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I am on a gap year and have completed exactly 90 days in the Schengen area. I then flew to Morocco and have been here for 2 months. In 3 days I fly to London for another 2 months, and then will fly to the Czech Republic for a period of exactly 90 days. So, 90 days in, 4 months out, 90 days in.

The problem may be that the flight from Morocco to London has a connection in Madrid. It goes Morocco to Madrid Terminal 4s, then terminal 4 to Gatwick. I believe there is a shuttle bus between terminals 4s and 4.

I'm flying in three days time. (Don't know why I just thought of this now.) From what I've just read here and in other places I think I might be in trouble as I may not be able to enter Schengen as I will fall foul of the 90 days in 180 days rule.

From early comments it looks like my only option is to bin the (non-refundable) indirect tickets and buy direct flights (ouch!). I'm on a backpacker budget and any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Update: The flights are: IB8191 operated by Air Nostrum and IB3718 operated by Iberia Express, both flights on a single Iberia ticket.

I tried calling Iberia but they couldn't put me through to anyone who spoke English. I called MAD airport, and was given a number to ring (not sure exactly who) and explained the issue (Countries, terminals etc). They said I would go through immigration but it would be fine. I again said that I had used all my Schengen days but they said it didn't matter.

Assuming that I rely on this information and continue with my original arrangements I'll post back here to say how it went, which gaol I landed up in etc.

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I (the OP) have now traveled from Casablanca to London, connecting via Madrid. I am posting this answer in the hope that it might help someone in a similar situation. I have revised the answer on the basis of new information and comments.

Back in Casablanca they printed a boarding card that stated the second leg would leave from gate H, which seemingly would require us to go through immigration. On arrival this was confirmed by the first person I spoke to. However, to the right there is a sign for gate "S" for transiting passengers. I asked someone else was told I should go that way. This takes you into the terminal 4S (satelite). You don't go through immigration. Our flight was on the departure board with no gate number,just "S". Later the departure board changed to say "contact your company". The information person I talked to looked at my boarding card and told us to take the train to terminal 4, which meant going through immigration. We then founnd the Iberia desk and they gave us a gate number in 4s, which then showed on the board. We waited at that gate with about 6 other people for a while, then were directed to a bus that drove us about 5 or 10 minutes to the airbridge over at terminal 4 where we went up some steps and straight into the plane. So that is how they get you through as a transiting passenger without going through immigration. It seems to confuse airport staff as much as it did me, and if I'd taken the wrong advice at various points it could still have turned out differently. I'm a bit surprised that they make this special arrangement as there would be a cost to the company.

The other part of this story, which I can't verify, is about what would have happened if we'd gone through immigration. Someone (I couldn't figure out who) from MAD airport told me it wouldn't be a problem because we are Australian and don't need to apply for a visa for the Schengen area, even if I had used up my 90 days.

  • Airlines cannot easily check whether you used your 90 days, so they presume you didn't as long as you qualify for it. Actually, it's very difficult of border control officers as well, as there is no centralised database. – jcaron May 7 at 15:51
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    @jcaron but they're working on creating a centralized database. Rjh: to use the correct terminology, there's no "automatic visa" for the Schengen area. Rather, some countries' citizens are eligible to enter on a short-term basis that is, subject to the 90/180 rule) without a visa. Those are "Annex II" countries; the others are "Annex I." The 90/180 rule applies equally to both groups of people, and the only way to get out of the 90/180 rule is to have a "national" visa (type D). These are normally long-term visas, so that part of the story appears to be incorrect or at least confused. – phoog May 7 at 16:02
  • I think the OP was referring to a bilateral agreement between Australia and a Schengen country that would allow entrance without regard to 90/180 exhaustion. However, while Australia has several such agreements, Spain is not apparently included. – Andrew Lazarus May 7 at 16:14
  • My answer above is edited to reflect updated information (I thought it was all over when I wrote the first version but there was another twist.) – rjh May 8 at 18:59

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