My 18 year old American niece has been traveling all through the Schengen area for the past 65 days. She is coming home to the states this week (departing from Vienna) to get a brand new US passport. Not a renewal but a NEW passport because that’s what’s required at her age. Her passport expires in January. She wants to take a gap year. Her mom had wanted her to get the new passport and return quickly to Italy within 6 weeks to take part in a 45 day Art History program, but I’ve just been told by a friend about the 90/180 day rule. Eek! The art program will put her over the 90 day total for the 180 window.

Will the passport control in Italy know about her previous summer travel dates? With a clean new passport? Is there a database? She will be at 74/90 days when tries to re-enter. 115/90 when she exists. Or will they assume she is entering for the first time and will the 90 day limit start over then? Help!

  • This child is on a gap year having deferred from an American university. – KimInEurope Aug 28 at 20:06
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    The rules are about persons, not passports, so getting a new passport doesn't make this legal. – Henrik Aug 28 at 20:21
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    Breaching immigration rules is not a great way to build up a travel history. Data such as name, date of birth, and biometrics tend to give you away. Getting a new passport doesn’t mean she can breach the rules. – Traveller Aug 28 at 20:44
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    If she is caught as an overstay she faces legal ramifications up to an entry ban for the entire Schengen area. Follow the rules and there will be no issues. – Ozzy Aug 28 at 20:57

Countries are not so easy to fool by getting a new passport. (The difference between "new" and "renewal" here is entirely internal to the forms required by the USA Passport Office; a renewal passport also has a new number.)

Perhaps she can arrange a student visa for the 45-day program. Normally it would need to be a longer program, but… Time spent in Italy on such a visa does not count towards 90/180. In fact, if she wants an entire gap year, perhaps she could continue at the same institution as the 45-day Art History program, which (off-topic) sounds like hella fun.


She should apply for a student Schengen visa and if that Art History program is an education program she should have no problem getting one (especially as a US citizen).

I would NOT recommend to try and bend the visa rules or trick the customs - you can easily end up getting banned form Schengen zone entry for a prolonged period of time if they suspect malice, or simply rejected entry if over 90/180.

Student Schengen visa (or maybe even national student visa if they offer one) to Italy is the way to go.


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