My US citizen step daughter is taking a study abroad semester in Europe in Schengen visa countries. The program is exactly 90 days so she will exhaust the period allowed for her to stay taking this program. We looked at extending her trip for 10 days for a family trip to Portugal but of course we need a Visa extension.

How difficult is it to obtain an extension for "Important Personal Reasons"? I know there is no guarantee of obtaining one. And I take it she should apply for a visa with a Portuguese embassy as this is where she would like to visit.

  • 4
    "The program is exactly 90 days": on what date is her presence first required? On what date is it last required? Is there any chance that she could spend her weekends outside the Schengen area, such as in the UK? What is the "important" reason for the family trip?
    – phoog
    Sep 10, 2019 at 3:35
  • I asked about the specific dates because if, for example, classes start on Monday 16 Sep and end on Friday 13 Dec then she has only 1 day of leeway (that's 89 days by the Schengen rules). She would already need a national visa just to arrive the day before her first class and leave the day after the last. If she gets a national visa, the days covered by that visa aren't counted for the 90/180 calculation, and the problem goes away. Similarly, if she can make (e.g.) 5 trips outside Schengen (e.g., to the UK), leaving on Friday and returning on Monday, that gets her ten more days in Schengen.
    – phoog
    Sep 12, 2019 at 19:48

2 Answers 2


As she is a US citizen, I'm assuming that she is doing this course of study using her short-stay visa-free privileges. This allows her 90 days in any 180 day period. There is no "extension of permitted stay" for short stays regardless of whether you are a visa-exempt or visa-required national. If she wanted to stay over 90 days in any 180 day period then she would have to have petitioned for a D-visa.

The Austrians have this to say:

In principle it is not possible to apply for a visa in Austria nor to have it renewed/extended. Once the visa expires you have to – unless you have been granted a residence title – leave the Schengen area.

According to the European External Action Service:

  1. Can my visa be extended?

When applying for a visa extension, you must show that due to force majeure or for humanitarian reasons or for serious personal reasons it is not possible for you to leave the territory of Member States before the expiry of your visa or the authorized period of stay.

In short, not really. She will have to leave after her 90 days if she wants to obey the rules.

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    In theory, Portugal could issue a C visa with limited territorial validity. I practice it seems highly unlikely.
    – phoog
    Sep 10, 2019 at 3:31


Does she actually have a Visa or is she travelling on the 90/180 rule as a visa free person?

Based on the given samples, private reasons do not seem to fullfil the condition:

Examples of important personal reasons: Urgent business or professional reasons which were not foreseeable before entry

However the last portion does offer a chance for a reasonable solution.

Assuming that no booking for the trip for the rest of the family has been made, an clearly stated letter of intention that, on condition that your step daughter leave to remain is extended, that a common vacation of the whole family would be made - that was not part of the original plan.

Together with the Application form she should apply for this at the local Foreigners office (you may have to use a form from that local office).

It would then be up to them to deside to make an exception or not.


This is county specific, so each country may deal with this differently. In Germany an extension may only be applied for locally and if extended it is done immediately. Going to the Portuguese embassy may not be of much use.

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    That rule clearly states that it's about reasons that were not foreseeable, not merely not part of the original plan. It will be hard to argue that a family vacation was not foreseeable. Sep 10, 2019 at 6:16
  • @Henrikyou mean the Guideline sample. This officials duer have an amount of leeway for such decisions. If they come to the conclusion that it is not against the public interest to make an exception, then they the authority to do so. In this case it is in the public interest to do so (Family reunion). The economic interest also (earnings inside portugal). Only the responsible authority can make the final decision, based on the circumstances. No harm will come if refused. Exceptions prove the rule in a humain society. Sep 10, 2019 at 6:44
  • Is applying for the extension really practical? If the OP applies soon after entry it will make it harder to convince officials that the family holiday was not foreseeable before entry. If the OP applies later, the timeframe for a reply (no idea what this is) in theory means the trip for the rest of the family would have to be booked ‘last minute’. The family could book their holiday during the OP’s 3 month stay, or the OP could follow @Phoog’s suggestion and spend time out of Schengen. The idea of ‘family reunion’ at the end of a 90 day stay is odd - the OP could just go home to be reunited.
    – Traveller
    Sep 10, 2019 at 7:16
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    I don't see how a family reunion is in the public interest, especially not one taking place abroad (as @Traveller says the OP could just go home). Earnings inside a Schengen country is also to be expected with any visa application, not all are granted, proving that there are many considerations that are far more important. Sep 10, 2019 at 9:15
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    I suspect this discussion is moot - if the OP is entering visa-free as a US citizen there is no ‘visa’ and therefore surely nothing exists that can actually be extended. If it were that easy to extend the 90 day period there’d be a lot less questions on TSE about overstaying!
    – Traveller
    Sep 10, 2019 at 14:53

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