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I will be visiting France this fall for a "scientific visit" of about 80 days, and the relevant visa for this trip is the "Short stay visa for scientists, researchers and teachers" visa:

http://www.consulfrance-sanfrancisco.org/spip.php?article2686

This page also says that since I hold a US passport, I actually don't need the visa. I just need to show my "CONVENTION D’ACCUEIL" at the border.

The problem is: I've already spent a considerable time in Europe this summer, something like 40 days in total, and together with my trip in the fall, this puts me over the 90/180 limit for non-visa stays in the Schengen zone. So does this mean I need to apply for the French visa anyway? Would the French consulate even give me the visa, given that they say explicitly that I do not need it?

If it's relevant, I'm flying directly in and out of France at the beginning and end of my stay, though sometime in the middle I'll also travel to other countries within the Schengen zone.

  • related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/13183/… – Karlson Jul 25 '15 at 3:12
  • There's an implication in the answers that if you want to travel outside of France during this time, you're going to need country-specific visas for them too. – mkennedy Jul 25 '15 at 13:45
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    @mkennedy Not necessarily. If the OP gets a long-stay visa, the time in France would definitely not count towards the limit so the OP would have some time left in other parts of the Schengen area and would not be bothered on exit. With a LTV visa, it's more complicated, usually those are for people who need a visa for short stays in a first place and are therefore not allowed to go anywhere else but for a US citizen I don't know. In practice, it might not matter. – Relaxed Jul 25 '15 at 20:00
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Generally speaking, it's not possible for people who don't need a short-stay visa to get one, that's not how Schengen visas work (unlike the UK or US for example, where you can apply for a visa for various reasons even if your citizenship qualifies you for the Visa Waiver Program or you're not a visa national). So the French consulate should not give you a regular uniform Schengen visa.

Most importantly, if you would in fact get such a visa, it would not solve your problem. The reason for that is that a Schengen visa does not open any right to stay longer than 90 days in the Schengen area, all visitors are bound by the 90/180 days short-stay limit in any case, even across multiple visas. This maximum stay rule is defined at the beginning of article 5(1) of the Schengen Borders code, independently of the visa requirement defined at article 5(1)(b).

Again in contrast with US or UK practice, the maximum length of stay allowed is not decided at the border by an immigration officer but entirely defined by the regulations (and, for people who need one, the visa). There is no notion of being “admitted until” and no stamp to that effect, only a date of entry and a strict rule border guards are supposed to enforce. So, visa or no visa, you could and should be refused entry if you intend to stay too long or fined on the way out if you managed to enter and overstay.

In fact, not having previously stayed more than 90 days in any 180 day period (and not intending to do so) is also a requirement for the issuance of a Schengen visa, per article 21(1) of the Schengen Visa code, which refers back to article 5(1) of the Schengen Borders code. So even if your citizenship did not make applying for a Schengen visa unnecessary, the logical decision would be to refuse it, since you do not meet the requirements precisely because you want to stay more than 90 days in total. Having stayed too long is also one of the reasons on the standard refusal form.

What the consulate could in theory do is issue a “limited territorial validity” visa, valid only for France. I have never heard of it for a case like that, these visas are rather uncommon and primarily intended to be used for humanitarian or national interest reasons but legally speaking, it does allow a state to exempt someone from the 90-day limit. Or they could perhaps issue a national long-stay visa (it's not a Schengen visa, which means the fees, application form and requirements are different).

In any case, you need to consult with the consulate because if you just submit a regular Schengen visa application without explanation, you run a high risk of a rejection (on the basis of your citizenship) or refusal (because of your previous stay). You should also make sure to read all the requirements carefully, if you are not used to visa applications. For example, people who require a visa to enter the Schengen area must show they have appropriate health insurance for the period of their stay, which is not required for visa-free visits.

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Yes, you will need to get a visa since you won't be able to use the 90/180 days. Yes, they should give it to you as long as you meet the requirements. If for some reason they won't give it to you, you could look at the long-term stay version of the same visa.

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    Even so, it may be worth contacting the embassy to ask, before going through the full visa application (and fee). – Nate Eldredge Jul 25 '15 at 1:38
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    This makes very little sense, it's not how Schengen visa work. In fact, one of the requirements is not going over the 90/180 days limit… – Relaxed Jul 25 '15 at 5:17
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    @Relaxed Matthew just says that the OP will need a visa, not a Schengen visa, which is true. (or maybe you're commenting on a now-deleted comment?) – mkennedy Jul 25 '15 at 13:44
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    @mkenedy Maybe but the contrast with the “long-term stay version of the same visa” suggests he did really mean a Schengen visa. In any case, it does nothing to dissipate the confusion or to explain precisely what's possible and what's not. – Relaxed Jul 25 '15 at 14:54
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    @MatthewHerbst The OP seemed to contemplate a Schengen/short-stay visa application, which would not help as I explained in my answer. That's the confusion that needed dispelling. Your answer is quite vague but if “they should give it to you” refers to the visa mentioned in the question then that's incorrect and it makes no sense to offer that visa as a solution to stay more than 90 days “as long as you meet the requirements” because not staying more than 90 days is one of the requirements. A long-stay visa could indeed be a solution, no argument with that from me. – Relaxed Jul 25 '15 at 19:54

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