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I live in Denmark, my friend comes from Korea. Last year on December 21st, she (Korea) travelled here with a transfer in Helsinki airport. She's staying here until January 21st (31 days). Now, last summer she was in Europe for 77 days from July 1st until September 15 (77 days). There's 97 days between September 15 and December 21, so there shouldn't be any problems entering Schengen according to the 90/180 days rule.

Anyway, when she arrived in Finland on December 21, she was told to be back in Finland by December 31/January 1st (Just any day, which already here sounds weird to me). This surprised me a lot, so we immediately went to the police station at the airport in Copenhagen, they looked at her passport's enter/exit stamps from summer and said they couldn't see any problems with fulfilling her stay throughout January and that the border guard in Finland had probably made a mistake. They (now there was two, because they were also really puzzled by this at the station, heh) then referred me to the beautiful Schengen calculator and it tells me there's no problems with her stay.

Now, I've printed out the results from the calculator and the documentation describing how it works as well as the rules from the ec.europa.eu website and I'm hoping she can use it to help her case, if they pick her out again when she goes home.

As far as I can understand, it's different case to case and person to person how stuff like this is handled at the border, but should we consider booking her another flight through another country instead of Finland (like, Dubai) just to be safe? She's not nearly as fluent in English as I am and would have a hard time arguing her case if they pick her out again on the way back.

UPDATE [January 21 '15): So we decided not to change anything, so she flew from Copenhagen to Helsinki where she would transfer, and everything went smoothly so it definitely was a mistake.

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The Danish police and the Schengen calculator are right, and the Finnish border guard must be severely confused about the rules he's supposed to administer. (It sounds to me as if he thought a 6-month period started when she entered on July 1, and that she would need to be present at the border for some formalities when the next 6-month period starts. That doesn't make much sense, even under the old rules from before 90/180, but it's what sounds least crazy to me, particularly the instruction to be back in Finland (he may have said "back here"?) rather than leave Schengen by Jan 1. In any case, which particular misunderstanding the border guard had is not practically important now).

Will she have problems going back? In the absence of further evidence, I think it is much more likely that there's a single confused border guard in Helsinki than that the Finnish border authorities have an actual policy of not following the Schengen rules. It is not particularly likely that she will meet the same confused guard going back. And even if she does, he won't be able to actually do anything to her without involving a superior, and the superior would be able to set things straight then.

Of course it wouldn't hurt to make sure she has enough transit time in Helsinki for an hour or so of delay at exit immigration while things are sorted out, without missing her onwards flight. But most probably it won't be necessary.

In short, I wouldn't worry. But it's really of limited help to you to know how risk-adverse or not I or someone else who answers is. So you have to decide for yourselves whether to do something more rash to avoid the risk.

If you do want to do something, instead of booking an entire new return trip through Dubai, you might see if you can get Finnair to change her return trip to be from London instead of Copenhagen, and then buy a cheap single Copenhagen-London to connect. That way she would go through the Schengen exit checks in Copenhagen and only make an airside transit in Helsinki later, without coming into contact with Finnish immigration at all.

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    What I forgot to mention in the original post, was that he told her after leaving Finland on January 1st, she would have to wait until July to come back to Schengen, so it sounds more and more like a confused Finn thinking about some 6-month period. Your idea about going to London is great, I hadn't even thought about that! We'll consider it, but, as you also mention, I personally doubt it's necessary and making sure she has enough transfer time in Helsinki should suffice. – Left4Cookies Jan 12 '15 at 14:25
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    You could also try contacting the Helsinki division of the Finnish Border Guard at +358 295 412 660 or viestinta@raja.fi. If they care (and they should), the passport stamp & date will let them identify the officer in question. – jpatokal Jan 12 '15 at 21:22

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