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Can anyone tell me if the 90 days is in fact 90 nights? Can you leave the Schengen area on the 91st day? Or are you only allowed 89 nights and you are required to leave on the 90th day?

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    You need to be out before the 90th day ends. Leaving on the 91st day creates a vulnerability. – Gayot Fow May 2 '15 at 13:10
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    Also, technically, it's not a "6 month period" .. it's a rolling 180 day period. If you stay an entire 90 days, then yes, you have to wait 90 days to begin your 'next period', but too many people misunderstand it. It is up to 90 days in any given 180 day period, which moves every day. – CGCampbell May 2 '15 at 13:19
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    If you passed through immigration at 11pm, Januray 1st, 2015, that was day one. You must then leave no later than 11:59:59 on the 31st of March, 2015, which is the 90th day. – CGCampbell May 2 '15 at 13:35
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    It could be zero nights if you enter and leave on the same day, 90 times, within a 180-day period. – phoog May 2 '15 at 14:20
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You get stamps that only mention the date and both the day you enter and the day you leave count toward the maximum stay. It's not 90 nights or 90 24-hour period or anything like that but 90 calendar days of (even partial) presence in the Schengen area.

More generally, following the rules is entirely your responsibility. Border guards can occasionally turn a blind eye but planning to leave on the very last day of your allowed stay and then finding your plane has been cancelled would not necessarily save you from a fine. By choosing not to have a couple of days buffer, you are taking a slight risk.

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    I think this has been answered before, but if you go through exit control before midnight on the 90th day and take off after midnight (on the 91st day), is that allowed? (equivalently, if you land just before midnight and delay going through border control until just after midnight, does that mean your stay started the day you went through border control?) – cpast May 4 '15 at 0:43
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    @cpast The regulations say nothing about that. If the border guards let you do it then you have a stamp with the right date and you won't have any problem going forward but I guess it's up to them. – Relaxed May 9 '15 at 11:11

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