How to Stay in Europe Longer Than 90 Days (Schengen Countries): The Ultimate Guide

by Visa Guides & Immigration, Europe144 comments

“How to stay in Europe longer within the Schengen Countries or Area?”

This is one of the most common questions that I get from readers, especially because I have been able to stay in the Schengen Area for more than the usual 90-day limit despite being an unmarried non-EU (non-European Union) national with a third world country passport.

I understand that a lot of people want to have the right to stay for more than 90 days or 3 months, especially since going on a complete Eurotrip can’t be done in such a short span of time. So with this post on how to stay in Europe longer, I will be giving you different ideas and options on how you can legally extend your European vacation! But first, let me give you some background information.

Schengen Area

The Schengen Area is a group of 26 countries that comprise most of Europe. As part of a unified agreement, all of them have agreed to abolish passports and internal border controls. This means that all the Schengen countries act as if they are only ‘one country’ — so every citizen of each member state is free to go anywhere they want. Meanwhile, outsiders who want to enter the Schengen Area would experience border control once at the first country that they enter; but after that, entering other member countries would no longer require further immigration control.

These 26 countries are namely:

[1] Excluding Greenland and the Faroe islands
[2] Excluding overseas departments and territories
[3] Excluding Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and the Caribbean Netherlands
[4] Excluding Svalbard
[5] With special provisions for Ceuta and Melilla

Schengen Countries List

From the above list, 4 of these are non-EU (or EFTA member states that may have border control) Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland — whereas 22 are part of the EU.

However, to date, there are a total of 27 members of the EU; so what happened to the other 5? Well, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, and Romania — are just NOT part of the Schengen Area.

TRIVIA: There are 3 additional European microstates — Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican — that can be considered as de facto within the Schengen Countries given how they don’t have border controls with the countries that surround them. However, it’s important to note that they are not official Schengen member states since they have not signed documents for it. (But of course, it’s fine to visit with a Schengen visa).

– – –

Schengen Visa

The Schengen Visa serves as the basic short-term visa that you will need to be able to stay in all of the 26 countries. However, non-Schengen citizens are allowed to enter the area without this said visa (their passport will only get stamped upon arrival and departure) as long as they are residents of:

  1. Albania[*]
  2. Andorra
  3. Antigua & Barbuda
  4. Argentina
  5. Australia
  6. Bahamas
  7. Barbados
  8. Bermuda
  9. Bosnia & Herzegovina[*]
  10. Brazil
  11. Brunei
  12. Bulgaria
  13. Canada
  14. Chile
  15. Colombia
  16. Costa Rica
  17. Croatia
  18. Cyprus
  19. Dominica
  1. El Salvador
  2. Georgia
  3. Grenada
  4. Guatemala
  5. Honduras
  6. Hong Kong SAR
  7. Israel
  8. Japan
  9. Kiribati
  10. Macao SAR
  11. Malaysia
  12. Marshall Islands
  13. Mauritius
  14. Mexico
  15. Micronesia
  16. Moldova[*]
  17. Monaco
  18. Montenegro[*]
  1. Nauru
  2. New Zealand
  3. Nicaragua
  4. North Macedonia[*]
  5. Palau
  6. Panama
  7. Paraguay
  8. Peru
  9. Romania
  10. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  11. Saint Lucia
  12. Saint Vincent
  13. Samoa
  14. San Marino
  15. Serbia[*]
  16. Seychelles
  1. Singapore
  2. Solomon Islands
  3. South Korea
  4. Taiwan[1]
  5. Timor Leste
  6. Tonga
  7. Trinidad & Tobago
  8. Tuvalu
  9. Ukraine
  10. United Arab Emirates
  11. USA[1]
  12. Uruguay
  13. Vanuatu
  14. Vatican
  15. Venezuela

[*] Visa waiver applies only to holders of biometric passports
[1] Passport must include identity number
NOTE: This list is as of 2020. Ireland, UK, and their territories are allowed limitless entry to the Schengen Area – BUT, due to Brexit, UK citizens will soon have to apply for a visa

– – –

If you are NOT a resident of any of the countries above (which mostly comprises citizens of Africa and Asia) you would need to apply at an embassy to obtain a tourist/short-term Schengen Visa.

Alternatively, check out my comprehensive visa guides per country.

NOTE: It helps to mention that there are non-Schengen members in Europe that allow entry to their country if you have a Schengen Visa, namely: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, North Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, and the Vatican City.

HOWEVER, you must check these details beforehand since their rules might have changed. Plus, customarily, only multiple-entry Schengen visas are allowed. You can check this non-EU countries list for more details and updates.

How to Stay in Europe Longer : Legally!

– – –

The 90-Day Limit

Once you are allowed to enter the Schengen Area — with just your passport or with a short-term visayou are ONLY permitted to stay for 3 months (90 days) per 6 month period (180 days). The 90-day span doesn’t need to be consecutive, it’s treated as cumulative (especially if you have a multiple-entry visa); but the fact remains that after you have stayed in Schengen for a total of 90 days, you have to leave. You are NOT allowed to come back again until the 181st day from the first time you stepped in.

IMPORTANT UPDATE (March 2015): As of 18 October 2013, the Schengen member states changed the calculation of the 180-day period. To know more about this and avoid fines, deportations, and bans in Schengen, please check this article.

If you don’t leave by the time you hit 90 days, you are subject to a fine or deportation — worst case scenario, you will be banned from the Schengen Area for a period of time (1-3 years) or indefinitely. It’s sometimes considered as ‘okay‘ if you stay for a couple more days and even up to a week, but I advise that you don’t try and push your luck especially if you’re on a visa. And if you stay longer than a week, you should know that you’re going to be in big trouble.

Nevertheless, it’s said by most travelers (who are free to enter Schengen countries with just a passport) that southern countries like Greece, France, Spain, and Italy are not so strict on checks. While western countries like Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, and EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) are very firm with entry and exits (primarily at the airports or train stations, more so if you’re going to an isolated island).

Still and the same, as I’ve mentioned, you shouldn’t ‘push it‘. Follow the rules and if you really want to know how to stay in Europe longer than the 90-day limit, below are the different ways that you can stay longer, legally!

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT an embassy officer nor a migration agent. I am only here to provide you ideas on how you can stay in Schengen countries longer. If you ever need any help with visas or procedures, please check the links that I have provided and contact the appropriate departments instead. Also, I do not guarantee that the information below will still remain to be true; therefore, please make it your responsibility to recheck the facts. Thank you!

» Get a Europe Student Visa

How to Stay in Europe Long Term: Study

Student visas in all Schengen countries are not hard to obtain as long as you are accepted, enrolled, or invited by a university or school — which, of course, you should apply for before entering a Schengen country. Naturally, you would have to pay for these courses but you can always work part-time while studying since most student visa-holders are allowed to do so. Otherwise, you could try to get a scholarship, apply to an exchange program (if you’re still studying), or simply enroll in FREE universities.

Yes, you read that right… free!

There are actually several countries in Europe that chose to eradicate tuition fees for both local and international would-be students and they are listed below (along with other countries who have the cheapest tuition). So if you’re looking for ways on how to stay in Europe longer, below are your top options!

Finland

Lowest yearly tuition fee possible: FREE
Regardless of nationality, tuition fees in Finland are absolutely free at whatever level! (Plans of putting tuition fees on non-EU students for 2016 have been totally abandoned). But as per any student application abroad, you would need to prove that you can handle your own living expenses.
Proof of ‘means of support’ per month: At least $630+ (Php 27,800+)
For more information: See ‘Studying in Finland
.

Norway

Lowest yearly tuition fee possible: FREE
No matter your nationality — local or international — state universities and university colleges in Norway do NOT charge tuition fees, and much like Finland, it applies to all levels: undergraduate, masters and Ph.D. (Some specialized courses might still have fees, though small, so always recheck with the university. Private institutions, on the other hand, would still have fees.)
Proof of ‘means of support’ per month: At least $1,000+ (Php 44,200+)
For more information: See ‘Studying in Norway
.

Austria

Lowest yearly tuition fee possible: FREE or starts at $400 (Php 18,200+)
If you’re from a 3rd world country, some universities in Austria will exempt you from paying any tuition, whereas any other non-EU resident will most likely just pay around $400 (at the lowest possible).
Proof of ‘means of support’ per month: At least $900+ (Php 40,000+)
For more information: See ‘Studying in Austria
.

Germany

Lowest yearly tuition fee possible: FREE or $1,000 (Php 44,200+)
As of 2014, all public German universities offer higher education free-of-charge not only to local but international students! However, it’s important to note that this is true for the undergraduate level only and that there might still be some administration fees (but the cost would start at about $57 or Php 2,500+). Just make sure to check that the course you’re applying for is in English; however, if you’re fluent in German, that’s better.
Proof of ‘means of support’ per month: At least $770 (Php 34,000+)
For more information: See ‘Cost of Studying in Germany‘, ‘List of Free German Universities‘ and ‘Studying in Germany
.

Hungary

Lowest yearly tuition fee possible: $1,000+ (Php 44,200+)
The good thing about Hungary is that unlike the Scandinavian countries, it is one of the European countries that has a more affordable cost of living, thus, proving your ‘solvency’ would be easier than the others.
Proof of ‘means of support’ per month: At least $566+ (Php 25,000+)
For more information: See ‘Studying in Hungary
.

France

Lowest yearly tuition fee possible: $1,000+ (Php 44,200+)
You’re lucky if you can find a cheap university in Paris because the cheapest ones are actually found outside of the capital (Lyon is one example). I have actually been told that there are public universities that can only cost $300 a year but since I wasn’t provided with the exact university names, I leave it up to you to do the research.
Proof of ‘means of support’ per month: At least $500+ (Php 22,000+)
For more information: See ‘Studying in France
.

Belgium

Lowest yearly tuition fee possible: $1,100+ (Php 50,000+)
I have tried this option before through the University of Antwerp for one of their 1-year Master Programs, and the process of obtaining a student visa was fairly easy given how I was backed up by the university who had accepted my application. The tuition was worth $2,000+ (Php 88,500+) which is almost double the lowest yearly tuition possible; so if you want to get the cheapest, try the University of Leuven, Hasselt University, or the University of Ghent (I didn’t manage to apply for these three since I was late for their deadlines, that’s why I resorted to saving up $2K to pursue the University of Antwerp).
Proof of ‘means of support’ per month: At least $730 (Php 32,300+)
For more information: See ‘Studying in Belgium
.

Italy

Lowest yearly tuition fee possible: $1,500+ (Php 66,400+)
Italy is known for providing studies on fashion, history, and liberal arts at an affordable cost for international students. Living expenses should be easy to handle once you know the economical places to eat and stay in.
Proof of ‘means of support’ per month: At least $390 (Php 17,200+)
For more information: See ‘Studying in Italy
.

» READ: How to Save Money for Travel

Should undergraduate or master programs remain to be too costly for you, if not the shorter courses that span for a year or below, consider the language programs since these studies are often cheaper! (Italy is one example of this, as well as Spain).

TIP: For ‘means of support’, it’s always best to add more to the minimum requirement. It also helps to add a sponsor (even if it’s just on paper) even if you already can support yourself — this is what I’ve done when I applied for a university in Belgium; it’s always best to ‘overdeliver’.

Moreover, if you’re from the Philippines or Asia like me, before you can study overseas for a business or graduate school, check if you need to have a GMAT or GRE certification since most Asian universities are not ‘recognized’ abroad. (GRE is said to be the easiest, which I have done. Others reviewed for months on this, but I only reviewed for a day since I was in a rush; and yet I was fine! But surely, I don’t advise that you do the same). Also, if your studies were not conducted in English, a majority of the European schools would need a TOEFL or IELTS from you.

– – –

» Find Work or Stay as a Freelancer

Find Work in Europe : Stay Longer in Schengen Area Legally

There are different ways to do ‘work’, some are conventional but some are unique. Check out the list below to see what best fits you in order to know how to stay in Europe longer!

Apply for Normal Work

This is where you go through the usual process of finding a company (in the form of a transfer, internship, part-time, or full-time work) and then apply for a work visa.
For more information: See EuroJobs or Europa
.

Teach english Abroad

This is not the same as those ‘jobs on the road’ where you hold private English classes to people who don’t have it as a first language. Why? Because doing so is a risk. A short-term tourist Schengen Visa is NOT a work permit. Sure, working can still be done in secret (with Spain & Italy as the most tolerant) but if you somehow attract the attention of authorities, it can get nasty. So if you really want to teach legally, secure a work visa or working holiday visa first (that will make you stay longer too) by searching for opportunities in recognized schools or institutions. Teaching English while under a student visa is possible as well. Countries that are typically open to English-teaching jobs are the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Germany, Spain, and Italy. For these jobs, a TEFL certificate is a usual requirement.
For more information: See TEFL or ESLCafe
.

Join a Language Assistant Program

Often run by governments, it gives non-EU citizens a chance to stay in the Schengen countries or area longer in exchange for offering aid in teaching the English language — they even pay you for the service you’re doing. There are only a few European countries that offer this kind of program and below are their basic requirements:

  • France: must come from one of their 60 partner countries, age 20-30, have a basic level of French, completed at least 2 years of university (https://www.ciep.fr/en)
  • Italy: must be a resident of the USA, have Italian proficiency, a university graduate or undergraduate, 3.25 GPA (https://siteprogram.pacioli.net/)
  • Spain: must be a resident of USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, China, or EU, have a basic level of Spanish, a university graduate, or in their last year of university (https://www.mecd.gob.es/)
  • Switzerland: must be a resident of USA, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, France, Italy, or Spain, age 21-30, have sound language knowledge of the region (can be German/French/Italian), a university student or graduate (source)
  • For openings in other countries, check here.
    .

Be an Au Pair

Usually done for at least 6 months or more, working as an au pair is like being a domestic assistant as you live with a host family that provides free accommodation and food. Other than providing childcare, you are also typically asked to do light housework as you receive a salary for it.
For more information: See IAPA, Great Au Pair, or Europa Au Pair
.

Do a Working Holiday

If you are 25 to 31 and a citizen of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, you are eligible to get a working holiday visa that grants you the right to stay, work, or find work in the Schengen Area for one to two years .
For more information: See Work Holiday Visas for how to stay in Europe longer
.

Apply for a Freelancer or Self-Employment Visa

If you’re a freelancer, Germany’s self-employment visa is your top solution in finding ways on how to stay in Europe longer. This is not the kind of visa that makes you move your ‘company’ to Germany, but it’s a visa for being an artist, writer, digital nomad, accountant, etc. (their definition of being an artist is also pretty loose, so no matter your freelancer profession, there’s a chance you’re admitted). The best part? Application for this type of visa can be done while you’re in Germany and it can be approved in a week provided that you have fulfilled all the necessary requirements. If however, your tourist visa is close to expiring upon application, they will give you a temporary 3-month visa as they process your request (some people take this course of action since even if they don’t get approved, they have already managed to extend their stay).
For more information: See Berlin.de or this Get a Residence in Germany as an American for how to stay in Europe longer
UPDATE: Spain has also created a freelancer visa that’s called “autonomo” and the process is somewhat similar to Germany’s. For more information, check SpainGuru.

NOTE: Some other EU countries seemingly also provide self-employment visas like Italy, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, and Netherlands. However, I can’t find official links available to direct you to; so it’s up to you to look more into it by inquiring through the respective local embassies in your location. But basically, if you have a specific member state in mind that you really want to go to, simply ask the embassy if they can accommodate self-employment visa applications like this.

Looking for a Long-Term Travel Insurance?

Providing great coverage and flexibility without costing a fortune, SafetyWing is currently the preferred travel insurance of digital nomads!

.

Be a Volunteer

Much like English-teaching jobs, there are volunteer jobs as well that are ‘under-the-table’but apart from being risky, it’s not a legal way for how to stay in Europe longer. Examples are fruit-picking jobs, hostel work, etc. (this is why most of the time their websites advise that you don’t mention to immigration officers that you are going to work on a farm, for example). Therefore, to be able to remain or to be able to become a volunteer for a longer period of time, you would have to either get a work visa/permit or sign up for accredited volunteer programs that could whip out a work visa for you. These often come with a fee, but some can be very affordable.
For more information: See Europa or Voluntary Service for how to stay in Europe longer
.

Do a Cultural Homestay

This is not like the informal homestay set-ups that I have discussed in this article: [click]. Instead, this is a more formal arrangement between a non-profit organization and a foreign country wherein they partner with wannabe travelers like you and send you to a host family elsewhere. For instance, the organization Cultural Homestay International has a ‘World Explorers’ program wherein in exchange for your 3-months worth of accommodation abroad, all you have to do is share your native language with your hosts for 15 hours per week. (These casual English conversation lessons usually run 5 days a week, 3 hours a day). If you want to travel for a year, it’s possible for them to combine multiple programs in different destinations to make it all sum up to 12 months!
For more information: See (CHI) World Explorers Program for how to stay in Europe longer

– – –

» Do a Union or Reunion in Europe

Family Reunion or Union in Europe

The items below are common solutions on how to stay in Europe longer. They have no ‘special’ tricks or tips but they remain to be conventional ways of obtaining a longer visa in the Schengen Area:

Family reunion

Applicable if you have close kinship ties to a Schengen citizen or permanent resident.
.

Marriage or Fiance Visa

Self-explanatory. If you have fallen in love with a European from any of the Schengen countries this is the way to go!
.

Cohabitation

If you’re not the ‘marrying’ type, you can choose to go for a live-in visa with your boyfriend/girlfriend who is a resident/citizen of one of the Schengen countries. Customarily, applications like this become successful if you can prove that you’re in a relationship for at least 2 years or have lived together for at least 1 year. Belgium, for example, has a great cohabitation visa program because you can apply for it while in the country.
.

Home Stays

There are some European families that are willing to take a foreigner in as a part of their household for a long period of time. This can usually be a part of a student’s schooling experience or as a part of an organization for cultural or language immersion (like #8 of the previous section) who would often need a fee from you.

– – –

» Apply for Citizenship

Applying for Citizenship: European Union

This (citizenship) is more of an option for those who are really focused on staying in the Schengen Area indefinitely. Obtaining this can be done through different ways:

Through Marriage

…with a European in the Schengen Area. On average, it takes 3 years; some can only take a year.
.

Through Purchase or Investments

If you got the money, you can obtain an EU citizenship through investments or purchase of property (or even purchase of citizenship). Examples of these countries are Austria, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, and Slovakia. Take note that the price to pay can start at $320,000+ to millions. There are also Schengen member states like the Netherlands and France that offer residency permits for a limited period of time, in exchange for payments or investments at a minimum of $300,000+.
.

Through Ancestry or Naturalization

I call this the ‘Waiting Game‘. If you are able to obtain a long-term visa that will enable you to stay in a Schengen member state for 5 to 10 years, then your citizenship is ostensibly secured. On the other hand, if you can inspect your family tree and discover that you have ancestors who are citizens or have become residents in EU countries in the past, your years of ‘waiting‘ can be shortened! Examples of these are:

  • Ireland: This is NOT a Schengen member state, but since Irish citizens are allowed to enter Europe without limits, acquiring citizenship through Ireland would be a good step and you can achieve this if you have an Irish parent or grandparent. Your citizenship immediately becomes effective upon registration.
  • Germany: The country freely provides citizenship to children and grandchildren of former Germans who were deprived of their citizenship status between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945 on racial, political, or ethnic grounds.
  • Italy: Once proven that you have Italian ancestors, you can become a citizen by naturalization if you find a way to remain in the country for at least 3 years (it seems long but better than the norm of 10 years).
  • ★ Spain: Like Italy, 10 years is also the usual length required to become a Spanish citizen; but, it can be shortened to 2 years if your country is a former colony of Spain: these are Latin American countries, Sephardic origins, Andorra, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, and the Philippines. But take note that you must be a natural-born citizen in these countries and aside from the 2-year required stay for naturalization, processing your application can possibly take 2 more years.
    Source: Spanish Naturalization for how to stay in Europe longer
    .

*As with most cases of naturalization, countries would commonly require that you have basic knowledge of their language, history, and geography before fully processing your citizenship. Also, you must stay there legally; for example, staying for 2 years in Spain without legal papers does not qualify you for naturalization.

– – –

» Hold a Long-Term Tourist Visa

Apply for a Schengen Long-Term Tourist Visa

A big part of the Schengen Area’s member states do NOT allow long-term tourist visas, except for a few which could grant you a Type D visa (maximum 1 year) with the condition that you will NOT work. These countries are:

France

As long as you have a solid reason and you have enough money for the duration of your stay (said to be at minimum $3,000 per month or Php 132,000), you can be granted a long-term visitor visa that can last to a year (but can be subject to a renewal depending on your reason for wanting to stay longer, your financial means to prove that you’re not going to need to work, etc.) Take note that this type of visa would allow you to take residency in France ONLY starting from the 4th month of your stay (you can still tour the rest of the Schengen countries from the 1st to 3rd months). Anyhow, in a sense, you can still travel around after the 4th month because there are no border checks on land; but again, that’s a huge risk and it’s illegal. If you get caught, well… you know what could happen.
For more information: See France Consulate or ask your local French embassy for more details on how to stay in Europe longer
.

Sweden

If you have special grounds or reasons, Sweden is willing to give out a long-stay tourist visa but be warned that the process can take up to 8 months. It’s said that most of the people who are successful with this are those who have family or relatives in Sweden, but it’s still worth a try if you’re willing to go through the processing time.
For more information: See Swedish Migration or consult your local Swedish embassy for more details on how to stay in Europe longer
.

Spain

There is a type of tourist residence visa in Spain called “non-lucrative” and it is geared towards retired or rich persons who can stay for 1 year in the country. This is as long as they can provide proof that they don’t need to acquire work in Spain, that they are not carrying out any economic activity in Spain, and/or that their clients are not based in Spain — so basically, that the person generates their income outside of Spain. One important proof they need is for you to show that you have a monthly income of at least 2,130 EUR.
For more information: See Spain Embassy or consult your local Swedish embassy for more details on how to stay in Europe longer
.

I have found articles that mention Italy and Portugal as additional countries that can provide long-stay tourist visas; however, I cannot find information in any embassy website. Nonetheless, you can always try your chances and ask your local embassy for more information.

– – –

» In & Out Hop

Schengen Area: In and Out Hop Travel

I have listed out the 26 member states of the Schengen Area at the top of this article — keep these in mind very well, and once you do, plan a ‘EuroTrip’ that will make you hop in and out of these Schengen countries while managing to technically still remain within the European territory. After all, this is one of the best ways on how to stay in Europe longer!

What do I mean by this? Well, you can tour around different Schengen member states like France, Spain, or Germany and by the time you hit your 90-day limit, go and hop over to a non-Schengen European country like Croatia, UK, Macedonia, or Turkey to wait until you hit the 181st day so that you can come back to the Schengen Area again.

Just find the right mix for this, save up, plan it well, and you can definitely manage to stay for a very long time in Europe.

RELATED READ: Schengen Short Stay Calculator

Take note that this set-up works best for those who hold passports that have the privilege of entering the European zone visa-free.

Unfortunately, this could be a bit tricky for those who would typically need a visa to enter any European country since most visa applications have to be done in your home country… and to the best of my knowledge, it’s customarily NOT allowed to apply for 2 or more similar short-term visas in one appointment. (Correct me if I’m wrong). What you can do though is to get a Schengen Tourist Visa for 90 days (3 months) and then get another 180 days (6 months) tourist visa for the UK or through other European countries and that would technically enable you to stay in the European area for a long time. (Best to get multiple entry visas too so that, for example, you can go in and out of UK to France as many times as you want).

TIP: Let’s say your visa is soon ending and you want to apply for another visa at a different country without going back to your home country (like heck, just think of the flight costs!). In most cases, this is NOT allowed unless you can properly justify why you’re unable to do it in your home country. I know of some travelers who have used the reason of “I’m traveling long term, that’s why” and have ended up as successful in their appeal. However, it’s still important for you to know that it’s customarily a tough case and that it might even involve a lot of pleading. But then again… there’s no harm in trying, right?

Overall, if you want to do use this method of ‘hopping’ around, just please remember to:

  • Be informed. Take note of the non-Schengen countries’ policies with regard to the number of days that you are allowed to stay in their domain (this is in connection with your passport/nationality).
  • Do your own research. Be updated. Take note of any sudden changes to the Schengen member states’ list.

– – –

» Schengen Visa Extensions

How to Stay in Europe Longer : Schengen Visa Extensions

This is a delicate subject because almost all Schengen countries do NOT tolerate extensions once you get into the area with a short-term (less than 90 days) tourist visa. Be that as it may, the good news is: it’s still and always possible if you’re resourceful and creative enough. (Extensions for long-term visas for studies, work, etc. are a different matter altogether).

If you’re rather one of the nationals who are allowed to come into Schengen countries with just a passport, be mindful that it can prove to be more difficult because you technically don’t have a visa on hand to apply an extension for — sure, there are chances that you can apply and obtain a visa without a need to go back to your home country; however, I seldom hear of situations that are successful in doing this. (You can try and do your research since some embassies might be able to accommodate such requests depending on your nationality and situation).

Now the typical grounds that can grant you an easy extension can be cases of:

  • Force Majuere – unforeseen circumstances that are not under your control (i.e. bad weather conditions, airline strikes, etc.); this is the only situation that does not require fees for extension
  • Humanitarian reasons – if you have fallen ill or a close family member has fallen ill or died
  • Serious personal reasons – individual cases
    .

These can allow you to stay for more days either in the whole of the Schengen Area (very rare case) or just inside the country that you are in (that you chose, that is your point of entry or the place you’ve stayed the longest — it’s a case by case basis but this is what mostly happens when you are granted an extension: you’re only allowed to stay in the country that you applied for).

But of course, you wouldn’t want to fall ill nor would you want a family member to die just so you can extend your visa, right? So what other options do you have?

Luckily, there seems to be some Schengen countries that are quite lenient with extensions and the ones that I know of are:

  1. PORTUGAL
    They can offer up to two extensions, for as long as you can support yourself and provide the necessary documents. (It’s said to be best done in Lisbon).
    For more information: See Immigration or ask the embassy on how to stay in Europe longer
    .
  2. SWEDEN
    I’ve heard a lot of successful stories from friends who have managed to extend their visa in Sweden, but it’s important to note that most of them were able to do so because they had a Swedish friend, family, or ‘special someone’ to back them up. I guess it’s a way of ensuring a Migration Board that you have a local who can support you (even if it’s just on paper).
    For more information: See Migrationsverket or ask the embassy on how to stay in Europe longer
    .

Note: Some people say that short-stay tourist visas can also be extended in France; however, I couldn’t find any reliable source online for this; still and the same, it’s worth looking into – let me know if this is indeed possible.

.

» Other Possibilities due to Bilateral Agreements with…

US Citizens
I have found in forums online saying that U.S. citizens can stay for 90 days in Poland, leave for one day, and come back to have another 90-day stay. This is said to be one of the best ways on how to stay in Europe longer because of some sort of bilateral agreement or declaration between the U.S. and Poland. I’ve certainly read of accounts that said that they were successful in doing so and have had Polish officials confirming this set-up. However, I advise that you check with them yourself since I can’t find a reliable online source. Make it a point to verify if this is true since it goes beyond the Schengen rules; it’s even possible that the extension will only allow you to stay in Poland only and not in the rest of Schengen.
.

Australian Citizens
Australia has bilateral agreements with Denmark and Germany that override the Schengen conditions allowing Australians to stay up to 3 months or 90 days in each of these two countries. In theory, Australians can stay indefinitely by going back and forth between Germany and Denmark every 90 days. Of course, the restriction of no more than 90 days in any 180 day period in the Schengen area will come into play if they venture out to other member states.
SOURCE: Visa exemptions for Australians
.

I have not done extensive research on ALL non-EU nationalities, so I hope you take the action to recheck your rights in the Schengen Area since your home country might have these same bilateral agreements that will allow you to stay longer in Europe.

Now, if I may add, I have also discovered several ‘success extension stories’ in other Schengen countries using the methods below which are both worth a shot. But again, be aware that some countries may accept this while some others may not:

  • Register as legal partners if you have a significant other who is a national of one of the Schengen countries, it’s possible to come into the country with a tourist visa and then immediately jumpstart a live-in or cohabitation agreement (NOT marriage) to be able to remain in the country longer even after the expiry of your tourist visa. Customarily, applications like this only become successful if you can prove that you’re in a relationship for at least 2 years or have lived together for at least 1 year. (Countries that I know of who can take on these kinds of applications are Belgium and the Netherlands.)
  • Partner with an NGO or Tourism Board – if you can find an NGO, tourism board, or organization that can vouch for you, it’s possible to gain an easy extension. Some travel bloggers have been able to use this method as they offer their skills of writing or blog ‘reach’ to the appropriate institutions. This is definitely worth your while, especially if a certain migration office is open to other types of visa applications (i.e. I’ve read an account of someone that’s able to do this in Romania; even if it’s not part of the Schengen Area yet, some legit member states can conceivably acknowledge this circumstance).

• • •

Booking Essentials

Book an AirBnB
Booking.com

TIP: It’s a good idea to crosscheck your World Nomads‘ total travel insurance price with that of SafetyWing because the latter is often priced cheaper (especially when it involves travel that spans for several weeks or months — and even years!). However, take note that SafetyWing’s affordability typically means lesser coverage than World Nomads. So please always ensure that you read the fine print in order to decipher which travel insurance company is the right fit for you and your trip!

Looking for more travel tips for Europe?

Check out my other detailed Europe travel guides!

• • •

How to Stay in Europe Longer Than 90 Days

Overall

I hope this guide on how to stay in Europe longer helped shed some light on the 90-day limit rule in the Schengen countries; plus, I certainly hope that in one way or another, I helped give you an idea of how you can prolong your European journey without breaking the law!

Should you ever have any other tips in mind that should be included in this guide, please feel free to leave a comment below. And if there are any corrections, do kindly let me know of that too!

Before I end this post, I leave you with the following general reminders:

  • Do your own research. I cannot stress this enough. Take my advice on how to stay in Europe longer with a grain of salt. Besides, the information that I post here is based on my own findings and experiences, so it’s your responsibility to ensure that the facts that I have here are still up-to-date or true at the time that you are reading this article. I say this because I certainly don’t want you to waste your money or time when you suddenly find out that certain conditions are changed, eradicated, etc.
  • Check migration rules. Be well-informed of the rules that apply to you depending on your nationality or passport. Know your limits and your benefits. Speaking of a passport, always ensure that it is NOT expiring anytime soon.

Ultimately, I hope that this whole article on how to stay in Europe longer can also be a way for you to connect to others who have had successful experiences of staying longer in the Schengen Area; therefore, do feel free to post your questions in the comments section below. However, as I said, be reminded that I am NOT an embassy officer nor a migration agent. Any queries relating to such things should be directed to your local embassy or migration board, and NOT to me. Thank you and good luck!

• • •

Have you seen my latest vlog?

About Me

Solo Female Travel Blogger: Aileen Adalid

Hey there! I am Aileen Adalid.
At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful digital nomad (online entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.

My mission? To show you how it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel no matter the odds — and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel hacks, guides, resources, tips, and MORE!

Follow Along

CURRENTLY BASED IN: The Philippines

Trending Now

Up for Grabs

Desktop and mobile Lightroom presets are now on SALE at 50% off!

Lightroom Presets Before
Lightroom Presets After

Learn Today

How to Start a Successful Blog

and Earn Money!

144 Comments

1 14 15 16
  1. Jim

    Hi Aileen, great research, big thank you. Me (UK) and my gal M (NL) got married in NL 2 years ago mainly due to Brexit fears. She’s always been based in NL and me in the UK. This was an easy deal while we were in the EU but now it’s a potential problem especially with Covid. If I have this right M can stay in the UK for up to 6 months? but I can only stay in NL 90 days out of every 180. Given what you say about the Dutch and Belgium authorities it seems I might not have to much trouble extending the 90 days if I need to? Fingers crossed. Can’t wait until we rejoin the EU and we will, minus the £ of course! All the best Jim

    Reply
  2. James Duffy

    Aileen thanks very much for your analysis of alternatives for staying longer than 3 months in Europe. I’m from the UK and my fiancee from the US is due to visit me in Poland. I’m registered in Poland for 2 years and I would like her to be able to stay beyond 90 days of course. I’ll try asking for the option for her to leave for one day only and return to Poland. Many thanks

    Reply
  3. Tyler

    Thank you so much for taking the time and doing the research to put this all on here. It is very helpful and easy to read.

    Reply
1 14 15 16

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This