I'm a US citizen. I want to spend about 6 weeks vacation visiting my friends in France, Spain and Italy. However, with taking this much consecutive time off from work my employer would require me to do daily check-ins (email and Skype).

It's also very likely I would have to spend up to 20 hours per week fixing untoward problems. This would require me logging into my company laptop to write and submit code. Any hours that I spend doing company work I would be paid as a normal employee (vs. PTO for the rest of the vacation).

Is this legal as a tourist?

EDIT: I emailed the Spain consulate and received this replay: As a US citizen you can travel to Spain for up to 90 days without needing a Visa. You could also work for your US employer while visiting Spain.

  • Ask on Expatriates Stack Exchange, since this is about work. As a rule of thumb, you can talk about work on a Schengen visa, but not do work. A business traveler would be expected to check in with home office, after all.
    – o.m.
    May 25 '19 at 5:20
  • 1
    You'll have to work 20 hours per week on your vacation time? May 25 '19 at 5:54
  • @HankyPanky Yes, since I'd be taking 6 straight weeks off. But any time "on the clock" doesn't go against my PTO
    – David
    May 25 '19 at 17:32

Short answer: no, it is not legal for an US citizen to work in France, Italy and Spain during a visa free stay.

For France it is explicitly stated that US citizens need a work permit.

Long answer:

Almost all work based rules are desided on a country by country base

  • and then often based on the nationality of the person

Unfortunately, the official EU summary is an unwieldy excel table for which the wiki link below has a summary of.

Assume that this may not be up-to-date, check the countries counsulate sites in your country to make sure that nothing has changed.


look for:

  • Rules regarding paid activity during visa-free stay

the summary above is based on this table.

  • Thanks for the answer, but this in the unwieldy excel table confuses me: "visa requirement on those who wish to enter to work (i.e. to carry out a 'paid activity')". I would not be entering to work, as in I wouldn't be seeking employment within the countries I enter. Am I allowed to work for my US employer?
    – David
    May 25 '19 at 17:45
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    As mentioned in the other link above about the same topic, these rules are not very realistic for the 21th century workplace. Work is work with no distinction. Assume the answer is no. Read other comments in the link above. May 25 '19 at 18:21

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