get the book stamped and they took it from us and told us not necessary. We went on to the Aeolia Islands and then did a couple of overnight to Brindisi to see friends where we checked out and on checking out they asked for our book and we told them we it was taken is Sicily and they said you are not suppose to be here just leave and leave now. We and sailed over to Albania and down the Albanian coast and checked back in in Corfu. We got the dreaded log and most places we got it stamped but not all. When we were asked about it when we had to get it stamped we just said we anchored out. We went across Greece and checked out at Samos and spent just a bit over 90 days. No issues. We are wintering over in Turkey where you can get residence which we have.
To us it is a game. First we do not use big harbors to check out. Second we do a lot of inland travel in non Schengen countries with lots of stamps in our passports so we can't even tell where we have been and when. Third we never fly out of a Schengen airport for our 1st flight. We had a couple of people tell us that in Frankfort(?) they check Schengen even on folks coming from outside Schengen and changing planes. They did not do that to us.
Third we like to check in and out of countries who have a lot more problems than a couple of old Americans on a sailboat and almost all are just glad you are there. Greece you just have to make a judgment call as some are stickers for officialdom and some are not. If they look like they are just try the next island.

That is how we did it and it works for us.
And the Med us huge as we have yet to be to northern Italy (west side) any of Turkey, France, Israel, Cyprus, or Morocco or parts of the Black Sea and we still have a few Greek Islands to see.
just our thoughts and opinions
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Old 24-01-2016, 17:05   #34
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Re: How do U.S.cruisers deal with visas in Europe?

Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
Just to give you how we worked it. ....
ChuckR, Thanks so much for the time and detail you put into the above post. It's really helpful.

In the millions of words written about Schengen, I have found yours and Jim B (JKCB or JimB Sail | Helping Skippers plan European Cruises) to be the most helpful and accurate.

Richard in NYC
Richard on M/Y Dauntless
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Old 24-01-2016, 17:53   #35
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Re: How do U.S.cruisers deal with visas in Europe?

Many good options in the Med outside the Schengen Area: Gibraltar, Montenegro, Turkey, Israel, Albania, Monaco. I'm not sure about the northern part of Cyprus.
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Old 31-01-2016, 08:41   #36
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Re: How do U.S.cruisers deal with visas in Europe?

Originally Posted by Dauntlessny View Post
In the millions of words written about Schengen, I have found yours and Jim B (JKCB or JimB Sail | Helping Skippers plan European Cruises) to be the most helpful and accurate.

Richard in NYC
Thanks Richard. To be specific, about visas etc, the page you'll want to read is about half way down:
Time Abroad | JimB Sail

Key points are:
  • Rules for boats are handled by Customs - no problems here
  • Rules for people are handled by Immigration - not more than 90 days in any 180 for most countries.
  • They don't talk to each other
  • Schengen counts as one country
Some fiddles . . .

For US citizens, it's reasonably easy to obtain a 1 year visitor visa. Apply at a French Embassy in the US well before departure. If issued, this permits you a 1 year stay in France, with freedom to roam for not more 90 days in any 180 to any other individual country within the Schengen zone. Since currently, there are no border checks between Schengen countries, you can, in reality, wander at will for your year.

Do not get a residence permit. A permit to reside within the EU will make using your boat within the EU illegal - unless you import it to the EU - paying VAT!

Over staying the visa will be picked up if you leave Schengen by air or ferry. Depending of the length of overstay, your passport will be stamped with "return not permitted before date xx/xx/xxxx", and you will be fined.

Up to date information about individual countries is recorded and disseminated by the British "Cruising Association" for their members through email newsletters and area specific forums. Membership (£85 pa for US visitors) may be worth considering.


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