I'm planning on living in France for 7 months teaching English, and I'm hoping that my boyfriend will be able to accompany me.

After learning that the Long-Stay Tourist Visas are very difficult to obtain, we've been considering his going over and staying past the legal 90 days. I figure he won't really have that difficult of a time while in France, but do we risk his deportation if we try to travel outside of France after that 90 day period? I've read that when you cross country borders within the Schengen region, immigration officers don't check your passport--true or false?

Also, what happens when we're trying to leave France at the end of the 7 months, will he be at risk of getting fined or detained when we're trying to leave the country?

  • 4
    There is no regular border control, but that doesn't mean border police is just non-existent or won't stop border crossers for random checks. Certain borders and modes of transportation are subject to more control than others. I've been repeatedly stopped by border police when catching a bus from Sweden to Copenhagen on Øresundsbron, just because it's a frequent route for illegal immigrants. Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 19:19
  • @mindcorrosive Good point. Answer amended.
    – Karlson
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 19:22
  • 6
    I believe that the 90-days limitation is for the whole Schengen region, not just France.
    – littleadv
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 21:06
  • About routes for illegal immigrants where checks are usual, there is the France-Italy border, especially Ventimiglia when travelling by train.
    – mouviciel
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 5:28
  • 1
    If you have been with your boyfriend for a while, you might look at naming him as an 'accompanying spouse'. You may be able to get him included on your visa. Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 9:09

2 Answers 2


There are no systematic border controls within the Schengen area. There are occasional spot checks, but the odds are low. Note that the UK is not in Schengen; if you want to travel there, your passport will be checked in both directions. If you travel by plane, an airline employee will usually check your passport; if your visa is not valid, you may be denied boarding, with no recourse (I've seen it happen).

While you're in France, your papers may be checked by any police officer for pretty much any reason (basically, whenever something potentially illegal is happening, whether you are suspected of any wrongdoing or not). Various administrations and others may ask for your passport and refuse to provide service if they notice an expired visa (most non-government institutions wouldn't care, though). You could be deported if your visa is expired. You may be fined (even if you're leaving, I think). You wouldn't be detained if you were already leaving (but you may be if you're caught in the street). However, if you want to come back later, having overstayed a visa is usually a black mark on a visa application.


If you go between countries of Schengen Agreement you have no border to cross, so likely there will be noone there to stop or check you. Ports might be a possible exceptions. See @mindcorrosive comment.

When you leave France if your visa has expired you are risking not being allowed back into any countries of Schengen agreement for violation of the visa conditions and likely to be fined, here are some of the first hand experiences on the subject, and another one and more official like consequences.

My advice: Since you are going to stay and work for 7 months in France have you considered asking the company/organization that hired you for assistance in obtaining a long stay visa for both you and your boyfriend?

  • There is provision for an 'accompanying spouse' on a work visa, and I don't believe you have to be formally married. Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 9:11

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