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How To Stay In Europe Over 90 Days Without Violating The Schengen Law

Schengen law can be a bit complicated, as it not only varies by the country you are visiting in Europe, but it also varies by the country you are a resident of. Certain non-European countries have different agreements with the EU when it comes to Schengen visas that make the visitation a bit more flexible for work purposes versus tourist purposes. For the purposes of keeping things simple, we’ll focus on on the Schengen visa and how Schengen law pertains to US residents traveling Europe for extended periods of time.

What Is Schengen Law?

Schengen law is an agreement among countries within the EU that allows for seamless travel beyond country borders for extended periods of time for both its residents and visitors alike without the need to present a passport at every turn. However, remember that Europe is not a monolithic area, and therefore it has different visa rules that vary by those countries involved. That means you’d have to follow different guidelines for visiting France than you would Croatia, for example.

The advantageous side of a Schengen visa is that by default it will allow you easy entry to 26 countries in Europe for up to 90 days. This is great if you only need 3 months of travel, as you won’t be caught up negotiating with every country border agent on an individual basis. But if you are a born traveler and crusader of the unknown, that may not always be enough. Considering that Peugeot lease clients are authorized to have vehicles for up to 6 months at a time, getting creative with your visiting strategy is crucial.

Creative Ways To Stay In Europe Beyond 90 Days

The same rules that make Schengen visas a bit confusing and bureaucratic also provide the loopholes you can use to your advantage in order to stay as a tourist beyond 90 days. I’m sure if Sun Tzu had been a tourist in Europe today, he would have had something quite clever to say to sum that notion up.

It’s important to note that countries in the Schengen area and countries in the EU are not one in the same. It is possible to be part of the EU while not being part of the Schengen agreement, while conversely it's also possible to be part of the Schengen agreement yet not be part of the EU.

This is key to understanding how to “reset the clock” on your travels and make you eligible to travel beyond the 90 day limit. For instance, the United Kingdom is part of the EU; however, it is not part of the Schengen agreement. So you can visit a Schengen area for 90 days, then head to UK for a couple of months—which resets the clock —and then you can legally head back to a different country of interest with a Schengen visa.

You can stay for around 60 days or more in most non-Schengen countries such as Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, and the UK. So the basic rule here is for you to stay 90 days in the Schengen area, then visit a non-Schengen area. The creative part of this is deciding how you want to split up your journey to create an epic European road trip. Just be mindful of the countries covered by our inclusive insurance policy and 24/7 roadside assistance program if you'll be traveling by car using our Peugeot  short term lease program.

Long-Term Tourist Visas

Few countries do allow a long-term tourist visa and, in most cases, it’s valid for about a year. France is one such country that permits you to request for this sort of visa. However, you need to have a dependable line of cash in the bank in order to be considered, and you won’t have the liberty to work. Also, the French department never outright states the amount of money you have to have in a savings account—some say it's something around $31,000. You can get further details from the French Consulate, but don’t expect an easy answer—their application process is about one month long.

Sweden also offers long-term tourist visa for up to one year. However, getting a visa is a long process with a waiting time close to eight months, so it’s not something that can be done on a whim. Portugal, Spain, and Italy also offer the opportunity to have the extended tourist visa, however it is applicable only for retired citizens and those who have a steady cash flow.

Traveling around Europe can be an adventure for anyone who wants to see everything it has to offer. If you want to have long-term travel experience in Europe, just know that it is possible. It’s up to you to choose a method that is right for you. Use a Schengen visa as a means to broaden your experiences, not limit them! 

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