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I heard this from two different people in two different situations during my stay here in Poland. I actually didn't even ask either of them about it. They told me on separate occasions on their own. These people also don't know each other, and they both said they know Americans who do it all the time. I have no reason to believe they would mislead me, but I am curious about where exactly I can find more information on this.

Does anyone know exactly what they're referring to?

And what might be the implications when traveling to other Schengen countries afterwards?

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    See the second half of this answer (the part from "Edit given US citizenship"). – jcaron Feb 14 '20 at 23:19
  • Oh I see now. The first time I read that, I didn't realize that was referring to the same thing here. Thanks a ton. You've been extremely helpful. – loh Feb 15 '20 at 1:10
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No, that trick doesn't work.

Schengen has a 90-of-180 rule, which says you can only be in Schengen 90 days of the last 180 days. If you stay 90 days in Schengen, you must then leave to avoid an overstay.

However, Poland has a special rule allowing 90 additional days for Americans. So you can use up your Schengen 90 days, then, go another 90 days in Poland.

You can spend an intervening day in Ukraine if you really want to, but it's not necessary.

While inside Schengen (including Poland), you accrue time on both clocks.

Suppose your start in Poland, spend 90 days, then go to Germany. Nuh-uh. You already accrued your 90 days inside Schengen, while you were in Poland, and now you must leave the Schengen area for 90 days prior to visiting Germany again. You could stay 90 more in Poland because of the exception.

The 90-of-180 rule means if you spent 90 of the last 180 days inside Schengen, you are not admissible.

Suppose you enter the EU and spend 150 days in Poland. How many of the last 180 days have you spent in Schengen? 150. That makes you ineligible to enter any of the other Schengen countries (except Denmark). Now you spend a day in Ukraine. How many of the last 180 days have you spent in Schengen? Still 150.

Suppose you spend 45 days in Germany, 100 days in Ukraine, then 60 days in Poland. In the last 180 days, 100 days were in Ukraine and the rest were in Schengen, so 80 days in Schengen. You can spend 10 more days in Belgium, but then you have to leave Schengen (unless you avail yourself of the extra 90 days offered by Denmark or Poland).

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    @loh You would much better off applying for a polish D-Visa (residence permit) for your expected stay in Poland, which should be possible for US Citizens inside Poland. With that you can avoid the border hopping and the Schengen clock runs only for the days outside of Poland. – Mark Johnson Feb 15 '20 at 8:07
  • As far as I understand it, you actually need to leave the Schengen Area and re-enter Poland (directly) to avail of the additional 90 days in Poland (for the same obscure reasons you could go to Denmark, which is in Schengen, then back to Poland, to achieve the same result). Also, in some circumstances, you can stay in the Schengen Area and not accrue presence in respect of the 90/180 rule if you are under a different regime. Don’t know if that would apply in this case, but it’s possible (needs to be checked). If it does, you could do 90 Schengen days, 90 Poland days, 90 Schengen... – jcaron Feb 15 '20 at 12:09
  • At the very least, you can do 90 days in Poland, 90 days in Denmark, 90 days in Poland, etc. Better have all the right documentation at hand though... – jcaron Feb 15 '20 at 12:10
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    See othe question for more details: Poland / US Treaty 19.03.1991, where a link to a pdf of the treaty exists. – Mark Johnson Feb 15 '20 at 12:34
  • @jcaron What is needed is proof that you have left Poland, which is more difficult with Germany and Denmark for the lack of a stamp. Generally pre Schengen treaties are still valid and are listed in an Annex of the treaty. This one is not listed (possibly) because it is only a letter of understanding. It is also not clear whether within Poland this is generally known. So printing out a copy of the letter and the text of the Polish Embassy might be a good idea. – Mark Johnson Feb 15 '20 at 12:41

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