I have a student residence permit issued in one of the EU/Schengen countries. As fair as I understand, it allows me to stay without visa in any other Schengen country for up to 90 days in 180 day interval.

I want to ask if and how is this rule enforced and are there practically any possible consequences for overstaying the mentioned 90 days outside of the issuing country.

My situation is that I am currently doing a research internship in Switzerland, which officially lasts 85 days, and I am doing it without any Swiss visa/permit, since my original permit allows me to have such educational/working stays for up to 90 days. After the internship ends, I want to have a holiday and stay in various Schengen countries for up to 15 days in total.

I wonder if any authority can find out that I will be overstaying the 90 days limit. Since there are no border checks in the Schengen area, is that even possible? The only clue that I can think of are hotel bookings: I have a hotel booking in Switzerland for 85 days of my internship, and I will likely stay in a hotel/AirBnb during my trip. As far as I know, they are somehow obliged to check my passport and notify the authorities about my booking. So, strictly speaking, I will have a hotel booking for 100 days, which is more than what the rule allows. In reality, it can be that during my internship I made several short trips to the issuing country, with the total length of 10 days, without interrupting the hotel booking. So, the real length of my "outside" stay is less than 90 days, but that is hard to prove (I can maybe show some transportation tickets).

So I wonder what really happens when I book a hotel and show my passport/permit on registration. Do authorities somehow keep track of my stays? Is it somehow synchronized between different countries?

Did anybody ever have any experience with enforcement of that rule? It seems it is totally unrealistic for it to be enforced, but I guess if some authorities get really suspicious they can find it out, e.g. by requesting bank statements, bookings and checking locations.

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    basically you are asking about something illegal knowing it's illegal – shabunc May 4 '19 at 15:26
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    Also, a residence permit of one Schengen country does not in itself permit you to work in a different country. (That is generally up to the laws of the other country and not regulated at the EU level for non-EEA citizens). – hmakholm left over Monica May 4 '19 at 15:30
  • @HenningMakholm, true, but in that particular case it worked. – steamsender May 4 '19 at 15:31
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    @shabunc, kind of, though it is more of a hypothetical question. There is nothing illegal or wrong in asking about something potentially illegal. Moreover, in the situation I described the real duration of the stay is 90 days, but bookings are longer, so it is also a question about enforcement details. – steamsender May 4 '19 at 15:35
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because I do not think that questions asking how to circumvent immigration rules belong on Travel.SE. – JoErNanO May 4 '19 at 19:14

The only plausible scenario for enforcement of this rule is for someone living outside the country that issued their residence permit coming to the attention of the police, and the police noticing that they don't have a valid permit. The Schengen area doesn't even track external border crossings of third-country nationals (yet -- they're working on it). They certainly have no system to reconcile hotel reservation records against lists of people with residence permits and type D visas.

The solution to your problem, however, is either to curtail your holiday plans (perhaps by remaining in your country of residence) or to get a type D visa or residence permit to cover your time in Switzerland.

In theory, you could get type D visas for your holiday countries instead, but I doubt you'd be able to do that in practice.

Your "short trips to the issuing country" line of reasoning isn't likely to hold water. Given the way Schengen day counting works, you would need to spend ten full days there to reduce your day count. If you leave Switzerland on Friday and return on Sunday, that counts as one full day (Saturday). So if you did that in ten separate trips, you would leave twenty days of your hotel booking unused. It's not impossible, of course, but it's implausible, and police are unlikely to accept it without evidence.

  • I see, D visa is indeed a possible solution, thanks! – steamsender May 4 '19 at 21:44
  • Indeed it is closer to 5 full days rather than 10. Still, it is interesting to know if some authority may detect e.g. a hotel booking of 95 consecutive days and become suspicious because of it. Is there any information on how exactly the records on hotel stays are stored and who can access them? – steamsender May 4 '19 at 21:49
  • @steamsender to reduce the day count from 100 to 90, it has to be ten full days. I don't understand what you mean by "5 full days rather than 10." Hotel booking records are a matter of local interest. Many countries require foreigners to be registered with the police, and hotels generally handle that for their guests. Those records may not go beyond the local police, and they certainly don't go beyond the national police. But if you booked 95 consecutive nights in the same hotel then it would be very likely for the local police to notice. – phoog May 5 '19 at 20:41

Schengen trusts people who receive a national 'D' visa to abide by the rules. This is a necessary consequence of abolishing routine border checks for Schengen citizens.

There are also ways how your violation might caught. There are random checks at the borders which may lead to questions you cannot answer. Hotels (and similar institutions) in many Schengen countries are required to keep records, which may be cross-referenced at a later date if there is reason to do so. When you leave, a customs officer might notice receipts or other evidence. (Not likey that they'd look, but they can if they are getting suspicious.) You may break a leg and go to hospital. You may be a witness to a traffic accident and be asked to give testimony.

If you are caught, your credibility for future Schengen visa applications will be damaged.

  • Random checks at the border cannot catch such a violation because officers in that case have no access to intra-Schengen travel history, which is not tracked or recorded. – phoog May 4 '19 at 16:30
  • @phoog, if they have suspicions (e.g. of hauling undeclared money over the Swiss border) they can initiate a search. And look at the contents of a wallet. – o.m. May 4 '19 at 17:00
  • certainly. Any contact with authorities will increase the chance of detection. But the random border checks will normally comprise verification that the traveler has a valid visa or residence permit, and nothing more. The answer seems to imply that being checked at random would certainly lead to trouble. – phoog May 4 '19 at 17:22
  • @phoog, the edited version says "may lead to ..." – o.m. May 5 '19 at 4:00

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