14

I recall someone saying that you can't go to the same Schengen country as a tourist for 3 months over and over even if you don't overstay a trip, because immigration thinks that it's suspicious for some reason. I am a US citizen living in the US and want to visit the Netherlands every 180 days for a few years because I want to enjoy it a lot.

3
  • 4
    For what it's worth, in four and a half years, I went in and out of Schengen 14 times for a total of 525 days. Overstayed once a single day (by mistake). No problems at any crossing (and always entered without a return ticket). But I agree with phoog: couldn't hurt to have some documentation along to pull out if ever challenged. – WGroleau Apr 12 at 1:17
  • 2
    Do check if there is a special agreement between US and Netherlands. I remember vaguely there is one between Germany and US, it might allow for longer stays. – lalala Apr 12 at 5:48
  • There are digital nomad visas now in various Schengen countries but I don't seem to recall the Netherlands having one travel.stackexchange.com/a/158462/4188 however they have a freelancer visa – chx Apr 15 at 11:11
23

I recall someone saying that you can't go to the same Schengen country as a tourist for 3 months over and over even if you don't overstay a trip, because immigration thinks that it's suspicious for some reason.

They might find it suspicious, but it's not against the rules, and if they look at you more closely because of their suspicion, they ought not to find anything justifying refusal of entry. You'll want to be sure that you can show (in case they ask) a fairly full plan of visitor activities, and to demonstrate that you can support yourself comfortably without working while you are there.

If you plan to come close to the 90 day limit, though, you're probably better off shooting for 86 days rather than 90. That's 12 weeks plus a couple of days, and it gives you some leeway in case your departing flight is delayed or cancelled, etc.

You will also want to be sure that you understand the 90/180 rule fairly well, especially if you will be making multiple shorter visits within any 180-day period.

2
  • 12
    About understanding the 90/180 rule: it applies to all of Schengen, not each individual country. If you leave Netherlands on the ninetieth day but enter another Schengen country (except for transit), that's an overstay. – WGroleau Apr 11 at 23:55
  • 2
    @WGroleau yes, that is a critical element of the rule. I figured that OP knew it, but it certainly is worth mentioning. – phoog Apr 12 at 1:57
9
+500

As Harper - Reinstate Monica stated, most countries, and the countries of the Schengen Area are no exception, don't want you to use tourist/visitor visas to effectively live in a country through repeated visits.

The rule of thumb usually applied is that you shouldn't be in the country (or area, in the case of Schengen) more than half of the time. If you're over that in a single country, you'll become a tax resident anyway, and there are lots of other tax, social security, insurance, etc. implications.

Many countries don't have well defined limits. Both the UK and US for instance have a maximum time allowed per stay, but other than requiring you "not to effectively live there", they don't specify how they count that.

The Schengen Area, on the other hand, has a very clear rule: the 90/180 rule. As you see, if you stay within its bounds, you simply cannot be over half of the year in the area. You can in theory go right to the limit, and spend exactly half of your time in the area, be it by alternating 90-day periods in and out of the area, or 30-day periods, or alternating weeks, or any mix which fulfils the conditions.

Note however that you still need to meet the other criteria for a visitor, and that includes not working in the Area, and of course not relying on the public purse of member states.

So if you come for extended periods of time, an immigration officer would be in their role if they ask what you are planning to do, how you can afford to stay all this time in the Schengen Area while not working, and so on. In some cases it's not an issue (if you are wealthy enough, really), in others it may lead to a bit more intense questioning, and in extreme cases in refusal of entry.

Note that this can happen even on your very first visit, and even for people coming from "rich" countries — we have a few questions around here from people from the US who were denied entry in European countries because they didn't quite meet the criteria. Coming often for long visits is not, by itself, a reason to deny entry, but increases the chances someone will look into this more closely.

As phoog stated, it's important you understand the 90/180 rule, including:

  • The fact that any day you are in the Schengen Area, even for 5 minutes, counts as a full day (so your first and your last day in the area both count)
  • The fact that it applies to the Area as a whole, not individual countries. So transit in other countries of the Area counts for the duration of the stay.

It's always a good idea to not get right to the limit, and keep a safety margin. Stuff happens, and you don't want to be on the wrong side of the limit because a flight was cancelled or you blew a tire. Remember that it may also limit your options for subsequent transits on your way to other countries.

3
  • 3
    Also that it's a rolling 180-day window. – StrangerToKindness Apr 13 at 11:21
  • 1
    Not working is not a criteria for a visitor visa (or visa-free short stay). It works the other way around: a visitor visa doesn't in and of itself grant any permission to work. But if you need to come to the Schengen area for work that lasts less than 90 days, you can do that under a visitor visa, after securing the required permission. – Relaxed Apr 15 at 8:19
  • 1
    @Relaxed I am sure you know this, but it bears mention: the specific permission required, and the specific activities that require permission, are determined by national law, so a general answer covering that circumstance is not possible. – phoog Apr 16 at 0:57
2

Immigration has a rule of thumb that on a visitor visa, you are not to effectively live in a country via repeated visits. Given your affinity for the place, you should consider arranging a situation that would involve a non-visitor visa, such as getting hired in to a Benelux country.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.