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Here's my situation. I am currently in France on an internship visa (different than a business and tourist visa) which ends next month. I'm interested in doing some traveling afterwards, ideally on a 90-day Schengen tourist visa. I'm willing to hop over to a non-Schengen country (like the UK) for a couple days and then come back to get the tourist visa if necessary.

This post seems similar to my question, except the OP is trying to get the tourist visa without leaving the Schengen area.

Is this allowed? Will the border patrol still give me the tourist visa after my internship visa expires? Will it work through the UK or should I go through another non-Schengen country? I have a USA passport.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Just wanted to follow up with my experience.

I left Paris on the day my internship visa expired on a flight to London. I read in a few forums that flying was better than taking the Eurostar as flying will guarantee that I get the Schengen area exit stamp.

I came back into Paris a few days later (after a nice weekend in London!) and had no issues getting my passport stamped at border control. In fact, the guy at border control didn't even look at my old visa!

So now I am legitimately on my 90-days of the Schengen tourist visa.

Update:
I have now left and entered the Schengen area twice without problems. I have gone through both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris. The border guards saw my expired work visa and still stamped my entry.

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Schengen Fact Sheet

Note: Travelers for business or tourism are permitted to stay in the Schengen area for 90 days within a six month period. Once the 90 day maximum is reached, leaving for a brief period and re-entering the area does not entitle a traveler to 90 more days within the Schengen states. The traveler would have to remain outside of the Schengen zone for 90 days before reentering without a visa. Immigration officers at the port of entry have the right to determine whether your planned activities are consistent with business or tourism. You should check with the Embassy or Consulate of the country to which you are traveling if you have questions about whether your proposed trip qualifies for visa-free travel. U.S. Embassies cannot intervene on behalf of U.S. citizens who are denied entry into a foreign country.

Seems like you have to be outside the Schengen Zone for 90 days,until re-entering.

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Thanks, though I should clarify, I'm currently on an internship visa, which the fact sheet lists separately from "business or tourism". Does the 90-day rule still apply if I'm coming off of an internship visa? –  joulesm Jan 7 '13 at 23:47
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Technically what you would get when entering for a short visit as a US citizen is not a visa but an entry stamp. In any case, whether you enter the Schengen area without a visa or with a short-stay visa (for people who require one), you have to abide by the 90-day limit but earlier stays in member states under a national (long-stay) visa do not count. The relevant regulation is the Schengen Borders Code and in particular article 5:

  1. For intended stays on the territory of the Member States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period, which entails considering the 180-day period preceding each day of stay, the entry conditions for third-country nationals shall be the following:

[…]

1a. For the purposes of implementing paragraph 1, the date of entry shall be considered as the first day of stay on the territory of the Member States and the date of exit shall be considered as the last day of stay on the territory of the Member States. 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.

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