My biggest concern before I traveled overseas was how to not get deported. I spent days searching for answers about the Schengen Area visa and its’ rules. However, most information I found was often outdated; which is why in two weeks I must leave Sweden or I’ll risk overstaying. I definitely won’t be going back to the States either!
About the Schengen Area
The Schengen Area (also referred to as the Schengen Zone) consists of 26 countries in Europe. What’s great about this area is that you can move freely between these countries without needing to apply for a visa. The main rule to follow when traveling within this area is to not overstay your allowed 90 days. On the 90th day, you will have to leave the Schengen Area and you are not allowed back inside for the following 90 days. Just remember 3 months in and 3 months out. This is generally speaking for Americans, Canadians, and Australians.
If you’re looking to stay within Europe, don’t worry! There are still 14 countries that are outside of the Schengen Area. For example, the United Kingdom, Romania, and Cyprus are destinations that you can visit while waiting for the 90 days to reset.
Should You Risk Overstaying?
I have read about travelers overstaying the allowed 90 days and leaving the country without a scratch. However, I wouldn’t recommend risking this. What happens when you overstay? Well, there are multiple consequences that could jeopardize your future travels. You may get lucky and go unnoticed or only have to pay a fine. On the other hand, you could be deported from that country for many years. Having a stamp in your passport saying ‘deported’ won’t make visiting new countries easy. Overstay too long and that stamp in your passport will say ‘illegal immigrant’.
My Personal Experience
So where did I go wrong in this process? While I knew all about the Schengen Area rules before visiting Sweden, I was missing one key requirement to extend my stay. My plan was to stay in the Schengen Area for 90 days and then apply for a visa extension. What I overlooked was that I needed to apply for this extension from my home country.
My biggest piece of advice when looking into visas is to check three important things. Your home country, the country you are visiting, and forums. It’s important to check your home country’s travel website to understand how many days you are allowed to stay in certain countries. For example, being an American, I’m not allowed to visit Vietnam without having to apply for a visa first. From there, it’s necessary to research visas to apply for on the desired country’s travel website. Some visas can be obtained from visiting an embassy, but others may need to have your application sent in from your home country. Lastly, reading forums or any source of a personal opinion can be super helpful. I’ve discovered many visas this way.
Still have questions about the Schengen Area? The website Schengen Visa Info can help clear up any confusion. I highly suggest checking into it before you travel to Europe.