Schengen visas - How to count your Schengen 90 days

Date: 19 Apr 2022

Marco Mazzeschi

How to count your Schengen 90 days

Non-EU visitors can stay in the Schengen countries for maximum 90 days any 180 day period, but the calculation is not easy!

What is the “Schengen area”?

The Schengen area includes 26 EU countries:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

These countries have signed an agreement that allows people their citizens to travel freely within their borders

See Visa policy (europa.eu)

Who does/does not need a visa to travel to Schengen?

  • Citizens from certain countries (for example USA, Canada, Japan, Australia) are allowed to enter and stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days every 180 days without requiring a visa — List of third countries whose nationals must be in possession of a visa when crossing the external borders
  • while for other countries (for example China, India, etc.) any entry — despite the intended duration — will require a visa-List of third countries whose nationals are exempted from holding a visa when crossing the external borders

Below you can scan an interactive map with a full list of countries whose citizens must have a visa when crossing the Schengen external borders and a list of countries whose citizens are exempt from that requirement

How long can you stay in the Schengen area?

Third-country nationals (e.g person who is not a citizen of the European Union and Iceland, Norway, Liechstein and Switzerland), irrespective of being visa required or exempt — who intend to travel to the Schengen area for a short trip, business or tourism, can stay for

How are the 90/180 days calculated?

Date of entry: shall be considered as the first day of stay on the territory of the Schengen Member State

Date of exit: shall be considered as the last day of stay in the Schengen Area.

This rule applies only to short-term visitora. Periods of stay authorised under a residence permit or a long-stay visa shall not be taken into account in the calculation of the duration of stay on the territory of the Member States.

Reference to “any 180-day period” implies the application of a “moving” 180-day reference period, looking backwards at each day of the stay (be it at the entry or at the day of an actual check), into the last 180-day period, in order to verify if the 90 days / 180-day requirement continues to be fulfilled.

Calculation is often not easy and the EU has created an online CALCULATOR

which can be used by any traveller. More detailed guidelines can be found in the USER MANUAL FOR USING THE SCHENGEN CALCULATOR.

What happens if you overstay the 90 days?

A non-EU national who stays in the Schengen area beyond 90 days (without a residence permit or long-stay visa) is illegally present, which can result in a re-entry ban to the Schengen area. Working in the Schengen area without a work permit is also illegal (even if less than 90 days) and can likewise result in a re-entry ban to the Schengen area.

Depending on each Member State, administrative and monetary penalties may also apply.

The new Entry/Exit System (EES): over-stayers shall be automatically identified

The Entry/Exit System (EES) will be operational in 2022 (starting date to be confirmed). It is an automated IT system for registering travellers from third-countries, both short-stay visa holders and visa exempt travellers, each time they cross an EU external border.

The system will register the person’s name, type of the travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and captured facial images) and the date and place of entry and exit.

EES will replace the current system of manual stamping of passports, which does not allow a systematic detection of over-stayers (travellers who have exceeded the maximum duration of their authorised stay).

EES will contribute to preventing irregular migration also identifying more efficiently over-stayers as well as cases of document and identity fraud.

See Entry-Exit System (europa.eu)

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