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Europe Topics specific to Western and Eastern Europe, from UK to the Russian border, and south-east to Turkey.
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  #1  
Old 23 May 2009
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Traveling Europe longer than 90 days

I'm an Aussie looking to travel Western Europe on a bike for 6-12 months.
I was just wondering how people have dealt with the 90 day limit of the Schengen Visa?
I know how the visa works but obviously people travel for longer than this in the schengen area (seems to be most of europe now), particularly traveling overland such as by motorcycle.
I guess if you can get a long stay visa for one of the countries you can move freely between the rest because there's no real boarder control. Its just that longer term tourist visas (6 or 12months) for these countries don't appear too common.
The only option i can deduce from looking at other travel forums is that you have to leave the schengen area for 90 days then return. But its hard to find anywhere not in the zone, plus spending 3 months somewhere you may not be particularly interested in being just to pass the time is quite inconvenient.
The only other option i guess is a carefully planned route with lots of longhaul backtracking to safe zones. Kind of annoying and against the spirt of adventure to intensely plan and count your days i think.

Any suggestions of what visas to look for, which countries are best for long term visas, or any other way to handle this itinerary problem would appreciated.

Cheers,
Jim
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  #2  
Old 25 May 2009
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You are right that Schengen can be hard to get out of, this is the current list: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Notice UK and Ireland missing here.

The good news is: "Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not need a visa for visits to the Schengen area for stays up to three months." As long as you do not stay in one country more than 3 months, and don't get caught working (or doing anything criminal), I don't think anyone will ever bother you. But Visa or not, the formal rule seems to be that you are not allowed to be in the Schengen area more than 90 days during any 6 months period. So I guess the main risk is a potential denied access later in life.

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  #3  
Old 26 May 2009
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Nobody is keeping track of your trip and time in the Schengen area!!!
We spent much more than 90 days in the Schengen countries (the 90 days is for all schengen countries combined, not each country) more than once. Our advice is don't worry about it. And any side trips to non-schengen countries like Morocco or Russia just confuse the date stamps in your passport, which is the only way they can track you. If you were to get caught in criminal activity and subjected to an inspeciton by the authorities they could add that to the list of crimes, but the customs agent at the exiting border or airport is not going to check the dates in your passport (if they are even readable) and make the necessary subtraction. He doesn't have the time or desire.
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  #4  
Old 26 May 2009
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all of the above

true.
i worked in europe for about five years as an aussie, never once had a visa and was never once asked for one. as mentioned above, just don't stay more than the 3m in one country at a time. even if you do, chances are noone will ever know.
anyhow if you've got that much time i'm sure you'll be heading far and wide enough to exit the schengen zone. nothing's that far away in europe. not for an aussie with a motorbike, anyhow.
cheers,
andy.
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  #5  
Old 26 May 2009
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Hello Jim,

I dont have info about Visa, but I thought perhaps it would be fun to see some motor movies from Europe, so you can see wat to expect:
Life Is Joy - Home

Enjoy and welcome to Europe!
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  #6  
Old 9 Jun 2009
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In the past, you could have just ducked into Switzerland for a day, thus resetting the clock back to zero. Now, Switzerland is part of Schengen.

Your post raises an interesting point, though... a bona fide traveler could easily spend more than the 90 days allowed touring through the Schengen countries, and thus bump up against the 90 day 'tourist' limit. Other than structuring your route to allow you to momentarily escape into a non-Schengen country for a day, I don't know how you could keep legal. Heck, if you applied to any one of the Schengen countries for a "tourist visa valid for longer than 90 days", they would probably look at you as if you were from the planet Mars.

My suggestion is that you collect passport stamps whenever you can. If, once you have past the three-month limit and you are still in Schengen, you can show (from your passport stamp collection) that you really are a bona fide tourist, then I doubt very much that anyone would give you a hard time just for that.

An alternative to that might be to retain your receipts for fuel purchases, hotels or campgrounds, stuff like that, to enable you to prove that you have been traveling. I suspect the primary reason behind the 90 day rule is to prohibit folks from establishing residency, so, as long as you can show that establishing residency is the farthest possible thing from your mind, you should be OK.

Michael
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  #7  
Old 9 Jun 2009
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In the past, you could have just ducked into Switzerland for a day, thus resetting the clock back to zero.

Just to clarify that - you are now allowed 90 days in any six month period. The clock is only set back to zero at the end of the 6 months. If you enter, and then leave, and re-enter the Schengen zone within the six months, the same clock is still ticking.

So, imagine you enter the Schengen zone, you then stay 90 days and then leave. You theoretically cannot enter again until 90 days later (total 180 days) when the six months is up. Then you can have another 90 days.

Or, you enter the Schengen zone. You stay 45 days then leave. You stay away for 1 day and re-enter. You still then only have a further 45 days until the six months is up to come in and go out as you please, you don't get a further entitlement of 90 days.

That's how I understand it. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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  #8  
Old 9 Jun 2009
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I never even considered this, and no one else--in or out of uniform--seemed to consider it either. Don't fret.
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Old 9 Jun 2009
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I never even considered this, and no one else--in or out of uniform--seemed to consider it either. I've twice spent more than three months. Don't fret.

On the other hand, try not to do anything which might tend to attract the attention of local, national or international law enforcement personnel. Why tempt fate?

Hope that helps.

Mark
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