Reminder to United Kingdom nationals travelling to the European Union and Schengen area member states

United Kingdom nationals travelling to the European Union and Schengen Area Member States are already going through a lot of changes, including additional checks at ports of entry, and even entry restrictions which have been imposed on third countries amid COVID-19.

Frequent travellers to the block and the borderless zone will soon face another struggle – a limited period of permitted stay within the block.

Under the Schengen Area rules of stay for third-country citizens, non-EU citizens entering the territory under the visa-free regime can stay for a maximum of 90 days, for every 180 days.

Those who overstay this period – intentionally or unintentionally – may face penalties, including deportation and entry bans.

90/180 DAYS-OF-STAY RULE EXPLAINED

The 90/180 days rule may be confusing to many, in particular for Britons, who so far did not have to worry about how long they were staying in another EU or Schengen associated country.

Every third-country citizen travelling to the Schengen Area under the visa-free entry regime is permitted to stay for a period of a total of 90 days, in any 180 days.

The 180-day period keeps rolling, thus, anytime a traveller wishes to enter the Schengen zone, he/she just have to count backwards the last 180 days, and see if they have been present in the Schengen Zone for more than 90 days throughout that period.

Often, travellers are confused by this rule and fail to calculate how long they are permitted to remain in the EU, or they believe that overstaying is not a big deal. Yet, overstaying has its consequences, which often may be quite harsh.

Check the EU Period of Stay Calculator for British Citizens to find out how long you can stay in the EU.

WHAT CONSEQUENCES WILL BRITONS FACE FOR OVERSTAYING IN EU?

The consequences that a British national may face for staying in the EU longer than permitted depend a lot on the country where he/she is caught overstaying, as well as the number of days overstayed.

Since there is no common policy for penalties for overstayers, the Member States may apply the penalties differently, some by being softer and other harsher, like for example Germany.

Despite their differences, in general, the Member States apply the following penalties on those caught overstaying, including on Britons staring from this year:

  • Deportation – All third-country citizens caught overstaying the number of permitted days of stay in the EU are immediately forced to leave the block. Some of the countries will imprison overstayers and deport them by themselves, while others will give overstayers a certain period of hours or days to leave.
  • Fines – One of the most common penalties for overstaying in the Schengen Area is being fined with an amount of money, though the fees vary from one country to another. Fines are applied alongside with deportation and are not a substitute for it. They may often be followed with an entry ban too.
  • Difficulties in returning to the Schengen – Almost every deported person will face difficulties to travel back to the Schengen Area. They will face prolonged border checks upon entry and may even be turned back or banned from entering for a certain period.
  • Entry ban – Usually the Member States ban from entering only those who have overstayed for a longer period. Bans are applied for a period of three years or even more.

Despite the consequences listed above, some travellers may not be subject to any of them, in particular those who cannot travel for a strong reason that can be proved.


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