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I'm an EU citizen, my fiancee got a Schengen tourist visa valid for 14 days (she's not resident in the same country as me). We plan to marry very soon (in the next month, we have been planning this since the end of April).

We currently have a choice of 3 different countries:

  • my birth country (Italy)
  • the country for which she has a Schengen visa (country B)
  • a non-Schengen country (probably Turkey, in which she can remain visa-free for 60 days)

My concerns/constraints are several:

  1. will her travel be allowed? (I opened a separate question for this)
  2. will we manage to marry before her visa will expire?
  3. how should we handle her right to stay in the country afterwards?

I already looked up information (in Italian) that assuages our concerns re #2:

https://avvocatopenalistah24.it/legislazione/matrimonio-straniero-irregolare/

Basically, even if her visa will expire, as long as we started the process for marrying in Italy, she should be allowed to stay/not be fined. Of course, we already got our respective Certificate of No Impediment, and already gave notice to some authorities, but depending on where the marriage will happen, the same documents might not suffice (a different process should be started, which can incur a waiting period of at least 12 days, which make the 14 days duration a bit tight).

This leaves only concern #3.

According to

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

There are 3 different ways to get clearance for entry:

  • Get more Schengen visas
  • Get a residence permit ( "EC Long-Term Residence Permit" See instructions 1 and 2)
  • YOLO: show up at the border without a visa/permit

According to

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-family/index_en.htm#shortcut-2

their application should be processed quickly and free of charge

But according to https://vistoperitalia.esteri.it/home/en#BMQuestionario

When selecting "tourism - visit to family / friends" or "family reasons" the visa application would still be charged 35 euro (or not be possible at all). On top of that, the visa would be issued within 15 days (but without guarantee), which would make all travel for us a bit inconvenient... and of course it would not allow stays for longer than 90 days (not sure which visa would allow).

Thus, the residence permit seem like the preferrable approach. Usually it would not be granted if country is the same as the partner's citizenship, but apparently it's fine for Italy.

I don't foresee becoming a resident of country B, so even in the case of getting married there, we'd still travel to Italy to apply for her residence permit (in which case, it feels like getting married in country B would be premature).

The only unclear thing for me is: There are a few circumstances after which she won't use again the residence permit (and will likely have to apply for a Schengen visa again), some more or less likely:

  • I might lose Italian citizenship
  • The relationship might break down
  • We might be resident abroad outside the EU, and not travel back to Italy in 6 months (or 12, even allowing for maternity exceptions)

In which case, as described in this other answer, my fiancee would find herself with an entry stamp in her passport, but no exit stamp.

So, ultimately, even by having a residence permit in the years in between, wouldn't she risk been seen as having overstayed the original tourist visa?

Would the information that she held a residency permit be recorded and available by other Schengen countries? Would she have to provide the (expired?) permit when applying for new visas?

When would the residency permit be valid from? As from concern #2, if there's a period between the end of her current tourist visa and the wedding/residence permit application, could this count as negative travel history when applying for future applications?

To avoid this, maybe (right after the wedding), it would be better to leave the country and re-enter right away (the "YOLO" option) with a non-tourist visa, for example by crossing into Croatia (which is currently not Schengen), and then right back into Slovenia? (I understand that with an Italian marriage certificate, and me also being present with her, the approval would be quite straightforward... of course the idea is a bit unappealing, also because she already got a visa for Italy rejected in the past).

Applying for another visa would obviously not be doable (since her current visa would still be valid, and she would still be in the country), so the YOLO option would give us more time for the residency permit application to be processed (but how long would the visa be valid for in this case? 90 days?)

Getting married in Italy is preferable both because I have family there, and because it would simplify bureaucracy for future visits (no need for the marriage certificate to be translated).

I'm probably overthinking it, but what do you think we should do to avoid any issues? Is getting married in Italy the way forward?

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    Don't over complicates things. You are an Italian citzen (Schengen visas are mostly valid for all Schengen countries ; Italy doesn't care about the legal status when getting married), get married in Italy. Once married everthing else becomes much more simpiler. 'I might lose Italian citizenship': for what reason ? Jul 17, 2022 at 16:54
  • > 'I might lose Italian citizenship': for what reason ? For example, to acquire Russian citizenship it was required to renounce one's previous citizenship... I don't plan to do that, so definitely very unlikely :) (but also, I just checked again, and this requirement had apparently been scrapped in 2020: themoscowtimes.com/2020/04/17/… )
    – berdario
    Jul 17, 2022 at 17:10
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    What has that to do with losing Italian citizenship? Resolove one problem at a time. Jul 17, 2022 at 17:26
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    Your link to "this other answer" does not apply to residence cards issued to family of EU citizens; their passports are clearly and unambiguously not supposed to be stamped. But family of EU citizens who don't have the card are supposed to get passport stamps, so your trip-to-Croatia idea won't help anything. See my answer for more detail.
    – phoog
    Jul 17, 2022 at 22:54
  • Thanks, the "this other answer" link is just to point out that with a residence permit it's expected for her to not have an exist stamp. The trip-to-Croatia idea would just be to convert/add-to a tourist-stamp into a non-tourist-stamp (a visa obtained on grounds of marriage), which could potentially be better accepted (rather than people becoming residents just after a tourist visa). Basically, this would be moot if she would've got a "marriage visa", but I don't know of any Schengen country who provides one. Ultimately this was just another symptom of me overthinking things :)
    – berdario
    Jul 17, 2022 at 23:46

1 Answer 1

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As the spouse of an Italian citizen, your wife is very unlikely to be scrutinized for overstay in the Schengen area. Don't worry about the exit stamp.

Your wife can't be charged for a visa to enter the Schengen area to accompany or join you. A third-party visa processor (if there is one handling applications for the consulate to which she's applying), can charge their processing fee, but the consulate has to allow her to apply in person at the consulate to avoid the processor's fee. The site you linked to simply has incomplete information.

how should we handle her right to stay in the country afterwards?

As the spouse of an Italian citizen, her right to stay in any EU or EEA country (except Italy) arises automatically from EU law. In Italy, the right arises from an Italian law that guarantees family of Italian citizens treatment at least as favorable as that afforded to family of other EU citizens.

There are some documentation requirements to stay longer than 3 months, but even then, failing to obtain the documents does not put her at risk of expulsion. So if you plan to settle in the EU or EEA after marrying, just apply for a residence card (not "permit") within three months of marrying or arriving in that country, whichever is sooner, to avoid any administrative penalties that may be associated with a late application. It is emphatically not necessary to have the residence card in hand before the visa expires.

There are 3 different ways to get clearance for entry:

Are you planning to leave and re-enter? This is not clear from the question, which implies that your favored plan is to get married in Italy and stay there.

Would the information that she held a residency permit be recorded and available by other Schengen countries?

Maybe.

Would she have to provide the (expired?) permit when applying for new visas?

Maybe.

But really, if she needs a Schengen visa in the future, the missing exit stamp is unlikely to be a problem. People enter with visas and subsequently get residence permits all the time. She'll just say "I married an Italian citizen and stayed for a long time" and that will be the end of it.

When would the residency permit be valid from?

It doesn't matter. Her right to reside in Italy with you will be automatic; the card is just evidence of that. See above.

As from concern #2, if there's a period between the end of her current tourist visa and the wedding/residence permit application, could this count as negative travel history when applying for future applications?

Highly unlikely.

To avoid this, maybe (right after the wedding), it would be better to leave the country and re-enter right away (the "YOLO" option) with a non-tourist visa, for example by crossing into Croatia (which is currently not Schengen), and then right back into Slovenia?

She's still supposed to get a stamp on the way in, so doing this won't change anything.

As soon as she's your wife, she is exempt from the 90/180 rule when she's with you. A Schengen visa is only needed for entry, not for the ensuing stay. Just get married and apply for her carta di soggiorno (if you plan to stay in Italy, or another country's residence card if you plan to stay in another country). Congratulations and best of luck to you both.

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  • (+1) Excellent answer, as always but one small caveat: As from concern #2, if there's a period between the end of her current tourist visa and the wedding/residence permit application, could this count as negative travel history when applying for future applications? This is extremely unlikely to stop you from getting a visa or even a residence permit but can have other consequences, definitely if you're staying in the EU spouse's country of citizenship.
    – Relaxed
    Jul 17, 2022 at 22:59
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    I have heard about cases where an application for French citizenship (naturalisation) was denied on that ground, years after the fact. There are other procedures for spouses of French citizens (citizenship by déclaration) so I am not even sure that would apply here but the point is that any period of illegal stay is best avoided.
    – Relaxed
    Jul 17, 2022 at 23:00
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    @Relaxed thanks for pointing that out. After reading the other question linked in this one, which makes it clear that the fiancée is under suspicion of visa shopping by country B's consulate, I am inclined to say that the better course of action is either to get married right away in country B, if possible, or else leave as stated in the visa application and get married in Turkey or anywhere else outside the EU. This seems to be a case where the usual best practice of asking separate questions separately has led to material facts being left out of at least one question.
    – phoog
    Jul 17, 2022 at 23:07
  • Thanks for the answer, and good points. I also didn't think of potential difficulties for an eventual naturalisation for her down the line, so we'll definitely take this into account.
    – berdario
    Jul 17, 2022 at 23:50
  • As an update, 1 year after the fact: we indeed tried to get married in country B (Hungary), but it turned out that the version of my birth certificate we had was not the correct one, so I had to get a copy of it shipped from Italy in a hurry, and then I tried to get it officially translated (since unfortunately, Hungary is not a signatory of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… ). It turned out that we wouldn't have got the translation in time before my wife-to-be visa expiration, so we then decided to move to Italy...
    – berdario
    Jul 10, 2023 at 0:06

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