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My daughter went to Rome to work as an au pair without a visa. She has overstayed and will be returning after spending 130 days in Rome. Could someone please tell me what will be the consequences? She travels on a US passport.

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I am surprised that she was not advised of the proper procedures when making her arrangements (it is quite easy to check visa requirements from http://www.esteri.it/visti/home_eng.asp ), but what is done is done.

Working without a visa is a serious offense in any country. Overstaying in any country is also a serious offense. As you can imagine, entering a country with the intent to work without a visa, and then overstaying not by 40 hours, but by 40 days, will be treated very seriously.

When she goes to exit control at the airport, her passport will be scanned. Entries into and out of the Schengen area are recorded in the Schengen Information System, and if the overstay is flagged, she will be taken aside for an interrogation as to her activities in Italy.

The immigration officer has great deal of discretion concerning penalties for the overstay, and may

  • let her go with a stern warning (but given the circumstances, and the recent alarm over illegal immigration to Italy, I find this unlikely)
  • impose a fine of several hundred euros
  • flag her passport, making it difficult to obtain visas in the future
  • ban her altogether for a period of years— not just from Italy, but from all the countries in the entire Schengen area

Being an illegal worker may carry additional criminal penalties.

Even if she manages to get through exit control, the overstay may cause problems on any subsequent trips, at least until the expiration of the passport.

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In many countries, working without a work visa is considerably more serious than overstaying. In fact overstaying be a long period of time might lead them to suspect you worked illegally. I'm not sure if it's the case in Schengen though. –  hippietrail Nov 3 '13 at 19:55
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+1. Make sure that whatever excuse your daughter comes up with overstaying doesn't involve working. Falling in love with an Italian guy might do the trick. (Bonus point if she actually did, since lying to Customs officers is generally a bad idea.) –  jpatokal Nov 3 '13 at 23:19
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+1 for the comprehensive answer. I do have a small quibble: I don't think the expiration of the passport is a big problem. My understanding is that Schengen and associated countries mostly rely on the SIS and VIS and would still know about any flags after you changed passports (I believe entries are deleted after some time but independently of passport expiration). For third countries that don't have access to the system but could notice the stamps in the document itself, you could always renew your passport early, you don't have to keep using it until the very end. –  Relaxed Nov 4 '13 at 9:20
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