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Old 12-12-2016, 19:54   #1
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Schengen Overstay

Hi All

Looks like we will be inside the schengen zone for well over the 90 days next sailing season in the med. Starting in Greece and heading to Canaries before the Atlantic crossing but since the Canaries are disappointingly inside the schengen its a fly in the ointment to sort out.

Few years back the schengen issue was a non event for us as moving regularly between france spain italy no one was really counting days at ports of entry for people on boats. Airports are different and this time we will need to fly out and then back into the canaries while we will still be over the stupid 90 days in 180.

So what solutions to this ridiculous law have people used with success? Ive heard of extended visas in Italy and France but you need to be there to apply whereas we are starting in Greece and wont have an issue till we hit spain. Is there something similar in Spain?

Or are the Canaries immigration actually pretty relaxed about the letter of the law? Be a shame to be denied reentry when the boat was already there waiting for us....

thanks
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Old 13-12-2016, 12:03   #2
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Re: Schengen Overstay

I don't know if they are strict or not, but you may pass on Tunisia or Morocco to reset.

Several nice Marinas. Things are not what they used to be some years ago but the country is not an Islamic fundamentalist one.

The same with Morocco that has not so many marinas but it has at least Marina Agadir. There was a thread some time ago about a guy that sailed to Marocco and had doubts about going with wine. You can ask him for information.

If you go to those parts don't miss Ceuta (Spanish town on the African coast). From there they organize trips to Tetuan, an old Marroco city. It surely deserves the visit.
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Old 13-12-2016, 12:11   #3
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Re: Schengen Overstay

Gibraltar is also outside of Schengen so any time there won't count against your 90 days.
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Old 13-12-2016, 15:25   #4
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Re: Schengen Overstay

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Originally Posted by Barra View Post
Or are the Canaries immigration actually pretty relaxed about the letter of the law?
Hi John,

I don't know if the situation has changed now but we were never checked on that nowhere while sailing in in Europe. The only exception was in Azores which is part of Portugal, hence Schengen. Las Palmas was definately more relaxed than anywherelse.
Airports could be different though..

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Old 13-12-2016, 15:58   #5
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Re: Schengen Overstay

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Originally Posted by Barra View Post

Or are the Canaries immigration actually pretty relaxed about the letter of the law? Be a shame to be denied reentry when the boat was already there waiting for us....

thanks
Clear out as early as you can. When I was bound for the Atlantic I cleared out in Nice, France and then went direct (almost ) to the Canaries and cleared back in there.
That left me with a week or so on my Schengen time. They didnt question anything.
A day or 2 later I went back with a HUGE letter detailing why I needed a Schengen extension for 2 extra months, ya know, cant cross the ocean in Hurricane season, have money, not a criminal, all that crap nicely bundled up in a well written letter.

So I rock up with my letter and the Immigration guy takes one look at it and just shrugs... 'it is no problem' in a slow Spanish accent, and gave me back my letter!
Sure enough, when I cleared out there was no problem.

Reasons: The Canaries rely on boats transiting. No boats going, they go broke. And boats can go other places: Madeira or Cape Verde Islands.
So they keep a lid on the BS.


But you do need to have some days in your Schengen visa when you arrive

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Old 13-12-2016, 18:29   #6
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Re: Schengen Overstay

Thanks for the replies guys.

Yes ports of entry wise I never had a problem when i was last in the western med either. I was 180 plus days in france spain italy (and croatia which didnt count), never checked for the 90 days. In fact clearing between these three countries was not necessary really.

But the airports are a bit more strict ( I was even counted when leaving Athens airport this year!) and my issue is i will be leaving boat in the canaries and flying in out so I would expect to encounter the more nazi type immigration guys (if they exist in canaries).

Been looking into long stay visas they dont make it easy unless you are staying in one country with a semi permanent address it seems so not really suited to extended cruisers.
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Old 13-12-2016, 21:52   #7
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Re: Schengen Overstay

We spent the last four years in the Med. We learned a couple of things:

1. Not to confuse the Mastrich Treaty with the Schengen Treaty. Mastrich applies to property, Schengen to people (that may be a vast simplification, but it worked for me).

2. Mastrich says you cannot have your boat in the Eurozone (as a non-Eurozone citizen) for more than 18 consecutive months. You can reset the Mastrich clock by leaving for 24 hours, checking in to a non-Mastrich treaty country and then checking back out and then back in. Of course, no one recommends the 24 hour approach, it is too risky. At least a month would be preferable. You can also bond your boat out while it is on the hard, but it takes careful documentation and having customs on board to lead seal the helm from moving for the duration of the stay. At the end they give you a letter stamped with the certifications that allow you to not to count the time on the hard against the 18 months. The Mastrich is actually the one with financial teeth. If customs finds that you overstayed the time, they hit your boat with the VAT of 23% of the boat's value (which they determine without an immediate right of appeal on the spot). So, the authorities are very interested in identifying boats that are subject to the tax and in enforcing it. We were accosted at the dock in Calvi, Corsica by 3 French customs officials. It was pretty intense. Only after 90 minutes of laying down document after document did they concede that I had not violated the Mastrich limits. It was pretty obvious that they wanted to hit me with the tax, but just could not. For some reason, the bonding letter from Sardinia was the ace card for us. No idea why as we were not over the limit either way.

3. The Schengen says that you, as a person, cannot stay in the Eurozone more than 90 days in any 6 month ROLLING period of time. So it is not 90 days related to any calendar event and you CANNOT reset it by simply leaving the Eurozone and returning without staying out the required time to reduce your rolling total to less than 90 days. Pick any 6 months before or after your consecutive stays in the Eurozone and if your time exceeds that you are an illegal alien. The authorities can, if they choose, immediately expel you, they can, and have, written on passports that one was an illegal immigrant, not to return. And just "losing" the passport and getting a new one does not fix the issue as it is in the system. If one violates this law, it is possible that one will not be able to return to that country without a Visa in the future. It was a constant nagging issue for us, and I did worry that I might be kicked out without warning -- leaving my boat at a marina without me for a prolonged period of time. When we first got to the Med, the northern countries (Germany and England) were strict, but no one in the south really cared. But the Syrian refugee crisis changed all that. Everyone got much much more serious in 2015 and is much more serious now Being a cruising sailor is not an excuse for a violation.

4. Rule number one is that you have 90 days in any rolling 6 month period under Schengen. Rule number two is there is nothing you can do to change rule number one.

5. We might think these laws to be "ridiculous", but they are the backbone of the European Union (ask the Brexit folks about that) and they were negotiated for a reason. It was not for us to say why or whether we agreed. When in Rome, ......

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Old 13-12-2016, 22:01   #8
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Re: Schengen Overstay

Nice summary Scott but you didnt actually say how you got around the 90 days issue if you were there for 4 years????
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Old 13-12-2016, 23:00   #9
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Re: Schengen Overstay

Sorry, my summary was lacking. No need to describe our time with precision, as each year was different. But, we sailed/cruised during the warmer months and put our boat on the hard during the winter months. So. we were not there 100% of the time.
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Old 14-12-2016, 01:37   #10
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Re: Schengen Overstay

We have not done the Canaries yet but we have been in the Med for I guess 3+ years. Last summer does not count as we sailed the Black Sea. But before that we did have some issues with Schengen. Our first was getting to Tunisia our first year and we were in Sardinia and knew we had overstayed and all the Italian customs wanted to know was "no Schengen" and I said no Schengen and they stamped us out no issue.
Our 2nd year we did a lot of in and out of Schengen both with the boat and on land. When we sailed into Venice from Croatia they stamped us in and said we now have 90 days in the EU. We knew better as we had about 28 days left as a result of getting from Tunisia to Corsica to Rome to Albania. We sailed down the coast of Italy to Malta and decided that we did not want to check out there on our way back to Tunisia as they are exBrit and as ex Brit may decided to cross every t and dot every I and therefore check all the stamps in our passport (which were numerous) so we sailed to Lampadusa and checked out there and all they wanted to know was how we got there and I mean from the USA.
We also try to be imaginative on the 90 days. this 90 days goes with this period and this 90 days goes with this period.
Glad to hear the Canaries are forgiving on this as we will be crossing back over in a couple of years.
thanks for the thread - it is valuable
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Old 14-12-2016, 02:38   #11
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Re: Schengen Overstay

Just out of interest, where do you find this Schengen/Immigration information? Is it for Non-EU citizen? It would be good to know about this before we plan our sailing journey.
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Old 14-12-2016, 05:18   #12
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Re: Schengen Overstay

Checked out of Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canaries this year with a few days to spare on my 90 days. I asked if I could go to La Gomera to wait for weather for the passage to Cape Verde. The very nice immigration official said sure, but that I had to be out in 1 week. This is the same official who 2 years prior said sure and gave no particular time I needed to be gone.

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Old 14-12-2016, 05:22   #13
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Re: Schengen Overstay

Also, when I arrived in the Canaries this year (again, Santa Cruz de La Palma), the official counted how many days I had been in the Schengen and told me to be sure to leave on time.

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Old 14-12-2016, 09:45   #14
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Re: Schengen Overstay

Thanks Ssullan, there was very net.

I believe the laws in what regards immigration are and will be enforced with a lot more strength do to the immigrant crisis and the laws have to be equal to all.

The problem regarding the ones that will want to stay more time is the difficulty to qualify for a longer stay visa. For many that live on a pension that should not be difficult except that is a matter that has to be treated with individual countries and relates to that country implying to reside there.

If some foreigner reside in a EC country with a long stay visa, how are his rights about travelling on other EC countries? There would be a limit or not, while the long stay visa is valid?
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Old 14-12-2016, 09:52   #15
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Re: Schengen Overstay

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Originally Posted by Barra View Post
Hi All

Looks like we will be inside the schengen zone for well over the 90 days next sailing season in the med. Starting in Greece and heading to Canaries before the Atlantic crossing but since the Canaries are disappointingly inside the schengen its a fly in the ointment to sort out.

Few years back the schengen issue was a non event for us as moving regularly between france spain italy no one was really counting days at ports of entry for people on boats. Airports are different and this time we will need to fly out and then back into the canaries while we will still be over the stupid 90 days in 180.

So what solutions to this ridiculous law have people used with success? Ive heard of extended visas in Italy and France but you need to be there to apply whereas we are starting in Greece and wont have an issue till we hit spain. Is there something similar in Spain?

Or are the Canaries immigration actually pretty relaxed about the letter of the law? Be a shame to be denied reentry when the boat was already there waiting for us....

thanks
Days at sea (or achorages hint, hint) don't count towards Schengen.

Montenegro, Albania and Croatia are outside of Schengen

Italy doesn't care how long you stay, just keep spending those tourist euros.

Contact me privately via PM if you want more details on how to legally stay in the EU longer.
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