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Have you overstayed the 90-day Limit? Risks of overstaying your stay in the Schengen zone of Europe as a non-EU Citizen.

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Have you overstayed the 90-day Limit? Risks of overstaying your stay in the Schengen zone of Europe as a non-EU Citizen.

The Schengen area consists of 27 European countries that allow free travel between the nations within this area. Named after the Luxemburg village where the Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985, The Schengen zone provides for the free movement of people within the zone's member countries without needing visas or border checks unless they are from a non-EU country.

The zone comprises most EU countries, excluding Ireland, Romania, Cyprus and Bulgaria. The area also includes non-EU countries like Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland.

As it currently stands, non-EU citizens, including British citizens, require a visa if they plan to stay in an EU or Schengen member country for over 90 days. Citizens from certain non-EU nations, such as Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, are exempt from requiring a visa if their stay is 90 days or under in length. Overstaying this time limit is easy for authorities to detect since one's passport is scanned on arrival and departure from all member countries. Failure to leave within this time frame or obtain the relevant visa to extend your stay can result in several different penalties, including deportation, fines, inability to re-enter a country, and, in severe cases, imprisonment.

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Penalties for overstaying the 90-day Limit:

As we mentioned in a previous paragraph, there are penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment for not complying with the 90-day Limit to the visa waiver. The penalties imposed depend on the individual and their circumstances, and sometimes, such sanctions may take time to be enforced or carried out, depending on the country's discretion and the circumstances at hand.

Fines can range from country to country and vary between 500 to 10,000 depending on the country you are in. For example, penalties in Italy range between 5,000 to 10,000.

Among the more severe penalties for overstaying the 90-day Limit are deportation and imprisonment. However, deportation is often not imposed by authorities if the individual is not claiming social security benefits or is in illegal employment. Instead, the individual will be informed that they must leave the country and zone within a swift timeframe.

Another penalty for overstaying this Limit is a possible ban on re-entering the country in question. These types of bans can vary in duration from months to years depending on the length of the period an individual overstayed. Additionally, one may find entering another EU or Schengen member country challenging, as their passport will have an alert highlighting that they overstayed the 90-day Limit previously. Even if a ban is not issued, one may be refused entry at the border.

Important Considerations:

It is essential to note that non-Eu persons are expected to have left the zone once the 90-day period has ended; they cannot simply move to another country within the EU or Schengen area. The rule applies to all countries concerned. Non-EU citizens can spend the 90-day Limit through either a period of short stays or one extended stay.

It is imperative that those abiding by the 90-day rule also check their passport upon departure from a country in the EU/ Schengen zone to ensure that border officials have stamped their passports. This mistake is infrequent, but one should note that errors can result in penalties and refusal to re-enter the zone despite it not being the individual's fault.

In Conclusion:

Non-EU citizens must abide by the relevant visa requirements when travelling, living or working within the EU and Schengen area. It is strongly encouraged that all relevant visas must be obtained before leaving your home country.

If you are a contractor looking to work within the EU or Schengen area, contact our team, who can assist you with your visa applications, tax commitments, registration, and much more. Contact us today to get started with your contracting journey.


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