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Just curious. I am a non-Schengen (and non-EU) national with a residence permit from Finland, enabling me to travel visa-free inside the Schengen area up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Since there is no passport control between Schengen countries, it looks like one can easily overstay without any consequences. So how is this 90/180 rule tracked for RP holders?

DISCLAIMER: I am not going to break the rules. I'm just curious about how it works, because while traveling I have never shown my passport or RP to authorities.

3

Basically it can't be regularly enforced, but if someone with a residence permit comes to the attention of the police and they suspect a violation, they can investigate, and possibly use that violation to deport the person. In that regard the enforcement is similar to European Union or EEA citizens who stay longer than three months in a country other than their own without qualifying under one of the points in the freedom of movement directive.

It's also similar to certain motor vehicle laws. It's rare to be cited for failure to yield right of way unless you cause an accident.

1

They aren't controlled in a direct manner since there aren't any regular border checks in the Schengen area. However it is still enforced indirectly:

  • The country which issued your residence permit will presumably verify you're satisfying the conditions under which it was issued. For example it would be hard for a student or an employee to leave the country for more than 3 months at a time without getting expelled or fired.
  • Organizations outside your country of residency will know that you cannot stay abroad for more than 90 days and could therefore deny you the right to enroll in long term activities such as university courses.
  • Other people (such as angry ex girlfriends) might report your long absence to the immigration authorities.

Hundreds of thousands of people travel around Europe without a valid visa in the first place, so a small violation by legal residents is not a big deal for the Schengen members.

1

People with a national D visa are trusted. They have permanent status in one EU country, possibly the first step to citizenship, so why would they throw that away to "go illegal" in another one?

If a violation is noticed by the authorities (e.g. illegal working in another member country) they will react. But any border controls would damage the main purpose of the Schengen rules, which is to make travel easier for citizens and permanent residents.

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