I’m an American citizen visiting Spain on a 90 day tourist visa. My tourist visa expires on the 17th of September, but I was only able to book an affordable flight to the UK from Madrid a week after around the 24th. I plan on staying in the UK for 3 months until my [EU] visa resets, so I can visit the EU after.

I have heard Spain can be pretty relaxed about exiting the country with an expired visa if it's not too drastic of a length, but will I receive any issue in the UK upon arriving? Is there any forms I can fill out to maybe extend my stay by a week to avoid any hassle at the airport? I was a victim of crime during my stay in Spain and reached out to the consulate/embassy to see what my options were but they didn't seem to have the knowledge base to assist with that.

  • 6
    you are building a horrible travel record. Proof of income will be needed and togeather with theft of money (if that was the crime) would correct/explain the present problem. Going on the the UK will only make matters worse without proof of income. Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 13:30
  • 9
    Have you considered returning to the US? Unlike travel to the UK, for a US citizen that has zero risk of entry refusal and future travel problems. Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 19:21
  • 34
    There are plenty of ways to get from Spain to the UK, via air, train or ferry, so to claim that you need to overrun your visa by an entire week is just ridiculous and you will see repercussions in the Schengen area in future visits. You may even see problems elsewhere. But once again, the underlying claim here is ridiculous.
    – user29788
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 23:41
  • 23
    What is your situation in terms of income? How can you justify being in Schengen + UK + Schengen again for 9 months without working, and at the same time not being able to pay a €100 airfare?
    – jcaron
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 12:52
  • 11
    @Moo you can even walk to Gibraltar and leave the Schengen area (and not the EU as the OP incorrectly states) on foot. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 14:23

4 Answers 4


You seem to be trying to pretend that an overstay is no big deal.

It's a big deal. Fix it.

Someone has identified an extremely affordable flight, and you need to be on it so you are in UK soil by midnight on the 17th.

You created a belief in your mind that Spain is "relaxed" about overstays. You are missing the entire point of what an overstay is. Perhaps you think the consequences for the overstay occur at exit, and they make you pay a $500 fine or if you only have $40 just settle for that, or whatever, and the thing's forgotten. That is wishful thinking.

In reality, if you overstay, they will cheerfully let you leave Spain, no problem. (Since that is, after all, what they want you to do: Leave). The consequences will come later. When you are trying to enter another country, or revisit the EU again. The countries will observe that you have an overstay. If they interchange data the overstay will flag up on your record along with the officer's notes when you interivewed in June (if your story at that time doesn't match up with your 100ish day stay, they'll know it).

This will result in refusal at the entry. You'll have paid round trip airfare, hotel, concerts, whatever - you'll arrive, get refused, and be forced to pay full boat list price for a flight home. That happens pretty quick if you flew from the USA, but for example you'll be flying from Spain to the UK. The UK can toss you in jail until a flight to USA can be arranged.

Then if you want to fly in the future, you'd need a visa because of the refusal. Visas are expensive.

If you're a YOLO kind of guy who doesn't think about the future, no worries, it's all cool, man. But if you care about your money and travel rights, it is very, very stupid to overstay simply to score a cheaper airfare. The down-the-road costs will make it the most expensive airfare in history.

Another poster confirms last minute bargain flights exist. Be on one.

Life will be much easier down the road if you take care of this today.

  • 1
    “If they interchange data the overstay will flag up on your record along with the officer's notes when you interivewed in June” — unless I’m greatly mistaken, the habits of Schengen border guards include neither interviewing of credible-looking travelers nor storing the data in any Schengen-wide DB (otherwise there would be no need to announce the EES). At least, I entered the Schengen Zone four times since we Ukrainians gained visa-free entry in 2017, and not a single word was ever spoken to me. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 0:15
  • 18
    @RomanOdaisky Yes, there is a Schengen-wide DB. All movement crossing Schengen zone is stored and shared between members: eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/… This link has a little bit of information. There are more laws and agreements around. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 6:38
  • 8
    @RomanOdaisky "Regulation (EU) 2017/2226 creates the EES, a common electronic system which: records and stores the date, time and place of entry and exit of non-EU nationals crossing the EU’s borders; automatically calculates the duration of authorised stay of such non-EU nationals, and generates alerts to EU countries when the authorised stay has expired." Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 6:38
  • 4
    +1 for "...will make it the most expensive airfare in history". A stitch in time saves nine, but add a couple orders of magnitude.
    – Martha
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 16:06
  • 1
    @angelcervera this is only coming in 2022
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 23:13

Americans who arrive in the UK with no definite plans, no return travel planned, and little money are often questioned extensively at the border and may be denied entry and removed.

In your case, if you're low enough on money that you need to wait two weeks just to be able to afford a flight to the UK (*) it seems that it would be extremely difficult to convince an immigration officer that you can afford to sleep and eat in the UK for three months under the usual "no work / no recourse to public funds" conditions, and then travel to somewhere you'll be allowed to go. This is in addition to the Schengen overstay, which they may or may not care about in the circumstances.

*) which must be low indeed since Google Flights finds a connection MAD-OPO-LCY on the 17th with TAP Air Portugal for less than 100 euro.

Of course there may be additional facts that you have not described in your question or the comments which give you a way out. But as written here, it sounds like it's a definite possibility that the result of going to the UK would be a stay at an immigration detention center followed by a transatlantic flight on Her Majesty's dime (which they might attempt to collect from you afterwards).

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 3:53

This might work, but it strikes me as an astoundingly bad idea. The consequences of failure are too great to justify the benefit of saving a few hundred dollars in airfare. Even if you were leaving the Schengen area after 87 days there instead of 97, this plan would be risky. The chance of failure is rather higher if you overstay in Schengen, however, and the consequences of failure rather more grave.

  1. There's a chance you'd be caught when you leave Spain

    Sure, Spain is known to be lax, but that doesn't mean you won't get a fine or a ban. Is the fine smaller than the money you'd pay to fly out before your 90 days expire? Are you willing to risk not being able to return to the Schengen area after 90 days elsewhere?

  2. There's a good chance you'd be denied entry in the UK.

    They will probably put you in secondary inspection and scrutinize your application for admission closely. If they do this, they may uncover the Schengen overstay. A Schengen overstay by itself does not pose a barrier to entry into the UK, but it allows the immigration officers to find that you have little credibility with regard to your stated intention to abide by the restrictions of your prospective leave to enter the UK. This means they don't have to trust anything you say, which is pretty much fatal to an application for entry.

    They are also going to want to know how you're supporting yourself for at least nine months without working, since you do not have permission to work in the Schengen area nor in the UK. The UK does not permit visitors to work remotely for foreign employers while they are visited the UK. If they decide that you're planning to do this, they will not admit you.

    If they deny entry, they can't send you back to Madrid because you cannot be admitted into the Schengen area. Instead, they will detain you until they can arrange to send you to the US. Immigration detention in the UK is truly awful. You might be able to avoid it by buying yourself a ticket to the US, but that will certainly cost rather more than the money you're saving by not leaving the Schengen area on time.

Unfortunately, I cannot put numbers on the probabilities. They depend to a large degree on your "personal impact" and "articulation skills," which are unknown to us. But you should be aware that by trying to save a few hundred dollars on airfare you may in the end have to spend a few thousand dollars on airfare, especially if you end up flying back across the Atlantic after 90 days away from the Schengen area. On top of that, you risk having a truly bad day, week, or several weeks.

You ask:

Are there any forms I can fill out to maybe extend my stay by a week to avoid any hassle at the airport?

You should ask at the oficinas de extranjería. The foreign ministry has a relevant page, which links to a more specific page on residing in Spain. That page notes that you can apply for a temporary residence permit if you are self sufficient. I could not readily find a list of the conditions for issuing such a permit, but I think it requires you to have a type-D visa; you might want to ask at Expatriates.

  • 5
    "[Y]ou can apply for a temporary residence permit if you are self sufficient." Somebody who has to wait two weeks to be able to afford a plane ticket doesn't sound self-sufficient. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 10:53
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby wanting to save money and not having money aren't the same thing. "Affordable" is commonly used to describe prices that someone is willing to pay as opposed to its literal meaning of prices that one is able to pay (at least in the US). If OP literally did not have enough money to pay for an earlier flight then obviously he should be worried about finding a job, not about how to get to another jurisdiction where he is not allowed to work. This reminds me of something that I should have included in the answer.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 12:13
  • 3
    If I had enough money to live in an expensive country such as the UK for three months without working, I wouldn't place a couple of hundred euro for a plane ticket in the "unaffordable" category. Sure, it might be more than I ideally wanted to pay, but I wouldn't call it "unaffordable", which suggests that spending that money would cause significant financial difficulties. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 12:55
  • 2
    @DavidRicherby you're not from the US, are you? I don't know how it is where you're from, but here "affordable" is frequently used to mean "reasonably priced," where the opposite would not be "unaffordable" but simply "overpriced."
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 13:02
  • 1
    @phoog Davids point stands - a week of accommodation is going to be more expensive than flying a LCC from Barcelona to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to London. It's a ridiculous argument by the OP.
    – user29788
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 22:15

This page advises specifically against entering another EU country after overstaying in the Schengen Area.

However, as you entry and exit stamps are not linked to a visa, you might get away with it. Entering Spain again after 90 days could prove more difficult.

See: The Truth About Schengen Information System (SIS)

Beginning in 2021, ETIAS might make overstay more difficult. Overstaying now could also affect future ETIAS approval.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .