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I'm American, and planning to fly into Europe for 7 months. With the Schengen visa, I'll be allowed 90 days out of 180 days in the Schengen zone. That's fine, I understand the rules, how the time period works, and have every intention to follow it.

I was thinking about spending the first 3 months in the Schengen zone, leaving for 3 months to regions outside, then returning for the last month. This means I'll be flying from the US, and my arriving and departing flight in Europe will both be inside the Schengen zone, so it's going to raise some flags and they might assume I'm staying within the zone for the entire 7 months.

If I simply explain on arrival that I understand the restrictions, and plan to visit Turkey or 3 months in the middle of the trip, will I be in the clear?

I did a similar trip in the past, although it was only 5 months, and I booked my arriving flight in the Schengen zone, and departing flight outside, so I was easily able to explain I was leaving to the departing country after 3 months, and flying home from there. All of these stamps are still in my passport, so I'm wondering if they see I did something similar a couple of years ago, and followed the rules, they'll be more understanding.

Any thoughts, or precautions I should take when booking these flights? Has anyone done something similar in the past, and had a return flight in and out of the Schengen zone longer than 3 months, and if so, how did border security react?

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Welcome to travel.SE. Can you clarify what your concern is? Visas? Money? Airline Tickets? –  Karlson Apr 28 at 17:39
    
@Karlson Being refused entry, it seems. –  Relaxed Apr 28 at 17:40
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If you already know you want to go to Turkey, simply buying a ticket to fly there could be an easy solution. They are not too expensive and unlikely to become cheaper. Only drawback is that you have to settle on a departure point in advance (and wouldn't travel overland, if that's your thing). –  Relaxed Apr 28 at 17:53
    
@Karlson, like Annoyed mentioned, my concern is being refused entry. I'm also curious to hear if anyone has similar experiences, and if they had trouble entering the Schengen zone, even with proof of finances and a believable story. –  user13287 Apr 28 at 20:13
    
I think it just depends on how lucky you are. Sometimes they check and can be real a**es about it and give you lots of trouble, other times they dont even notice and there is no problem... question of luck. –  user13304 Apr 29 at 11:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Having a return ticket or proof of onward travel is not required so it boils down to whether the border guards trust your story. Being able to show you have done it before and know the rules should help.

Note that not staying too long is only one of the requirements. Even if you had all the tickets and never overstayed, repeatedly staying for 3 months without a stable situation elsewhere could raise some red flags (if I am counting correctly this would be your third and fourth multi-month stays in the Schengen area).

If there are doubts, being able to provide details or documentation about your plans and your financial means could help too. At least that's the theory, being an EU citizen myself I don't have first hand experience doing such a trip.

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Thanks for the reply. I usually print a bank statement and carry it with me to illustrate I have adequate funds to support myself without working, although I've never been asked for it. Like you said though, I think it boils down to my story, and if they believe it that day. I think I'll book another throwaway flight to the cheapest neighboring country outside the Schengen zone, 3 months from my time of arrival. –  user13287 Apr 28 at 20:03

As long as you follow the rules of the Schengen visa waiver requirements you should be fine. If you can prove with a itinerary (plane, train, hotel bookings, etc.) that you are going to be travelling out of the Schengen zone, and won't be overstaying in the Schengen area you should be fine.

My girlfriend (she is American) and I went on holiday to the central Schengen countries and they didn't even ask for her exit flight when she arrived at Rome. They did however question her a lot when she was leaving France to enter the UK.

It is probably more hassle entering the UK and USA than most Schengen countries.

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Unfortunately, I don't have plans for onward travel, and Turkey is one of many ideas. On my last trip I booked a $30 throwaway ticket to Croatia to confirm my story, although they didn't ask. However, I got into an argument with border security because they wrongly believed Croatia was part of the Schengen zone since they joined the EU. Eventually they let me enter on a warning, but a heads up to everyone else, always carry a printout of the rules and regulations that apply to you. They saved me once when an airline was going to refuse entry on a flight because they were misinformed of visas. –  user13287 Apr 28 at 20:00
    
I wouldn't advise you to fake travel plans. But you could visit the UK or go further east as it is outside the Schengen zone. –  Vagish Apr 29 at 9:59

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