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If a person has a Single Entry Schengen visa, would a visit to those microstates count as having left the Schengen area?

I know that Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City count as de facto Schengen, but since they 'stop the clock' for the counting of the 90/180 days rule (per this question) for time spent there, I wonder whether they just consider it also an exit of the Schengen area.

The question is concretely about the Vatican, the other states might be of interest for OP with a similar problem.

It would be quite a hassle getting stuck in the Vatican. There's only one hotel there (Residenza Paolo VI), with prices in the €125-€320 range. but again, it would also be a pity to visit Rome and not visit the Vatican.

  • Yes for sure, I went there myself with a Schengen visa. – Anas Hammad Oct 16 at 10:01
  • Point to note: it wouldn’t just be done with staying in a hotel in the Vatican. You would also have to avoid re-entering Schengen, meaning taking a helicopter from the Vatican either to a non-Schengen airport or to a Schengen airport that is content with treating you as a non-Schengen passenger. – Jan Oct 17 at 5:24
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For almost all non European Union/EEA citizens, an entry or exit stamp is mandatory upon crossing the external Schengen border

  • Article 8 (3) Border Code (thorough check)

  • Article 11 (3) Border Code

    • (e) Citizens of Andorra, Monaco and San Marino are exempted

No 'Immigration' (enter/exit) stamp for persons enjoying the right of free movement under Union law

  • Article 8 (2) Border Code (minimum check)
  • for third country citizens: only when the residence card is presented

A Single Entry Schengen visa is considered used

  • when an Schengen entry/exit stamp exists

so where there is no passport control, no new Schengen entry/exit stamp can be given and the 90/180 days rule apply (the clock does not stop).


Monaco is considered to be inside the external Schengen Border

  • Convention on Good Neighbourly Relations of 18 May 1963 on the entry, stay and establishment of foreigners in Monaco and exchange of letters from 15 December 1997
    • France will stamp the passport when needed
      • when the external Schengen Border through Monaco is crossed

Andorra is considered outside the Schengen Area

  • a multiple entry Schengen Visa is required to enter Andora

San Marino is considered outside the Schengen Area

  • but maintains an open border with Italy, so there is no passport control

Vatican is considered outside the Schengen Area

  • but maintains an open border with Italy, so there is no passport control

References:

  • 2
    "For almost all non European Union citizens, an entry or exit stamp is mandatory upon crossing the external Schengen border": yet there are no facilities whatsoever to provide these stamps for people going to Monaco, San Marino, or the Vatican. Yet these borders fall under the definition of "external border" in the Schengen codes. How does one reconcile these facts? – phoog Oct 15 at 21:43
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    In any event, this recitation of facts does not answer the question. For example, Vatican is outside Schengen, but there's no border control. This leaves me wondering whether a visit to Vatican city would count for the purpose of a single-entry visa, which was the original question. – phoog Oct 16 at 3:04
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    Is the first sentence "non European Union citizens" or "non Schengen member citizens"? Also, is this true for all European Union countries that are not Schengen members (I know it's true for the UK). – Stewie Griffin Oct 16 at 7:26
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    Most note that entering to Andorra is quite fluid from either France or Spain and it is very, very rare to have you show your passport. – fedorqui Oct 16 at 10:11
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    @fedorqui that may be true, but it does not change the fact that it a legal requirement. Peaple are not always fined for crossing a pedestrian red light but that does not make it legal. – Mark Johnson Oct 16 at 10:19
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There are no passport controls to enter Vatican City.

Technically, the Vatican is not part of the Schengen Zone or the EU, but it has an open border with Italy, and Italy is the only way to enter the Vatican.

So no-one will even know you have visited Vatican.

As o.m mentioned:

it is more like "they have a practical agreement that the Vatican doesn't count." It would only really matter if someone stays more than 90 days in Schengen-plus-Vatican.

  • 5
    This is quite true, so +1. One wonders, though, if someone on a Schengen single-entry visa were arrested in Vatican city what the Italian authorities would make of it when the person was to be transferred to them. – phoog Oct 15 at 15:14
  • And it would be a fringe scenario, but Schengen countries might establish border controls if they with to. – Quora Feans Oct 15 at 15:15
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    So, your answer is basically, "you won't get caught?" – Quora Feans Oct 15 at 15:15
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    @Jasper the present relationship between Italy and Vatican City only goes back 90 years to the Lateran Treaty, signed in 1929. Before that, the relationship was hostile, but I do not know what border control formalities existed, if any. Still, I imagine there is something explicit either in the treaty itself or subsequent to it. – phoog Oct 16 at 13:35
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    I would add that yourself, when in Rome, you will be hard pressed to know when you entered Vatican and left Italy. The limits are not displayed anywhere, and only careful observation of a plan will tell you one street is in Italy and the next in Vatican. – Martigan Oct 16 at 14:13

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