I am a Korean citizen, currently in Greece on a tourist visa. As many of you might know, as a Korean, I don't actually need to apply for the Schengen visa but it's a stamp on arrival for 90 days of stay (out of 180 days).

My partner (German) and I are planning to get married in Denmark in the coming weeks. As he is an EU citizen and after we get married, with the marriage certificate, I'll be 'joining' him as a spouse of an EU citizen. I believe this will make us be free from tied to the 90/180 Schengen rule.

In other visa types, I know if you change the status of your visa (ie. Student visa to work visa) you have to leave the country and re-enter the country with a fresh stamp.

Does my case work like this, too? When we entered Greece, we were not married. Once we get married, is it better to leave the Schengen zone and re-enter and present our marriage certificate?

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    Where do you want to live after your marriage? Different EU countries may have different rules re. residency permits after a marriage. – Jan Sep 4 '20 at 10:07
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    This has actually happened to a friend of mine, but I do not know enough details that would qualify me to write an actual answer. He is a German citizen and wanted to marry his Mexican girlfriend. So they also decided to do that in Denmark and even asked the residents' registration office if that is fine and they said yes. They then reentered Germany with a then invalid visa. After hours of discussion with the residents' registration office it turned out they got the wrong answer in the first request and she had to leave the country. Finally both moved to Mexico and live there together now.... – koalo Sep 4 '20 at 11:14
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    @koalo but citizens of South Korea (and six other non-EU non-Schengen countries) are permitted to apply for a residence permit in Germany without first entering Germany with an appropriate visa, so that story is probably not comparable to this case. See germany.info/us-en/service/visa/residence-visa/922288. – phoog Sep 4 '20 at 16:35
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    @Jan there are only two differences: (1) whether it is Germany or another EU state, which determines whether the free movement directive 2004/38/EC applies, and, if it is elsewhere in the EU, (2) whether the country in question requires third-country family members to have a residence card pursuant to 2004/38/EC. Most countries do, but Ireland, at least, does not. Regardless, it would certainly not be necessary to leave the Schengen area if they're settling outside of Germany, and as far as I can tell probably not necessary if they're settling in Germany. – phoog Sep 4 '20 at 16:39
  • Regardless of the circumstances, requiring someone to physically exit and re-enter a country is pure madness. A visit to immigration to upgrade the visa should be all that is required. (If an exit/entry cycle is required by an aging software or anachronistic policies, that can be accomplished virtually or through a virtual port of entry, making it an administrative procedure). – magma Sep 4 '20 at 18:47

First, let me say that you have omitted two critical facts: Does your future husband reside in Germany? Do you plan to settle with him there?

If the answer to both questions is yes, then your presence in Germany would be subject to German national immigration law, which is somewhat more restrictive than the EU's free movement provisions. You would still benefit from the EU's free movement law when you are in EU and Schengen1 countries other than Germany.

Do you have to leave Schengen zone to validate a new Schengen visa after marrying to an EU citizen?

In general, no. If you're planning to settle in Germany, however, you would need to comply with German law, and I do not know precisely what it has to say about this. There are several countries whose citizens may in general apply for residence permits in Germany without first getting a visa. I do not know for certain whether this applies to family visas, but if it does then you should not need to leave the Schengen area. A citizen of Mexico, on the other hand, probably would need to do that. (The countries are the USA, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and South Korea; see Residence Visa / Long Stay Visa on the German government site.)

Once we get married, is it better to leave the Schengen zone and re-enter and present our marriage certificate?


I'll be 'joining' him as a spouse of an EU citizen. I believe this will make us be free from tied to the 90/180 Schengen rule.

That's true, unless your husband resides in Germany. In that case you will be free from the 90/180 rule in every Schengen country other than Germany. In Germany, your presence would be governed by German domestic law, so you would need a residence permit to exceed the 90/180 rule.

In other visa types, I know if you change the status of your visa (ie. Student visa to work visa) you have to leave the country and re-enter the country with a fresh stamp.

That's not actually true. Different Schengen countries have different views of that, but there's nothing in the Schengen regulations that requires it. Regardless, once you're married, the Schengen regulations will no longer apply to you for the purpose of regulating your stay when you're traveling with your husband in the Schengen area (except, if your husband resides in Germany, when you're in Germany).

Instead, you will enjoy a derivative right to accompany him as he exercises freedom of movement anywhere in the EU or the Schengen area (except for Germany if he resides there). That right flows from the EU treaties, not from any document such as a visa. As a citizen of South Korea, you don't need a visa for that purpose, and there is certainly no need to "validate" a visa you don't have, nor to validate anything else, by leaving and re-entering the Schengen zone.

The obligation you will have, if you settle with your husband in a country other than Germany, will be to register there if it is required by domestic law. If you want to settle with your husband in Germany then you will need to apply for a residence permit under German immigration law.


  1. Strictly speaking, free movement applies in EU and EEA countries plus Switzerland. All the EEA countries and Switzerland are in the Schengen area, and it is somewhat more convenient to say "EU and Schengen" than to say "EU and EEA countries and Switzerland."
  • What if the non-EU citizen spouse exercises their right to spend long periods of time in the Schengen zone with their EU citizen spouse, but then wishes to exit alone, say for a short trip back to South Korea. What sort of documentation do they need to exit and then re-enter the Schengen zone? – John Pardon Sep 3 '20 at 22:37
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    @JohnPardon the residence card, if they have one. Otherwise they might get away with a verbal declaration of their circumstances. If they don't, they can accept whatever punishment is imposed and then challenge it either administratively or in court. – phoog Sep 3 '20 at 23:03
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    @Jan The first "no" is offered in the context of Schengen regulations and EU free movement law. We don't even know whether German law applies here, because it applies only if the German husband resides in Germany, which we do not know. However, if that is the case, it is not clear to me that the Korean wife would have to leave the Schengen area between a wedding in Denmark and settling in Germany. Perhaps I should edit the answer to raise that issue first, and then qualify the answer to the first question. – phoog Sep 4 '20 at 14:55
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    @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ OP is very unlikely to have a record in SIS, which contains data about "requests for extradition; undesirability of presence in particular territory; minor age; mental illnesses; missing person status; a need for protection; requests by a judicial authority; and [suspicion] of crime" as well as lost and stolen passports and the like. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Information_System. If you're thinking about the VIS, there's no visa in this case, so also no record there. But definitely carrying the marriage certificate is a good idea. – phoog Sep 4 '20 at 14:59
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    @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ I say "no visa in this case" because even though OP says she's in Greece "on a tourist visa," she is a national of an Annex II country, so it would be more accurate to say that she is in Greece on a visa-exempt short stay. People commonly refer to that as a "tourist visa," but strictly speaking that is incorrect, as you probably know. – phoog Sep 4 '20 at 15:01

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