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Quick Visa Question
midgelson
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I’m planning a 4-6 month backpacking trip around Western Europe for next year with my fiance and I’m not sure if a Schengen visa is needed. We’re looking to backpack for the first 3 months (8-10 countries) , then route back to Italy and settle somewhere for the final 1-3 months. We are both U.S. citizens.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Don
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http://www.eurotrip….

US citz, for example, are allowed 90 days max in a 180 day period in Schengen without a pre-arranged visa for a longer stay. Note that EU and Schengen are not the same. Also note that UK is not part of Schengen.

Suggestion if you don’t want to go through the visa hassle: spend any days more than 90 in UK and non-Schengen countries. Riskier suggestion: use a very cheap Ryanair ticket out of Schengen as your proof of onward travel if questioned for it upon arrival. Whether or not you actually take the flight is up to you.

midgelson
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Don,
Thanks for the input! I am going to look into the visas and see how much hassle it will be to obtain. Worst case I will use your trick and buy some cheap oneway Ryanairs.

Would I have problems at the beginning of the trip when I landed in, lets say Italy, if my return tickets were 6 months in advance without the visa? Or is it more during my travels between countries after 3 months of being in schengen countries trying to cross some borders? Thanks again for the info!

oldlady
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Quote:
Would I have problems at the beginning of the trip when I landed in, lets say Italy, if my return tickets were 6 months in advance without the visa?
You might have a problem landing in Italy, or you might have a problem getting on the plane in the first place. If Italy won’t let you in, the airline may have to fly you back home at their expense. Since they don’t want to do that, they’re fairly careful about checking if you don’t have a round trip ticket within 3 months.

Don
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Generally, you must have proof of onward travel within 90 days out of the Schengen border. That’s not necessarily a round-trip ticket. If you have evidence that you plan to stay for 90 days only doing tourist-type stuff, then proof out of Schengen, that might suffice. I can’t give you legal advice what to do—that’s up to you—but I have done this on a few recent occasions, and have been lucky so far. I realize that I risk a 2,000 EUR fine, immediate deportation at my own expense (and one-way last minute flights across the ocean are quite expensive), and ban from re-entry for, say, 2 years, and a big red X in my passport signaling to every border guard in the future that they need to give me much additional scrutiny. As oldlady says, airlines also face fines for delivering someone to a border who is ineligible to legally enter, so airlines also look for visas and/or proof of onward travel before they issue boarding cards.

In practical terms, if you don’t show up with tons of stuff; say you’re going to work, or say you’re not sure what you’re going to do, or otherwise be evasive or unclear about your plans beyond just doing tourist stuff; don’t look or smell like a vagabond or pot head, then you probably won’t even receive additional scrutiny. But do know that many countries take their Schengen border responsibilities more seriously, and can request proof of insurance, proof of lodgings, and proof of sufficient funds. The link I gave you will give you a summary of requirements for the specific country you plan to make first entry in to Schengen Land.

midgelson
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Thank you both for all the great info. I think I will look into getting a visa and do things legit and see where that takes me……and maybe have a ryanair one way to the UK 90 days out in my backpocket just in case!