Schengen visas
November 17, 2011 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Schengen logistics - US citizen, 3 months each in two different Schengen countries. Neither earning money nor studying with an institution. What do I do?

For something so basic I would think that information would be readily available, but my Google searches are turning up nothing.

Say I want to spend 3 months in Hungary and then immediately after another 3 months in Malta. (Both 3 month periods would exceed 90 days.) I will not be earning money, I will not be with a University or other such organization.

What do I do? I can't seem to find clear, basic information on this. Every site I find either says "under 90 days and you're good" or will have information only for work or student visas, neither of which I can get (I think).
posted by resiny to Travel & Transportation (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Once you enter one Schengen country you may travel continuously for up to 90 days within the member countries....Travelers for business or tourism are permitted to stay in the Schengen area for 90 days within a six month period. Once the 90 day maximum is reached, leaving for a brief period and re-entering the area does not entitle a traveler to 90 more days within the Schengen states. The traveler would have to remain outside of the Schengen zone for 90 days before reentering without a visa. - from
posted by vacapinta at 8:22 AM on November 17, 2011

Response by poster: Right - but I want to stay more than 90 days. That's what none of the sites I'm finding are clearly addressing for non-work, non-academic visas.
posted by resiny at 8:24 AM on November 17, 2011

Resiny, that DOES clearly address that -- you're not allowed to do it. You may stay for 90 days every 6 months. More than that is not allowed, as, as you've said, you have no way to get a visa.
posted by brainmouse at 8:35 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: You're saying it's impossible to for an American to live in Europe for six months unless they have a job or are attending university there? That just seems extremely surprising.
posted by resiny at 8:38 AM on November 17, 2011

You're saying it's impossible to for an American to live in Europe for six months unless they have a job or are attending university there?

Correct. You are a tourist. You are limited to 90 days out of every 180. The only way to "reset" your visa time is to leave Schengen for 90 days. One possible way of doing this is living in England for 90 days.
posted by beerbajay at 8:41 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

resiny, you're not allowed to do it – it's quite clearly stated. Did you think it's legal for citizens of other countries to live in the US for as long as they want without a source of income? Consider signing up for a language course, even if short, or something similar that would allow you to obtain a student visa. Even then, you'd need to provide financial statements that show you can support yourself as well as comprehensive medical insurance.
posted by halogen at 8:42 AM on November 17, 2011

You have to imagine the Schengen area is one country with nations like Hungary and Malta acting like 'states' (in the American sense of the word)

The 'Country of Schengen' allows visitors of the US to stay for up 90 days in any 180 day period.

The fact that you want to be in Hungary for a time and then Malta is, sadly, meaningless. It would be like me having a 90 day visa to the US and claiming I can spend 90 days in California and then 90 days in New York.

(The only exception is, funnily enough, citizens of New Zealand who due to a recent agreement can spend up to 90 days in each Schengen country.)

So sadly you will have to leave the Schengen area and spend 3 months elsewhere (either back home or a non-Schengen area country like the UK).

On preview:
You're saying it's impossible to for an American to live in Europe for six months unless they have a job or are attending university there? That just seems extremely surprising.

Sadly. This is how the world works my friend.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 8:42 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry. Another way to do it is to get a visa extension in a specific country. In order to do this you will have to have some kind of valid reason. Travelling is probably not seen as a valid reason by most countries. Valid reasons might include: "I just met this person..." or "I have family here...", depends on the country.
posted by beerbajay at 8:43 AM on November 17, 2011

Response by poster: To add detail: it's a funded academic project, but it's through a US institution (not a university). So I'm not just rich-kid-wanting-to-see Europe, I have a reason to be there. Does this give me any possibilities?
posted by resiny at 8:45 AM on November 17, 2011

You may be able to apply for a residence permit. Here is the info for Hungary, and someplace at least to start for Malta.
posted by argonauta at 8:49 AM on November 17, 2011

it's a funded academic project

We'll need details. But if its in collaboration with a host institute in Hungary/Malta then there are probably student visa options. But it's hard to say on the given information.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 8:54 AM on November 17, 2011

National long-stay visas that follow the uniform Schengen D criteria give you additional C visa rights in other Schengen countries: for your situation, you'd need to apply to the country where you intend to spend the most time. Finding a way to wangle a student visa is probably your best option.
posted by holgate at 9:01 AM on November 17, 2011

You really need to talk to the legal staff at the organization that's funding your work. First because they can probably help you, in terms of fast-tracking an application for whatever visa you need. Second because they may be on the hook if you screw this up. Hopefully they have a team of travel lawyers on call for exactly this situation.
posted by miyabo at 9:34 AM on November 17, 2011

If you can find a research institution that will support your application or with whom you may be collaborating, they may be able to sponsor your application as a researcher for the duration of the project. However, this would require your institution coming to an agreement with the local one in order to ensure you are paid via the sponsor rather than directly.
That's the best I can think of, reflecting on my research stint in the EU (directly employed as Researcher by the institutions) - however, this facility may not be available in each of the Schengen countries, of that I don't know.
posted by infini at 11:35 AM on November 17, 2011

Going through that english language PDF in my link, I notice that it seems to allow application even if the institution sponsoring your research isn't local.
posted by infini at 11:45 AM on November 17, 2011

You're saying it's impossible to for an American to live in Europe for six months unless they have a job or are attending university there? That just seems extremely surprising.

Why is this surprising to you? A standard non-immigrant visa to the US is 90 days maximum. Why do you have an expectation that it should be different for you travelling in the other direction?
posted by DarlingBri at 11:56 AM on November 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Yes, but the US is often pretty anal about visas. It's counterintuitive that it would be so easy for me to spend 90 days in, say, Switzerland but such a pain to get permission for the 91st.
posted by resiny at 12:10 PM on November 17, 2011

It isn't counter-intuitive; it's a 90 day visa.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:17 PM on November 17, 2011

It will always be an arbitrary number - if it was 100 days you'd complain because you couldn't stay 101 days. Work out how your project can work within the rules, or how you can have different rules apply to your situation, like others have suggested. Either way you will need to get your project organisation to sort this out with you, not us.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:25 PM on November 17, 2011

When traveling to foreign countries, you're either visiting, like a tourist to see the Eiffel Tower or Cousin Olaf, or you're studying or you're working. Anything else starts to fall under immigrating. That's why there are limits. No one can go to a foreign country and just live, without meeting some specific requirements. In your case, 90 days is the longest the countries you're visiting want you to be a tourist. If you're working, you need permission to do so.
posted by shoesietart at 2:05 PM on November 17, 2011

Response by poster: I'm not sure why people are arguing with me about whether it's counterintuitive or not. I've traveled plenty and understand just fine what visas are - I just find the Schengen system curious. But anyway, thanks all for the advice and links; I will see what I can figure out.
posted by resiny at 2:50 PM on November 17, 2011

Just in case one of your countries is Ireland, they appear to offer working holiday visas for Americans (according to Wikipedia).

Long-stay visas do exist. My family got one for France for the reason of putting us kids in school there for a semester.
posted by carolr at 4:56 PM on November 17, 2011

You might look into Go Abroad and see what programs are available for the countries you want to stay in. I did the BUNAC program that allowed me to stay and work in England for six months. You have to have been a recent student. With BUNAC, you could do anything, but some countries have specific jobs (au pair, teach English).
posted by shoesietart at 6:56 AM on November 18, 2011

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