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I am an American citizen in Croatia with my UK partner and we are hoping for some clarification on our Schengen days while we wait for our digital nomad and family reunification permits (temporary resident permits) to be approved. We submitted our applications on February 23rd and received an email confirming we were in process. We had 22 days left from our 90/180 allowance when we applied, so I believe that if the clock keeps ticking, on March 17th we will have used up our 90/180 days.

What I would like to know is:

  1. Do our days waiting in Croatia for approval of our permits still count towards the 90/180 Schengen days? We were told we are now 'in procedure' so the days don't count in Croatia but I want to be sure that applies to Schengen days.
  2. We were told that after our permits are approved, the days waiting for approval are deleted from the system. Is that true and will that be reflected when traveling to other Schengen countries? It seems the system shows the entry and exit date so do they add an exit date to the SIS system to reflect the day you applied?
  3. We were told the Croatian Foreigners Law (article 58) is the specific law to prove our right to travel in the Schengen area during our visa application process, that although it says 'Croatia', that is now synonymous with Schengen. ('the third country national...who applies for a temporary resident permit...may stay in the Republic of Croatia until the decision on his application becomes enforceable.') Is this true or is there any relevant EU laws?
  4. After our permits are approved, will we still be subject to the 90/180 Schengen day rule OUTSIDE of Croatia? We know they don't count inside Croatia with an approved permit. But a lawyer we talked to said we would be temporary Schengen residents and so the 90/180 is no longer relevant.

I apologize for all the questions but it has been very confusing as we are getting conflicting information.

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  • SIS does not track entries and exits, nor does it calculate days of presence. The EES will do that when it goes into operation sometime soon (they have delayed it several times).
    – phoog
    Mar 4 at 18:19
  • For reference: Croatia - Aliens Act (2020) PDF - 129 Pages Mar 4 at 18:30
  • "a lawyer we talked to said we would be temporary Schengen residents and so the 90/180 is no longer relevant": if indeed the lawyer was speaking about your traveling to other Schengen-area countries, the lawyer was wrong. Croatia became a full member of the Schengen area only recently, so it seems that not everyone has had enough time to figure out precisely what has changed since before it joined.
    – phoog
    Mar 4 at 18:39

1 Answer 1

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Do our days waiting in Croatia for approval of our permits still count towards the 90/180 Schengen days?

No they don't, your Schengen clock froze the moment you got your application receipt and as long as you stay in Croatia.

The above is probably wrong but either way, your stay is currently legal in Croatia

After our permits are approved, will we still be subject to the 90/180 Schengen day rule OUTSIDE of Croatia?

It is practically unenforceable, but yes, outside of Croatia the Schengen clock runs as if you were any other tourist even if you hold a residence permit/long-stay visa.

We were told that after our permits are approved, the days waiting for approval are deleted from the system

There is no Schengen-wide database for it, Croatia may have a national database though, but only them have access to it. The SIS being a database for enforcement of bans... it is irrelevant here.

that although it says 'Croatia', that is now synonymous with Schengen

You go off the wrong assumption here, it is not the case. Residence permits are a matter of national law, not EU law (except for the Blue Card, and even then, it's mostly national law).

If you needed a visa to enter the Schengen Area and that visa expired while you were waiting for processing, you would still need to get a visa to visit another Schengen country. Your stay may be recognized in one country, but not in another.

As a non-visa national, you could technically travel in Schengen while your permit is processing, but that may lead to issues if you encounter border control (they exist as spot controls at some borders) and I haven't found any resources regarding whether this is allowed.

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  • I don't have time to find the legal references for it right now, but I am close to 100% sure that your answer to the first question is incorrect. If you have a national long term visa or residence permit from any of the Schengen states, the days spent in that state does not count towards the 90/180 days clock. If you however stay in a Schengen country visa-free or with a C visa and apply there for a residence permit, the period you are waiting there for your residence permit to be issued is not covered by the previously mentioned exception and your clock is still running. Mar 4 at 0:12
  • It is the sovereign right of a country to determine if a 3rd national may remain inside it's territory. Article 58(4) of the Croatian Aliens Act, allows a stay until the decision on his application has been made. This temporary stay permit is also granted to a long-term visa holder after arrival (Articles 35 and 58). Schengen Border Code Article 6(2) excludes a long-term visa from the day count: Periods of stay authorised under a residence permit or a long-stay visa shall not be taken into account in the calculation of the duration of stay on the territory of the Member States. Mar 4 at 13:27
  • Your original text is therefore correct. If that was not so, Croatia (or any other country that issues a initial permit pending examination of a first application) would have ti charge peaple because of an overstay depite the fact that themselfs allowed them to stay. This is, of course, nonsense. This permit alone does not, however, replace a visa if one is required. Mar 4 at 13:40
  • ccorrection: ' (Articles 35 and 57).' Mar 4 at 13:51
  • @MarkJohnson OP does not hold a long-stay visa, this is why it's a bit of a grey area Mar 4 at 14:07

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