I have a quick question that I have seen a variation of before but nothing that is similar to my situation (from what I have seen). I was issued a Type D multi-entry visa from France my study abroad program this fall that is multi-entry. When I applied for the visa I told VFS global that I was going to be going to Spain before on vacation and then heading to France for my program. They never mentioned that I would need to exit Schengen before I go to France for my study abroad program, but then I came across this forum and I see some people saying that you have to exit before I go to my program and I am seeing some saying that I can just go straight to France from my program. Also I am a US citizen so I am allowed to be a tourist without a visa.I did contact the consulate in my country by email but all they responded with was a very obvious copy and paste from a website answer where they did not respond to my question at all but only said that after I travel as a tourist up to 90 days and then "I can exit and re-enter on my french student visa"(which I am only going to be in Spain for a month)

So my main two questions are:

  1. Do I need to exit Schengen before I fly to France for my program (I will be in Barcelona with my family and have no plans of going to france before the start of my program)
  2. If my program begins the 31st and my visa is issues starting August 10th, will it be an issue that I don't fly to France until the 31st?


Okay, so I called VFS because the closest consulate to me told me to call them about my question. VFS stated that as long as I am not a tourist for more than 90 days (I am one for technically 6 days because my visa starts a few days after I arrive in Spain) and there isn't a gap between the dates I am a tourist (for 90 days) and the start date of my visa in France then I DO NOT need to leave the Schengen. He explained to me that my visa automatically starts on the start date of my visa. France will see that I am within the dates of my visa (I go 3 weeks after the start date of my visa because that's when my program starts) and stamp my passport.

So it seems like all the other advice given on similar questions about going from a tourist to a vias holder is correct!

  • Also, when you do fly and enter (if you do so early) I'd be very curious to read of your experience! – Ozzy Jul 31 '19 at 1:36
  • One way to mitigate the risk of misunderstanding is to go to France through Andorra. Ask for a stamp when entering Andorra and when leaving Andorra. Normally Andorra does not do anything at the border, but they are not part of Schengen. So on the way out of Andorra, you can present your visa and ask for a stamp. – WGroleau Aug 1 '19 at 16:19
  • How did your entry into Spain go? – Ozzy Aug 4 '19 at 16:09
  • it went great! He just flipped to a blank page & stamped my passport (not my visa). I'm more nervous about entering France for my program without leaving Schengen. The Consulate in Chicago said I would be fine to go straight to France but to talk to VFS. VFS said I would be fine to go straight to France. Consulate DC said that I can stay up to 90 days and then I can re-enter on my student visa, making it seem like if I stay 90 days I have to leave and then re-enter. So I sent another email today asking if I am not staying 90 days before my visa starts, do I still have to leave and re-enter. – travel2019 Aug 5 '19 at 23:23
  • Haha did he even see the visa? You'll be fine not exiting Schengen, they don't work like the US does in terms of admitting people on a certain status. You are now in schengen and have a valid visa in a few days – Ozzy Aug 6 '19 at 4:03

Check out the answer to this link. I also posted the answer I got from the Austrian Ministry of the Interior (office responsible for border Control).

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    I just took a look at both links that were posted. I will update once I go to France in late August with if it works or not. I feel like I shouldn't have a problem but these matters are sometimes complicated and a lot of times the consulates in the home country is not helpful (the one in the US says do not contact us!) – travel2019 Jul 31 '19 at 2:13
  • Yeah they tend to give very generic answers. The Austrian consulate here in LA actually operates only in this manner (ie issuing visas with validity dates which correspond to the start of the program and expect you to enter visa free if your passport allows). So I guess it's just common procedure! Keep in touch! – Ozzy Jul 31 '19 at 2:17
  • Also, this guy said he had no issues (look at comments) travel.stackexchange.com/questions/129790/… – Ozzy Jul 31 '19 at 2:18
  • This makes me feel much better. I saw your similar post and I hope that your entry also goes well. Cheers! – travel2019 Jul 31 '19 at 2:25
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    While this answers the question, it is very unclear unless you open the link. – Willeke Jul 31 '19 at 17:12

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