Can I stay in Schengen area after my visa expires if I enter while the visa is valid?
I have an Egyptian passport and a valid one year multiple-entry Schengen visa, which will expire in mid-Sept. 2014. Can I enter a Schengen country a day before it expires for a short trip and exit after it expires? What is the penalty for staying in the Schengen area after the end of its validity?
You can enter a Schengen country on the last day of validity of your visa but, unlike US visas, you must also legally leave the Schengen area before your visa expires (or obtain some other visa or legal means to stay). It's also perfectly possible to enter on a visa and stay and leave on another one.
If you are entering on the last day of validity and you don't have any other (Schengen) visa, I would expect the border guards to be somewhat suspicious so it would be best to have a good explanation or a plan to leave the area in time. As you might know, your passport and your visa should also be checked upon leaving the Schengen area so if you have not been caught before, you are likely to be found out when trying to return to your country of residence.
If you are found to have overstayed, the exact penalty will depend on the country (those rules have not been harmonized in the whole Schengen area), on whether you were caught at the exit port or in another context and, to some extent, on the border guard or police officer (if you are already leaving and are only a couple of days late, you might get lucky but if you are caught within the country after a few months, it's something else).
Generally speaking, a fine is likely and an entry ban is possible. Such a ban would be registered in a database called the SIS and would make it impossible for you to enter the whole Schengen area (and probably also more difficult to obtain a visa in the future after that). As an example, here are the rules for the Netherlands.
I had this exact discussion with an embassy worker at the Finland embassy. You will be fined unless(not sure if they stamp something on your passport) and until there was some event outside your control i.e. volcano erupted, flight got cancelled.
in addition to that: fines are often in the range or EUR500 and (at least if caught within the country, to a lesser extend upon leaving) a ban on entry to the Schengen zone is a real possibility (usually 1-3yr) - and even if no ban is imposed, the late exit will be recorded and will be known to whoever might process your next visa application.
@DumbCoder Presumably, this person would be speaking about Finland. Both law and practices do differ between countries. Formally, even if you have a serious reason to stay, you're supposed to approach the authorities *before the expiration of your visa* to get an extension.
I seriously doubt US border agents will look kindly on you if you overstay your visa. You'd be an illegal alien, subject to arrest and deportation (probably with a fine or prison time thrown in).
@jwenting No, that's simply incorrect. Many people stay perfectly legally in the US for months after the expiration of their visa. See e.g. http://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/31535/can-i-just-go-to-a-country-like-canada-to-apply-for-a-new-us-visa/31564#31564
@Relaxed: you are playing with words. Most people understand "overstaying your visa" as overstaying the period you were authorized by the border official, and in that sense jwenting's assertion is correct.
@MartinArgerami It has nothing to do with playing with words, it's important to understand that Schengen and US visas work completely differently in this respect, cf. the confusion around Paul's answer below.
@MartinArgerami If anything, if someone is playing with words, it's jwenting as my answer is correct and precise and I don't think it's misleading. If you want to use imprecise terminology, fine, but you can't possibly expect me to edit my answer to do the same (which is what comments are for).
@Martin That's definitely not playing with words. When I was an exchange student in the US, we had several people who extended their stay from 1 semester to 1 year without acquiring a new visa. As long as they stayed in the US this was perfectly fine. This is not nitpicking but does make important, practical differences!
I can categorically say most of the post above are too judgemental. I have been late on my visa more than twice. It really all depends from where you exit the Schengen zone. Amsterdam is very accommodating, no fine and just a warning that you might be on the SIS list but more than likely not. The key for me was just honesty. I overstayed because I love my stay so much.
one year multiple-entry Schengen visa
Read it (and the conditions) VERY carefully. "Visa" (the word) is frequently mis-used. Strictly speaking, a visa gets you across the border, at which time you are given permission to remain for a period of time.
So, if your visa says something like "remain for 90 days within a 180-day period" you can use up your remaining days beginning on the last day of your visa.
If there is another term like "within a 180-day period from the date of first entry" then you better check your calendar.
Where I live, visas are usually valid for a year. This means you can enter the country any time within one year from the issue date on the visa. At the airport they stamp "USED" on the visa and put another permit beside it. Officially that's called "Status of Residence" but everyone calls it a visa.
Overstaying is usually a very bad idea. Depending on the duration, the country involved, and the mood of the border guard that day, penalties range from "Don't do it again" to significant jail time.
and being listed as persona non grata, making getting a new visa for a future visit extremely difficult if not impossible.
Most places won't PNG you just for overstaying. You will get, say, a 5 year exclusion *the first time*. After 5 years, try again.
@Paul -1 That's completely incorrect, you're describing the way US (and possibly other) visas work but **Schengen visas do not work like that**. The only situations in which you can stay in the Schengen area without a valid visa is when you have a residence permit (or applied for one and got a temporary authorization for the time of your application).
@jwenting Traditionally, declaring someone *persona non grata* is only for diplomats (who can't simply be expelled). Other people are simply deported/banned from reentering and can be forcibly removed.
@Relaxed at no point did I say that's how Schengen visas work. I said "Where I live" (not the US) and that Mohammed has to read the details.
Giving an answer that talks about how things work in the USA isn't really all that helpful on a question about Schengen though, since the rules are different!
@Paul Maybe not but whatever you meant, the answer as it stands is dangerously misleading as it's not at all the way things work in the Schengen area (which is what the question is about, incidentally…).
Importantly, there is nothing you could “read” like a “status of residence” or a US I-something. When you enter the Schengen area, you get a stamp with a date and the name of the entry port and that's it because the allowed stay is not granted on entry, it's defined by the visa. So when a Schengen visas says “90 days”, it's 90 days *before its last day of validity* and not 90 days “beginning on the last day of your visa”.
@Paul The problem is things like "Strictly speaking, a visa gets you across the border, at which time you are given permission to remain for a period of time" which just isn't how the Schengen Zone works (apart from residence permits, etc), so this is rather misleading on a whole.
@everyone: I draw your attention to the first sentence of my answer, where it says to read the visa and conditions of said visa carefully. Unless Mohammed puts a scan of the document up we are largely stuck with inference and analogy. The canonical answer will be found in the appropriate EU regulations.
@Paul There is another possibility: Actually knowing the regulations and simply answering the question, which what I have done… There is nothing wrong in not knowing and trying to help by analogy when nothing else is available but now that your mistake was pointed out and there are correct answers, the reasonable thing to do is editing or deleting your answer, not making stuff up about a scan being needed and what not…