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I am a UK citizen who now has residence in Spain, which is part of the Schengen area of (more or less) the EU.

Since Brexit I have been able to travel between the UK and Spain and vice versa by showing my UK passport and asking the Spanish border officials not to stamp my passport with entry and exit stamps, which if I show my Spanish residence card, they are happy to do.

I normally fly directly between the two countries. However I wonder if I may encounter difficulties if I drive from the UK to Spain via, for example, France and then make the return journey Spain-France-UK say five years later. Would the French Authorities think I had overstayed my 90 day non-visa visit to the Schengen area?

And would the ETIAS scheme make any difference?

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    Wouldn't you just show your Spanish residence permit to the border guards ?
    – xngtng
    Oct 18 at 22:17
  • @xngtng Well, maybe that would work. What would I say if they ask whether I can prove that I spent at least half of those five years in Spain? Or does having a residence permit in one Schengen country entitle me to free movement in the rest of Schengen? Oct 18 at 22:28
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    The residence permit from a Schengen country entitles you to visit other Schengen countries subject to the 90/180 rule (which you can do anyway as a citizen of the UK). That restriction is not routinely enforced, however, since the crossing of internal borders is not recorded.
    – phoog
    Oct 18 at 22:33
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I wonder if I may encounter difficulties if I drive from the UK to Spain via, for example, France and then make the return journey Spain-France-UK say five years later. Would the French Authorities think I had overstayed my 90 day non-visa visit to the Schengen area?

No. The French authorities will recognize that you are not subject to the 90/180 rule when you are in Spain. They might ask you to affirm that you have been in Spain, but they almost certainly won't.

And would the ETIAS scheme make any difference?

No. ETIAS will not apply to travelers who hold a residence permit issued by a Schengen country.

Note that this problem has already existed for a couple of decades for other third-country nationals who might drive from France to the UK with a residence permit issued by another Schengen country. The French border inspectors have much better things to do with their time than to try to catch people who spent 91 days or more outside of their country of residence before presenting themselves for the exit inspection.

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I was in this exact situation as a non-EU national with residence in Sweden. I have to leave and enter Schengen elsewhere due to the lack of direct flights, and my passport was always stamped on entry and exit.

As long as you show the residence card when exiting Schengen, they will not bother looking for any stamp and consider your presence lawful even though the entry stamp is 2 or 3 years old, as it was to me.

I have been doing this for more than a decade and it was never a problem. Do not worry about it. Just remember to always show your card together with the passport.

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    (+1) Actually, unless you hold residence card as a family member of the family of an EU citizen, stamping is actually required even for EU residents (cf. article 11 of the Schengen Borders code). You're right that it doesn't have any consequences and many countries apparently stopped doing it for that reason.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 19 at 21:31
  • Only family members of an EU citizen, if they show their residence card (provided for in Directive 2004/38/EC) upon entry or exit, are exempted from the passport stamp requirement (Article 11 (3)(g), Schengen Border Code). Holders of a residence permit card are not listed in Article 11 (3) as being exempted. Oct 19 at 21:40
  • @MarkJohnson that is correct, but many Schengen countries nonetheless maintain a policy of not stamping the passports of anyone with any sort of Schengen residence permit. See Which Schengen countries (don't) stamp passports of ordinary residence permit holders?
    – phoog
    Oct 21 at 22:17
  • @phoog That was in reply to: '(even if technically it should not have been)' of the original text. Legally they are obliged to do so, eventhough it serves no purpose (which is why many don't do so). Oct 22 at 3:04
  • @MarkJohnson aha, thank you for clarifying. I had misunderstood the reason for your posting the comment.
    – phoog
    Oct 22 at 7:11
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As a lawful resident of one Schengen country, you are allowed to visit the rest of the Schengen area. You are restricted to 90 days in any 180 days in the rest of Schengen, and can not undertake paid work, except on behalf your Spanish employer.

Your non-EU family also share these rights, when they are traveling with you.

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-nationals/index_en.htm

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  • They also have these rights even when not traveling with you, since they are holders of a residence permit card. Oct 19 at 21:44

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