So I'm a non-EU National, due to an upcoming trip in January I have a Schengen 'C' visa that was issued (validity from 5th January to 1st July for 90 days).

In February, I will be in Switzerland for an exchange program for 5 months & have been given a 3 month 'D' Visa (8th February to 7th May). It's only a 3 month validity because from my understanding, the 'D' visa for Switzerland serves only as an 'entry clearance' of sorts, it is the residence permit which will allow me to stay the full 5 months. [Unlike France where the 'D' visa lasts for the entire duration of an exchange]

Anyway, whilst my residence permit is processing, if I were to travel out of Switzerland (or even Schengen), at the border control for non-Schengen or random checks for intra-Schengen, will these 2 simultaneously valid visas be an issue ? Even though they are different types, they both allow travel within Schengen.

From my understanding, once I get my residence permit then my days spent in Switzerland will not count towards the 90/180. However, how do they know how much time I spent out of Switzerland (but within Schengen) ? Or is it based off the validity duration of the Residence permit ?

If so, let's say the permit is valid from 8 February to 8th June, does that mean that the 'C' visa will not be deemed to have been 'used' up till the expiry of my residence permit? so If i remain until 30th June, then my days under the 'C' visa will only start counting from 8th June to 30th June? as well as the days spent in January of course.

My question mainly stems for travels while both visas are valid (& especially when I get my residence permit but the 'C' visa is still valid - is that possible? or does the residence permit sort of annul the 'C' visa?).

Both the 'C' as well as the 'D' visas are multiple entries.

  • 1
    Strictly speaking the 90/180 rule applies when you're in other Schengen countries, but there's no strict tracking of that. The only way you could get in trouble for this would be if there were clear evidence that you'd spent too much time in the Schengen area but outside of Switzerland.
    – phoog
    Dec 30, 2016 at 14:17
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    Also, strictly speaking, the 90/180 rule applies across all visas, so if you spend the last eighty days of your D visa in France (for example), you will have only ten days available under your C visa. But it will be unlikely that this would be enforced, again because of the lack of readily available evidence.
    – phoog
    Dec 30, 2016 at 14:22
  • I think the wording is ambiguous. Time spent in the issuing country doesn't count, certainly, but the D visa allows you to travel to the rest of the Schengen area subject to the 90/180 rule. This is presumably in place so people don'tuseresidence permits issued by one country to stay indefinitely in another one.
    – phoog
    Dec 30, 2016 at 14:27
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    Yes, italy was an example of a country which hadn't issued the D visa. Dec 30, 2016 at 14:31
  • 1
    If there's some reason to invalidate the C visa, that will be done explicitly with a stamp. It probably won't be done that way, however. For example, if you have a five-year multiple entry C visa and you get a one-year residence permit, there's no reason you shouldn't keep the C visa for use after the residence permit expires.
    – phoog
    Dec 30, 2016 at 18:04

1 Answer 1

  • The C visa allows to to travel in the Schengen area while it is valid and while you did not spend more than 90 days out of the previous 180 days in the Schengen area.
  • The D visa allows you to stay in the nation which issued it while it is valid and it allows you to travel in the other Schengen states as if you had a C visa. It also means that days in the nation which issued it do not count towards the 90/180 rule.
  • They will not know how much time you have spent in Switzerland and how much time you have spent in the rest of Schengen. You are trusted to abide by the rules, and you would be well advised not to abuse that trust. It might be a good idea to save hotel receipts, tickets, etc. to document your travels within Schengen in case that ever becomes an issue.

Having both visa at the same time is entriely OK. If you did enter the Schengen area before February 8th, those days count towards 90/180. Any time in Switzerland after February 8th does not count towards 90/180. If your visa are checked, you should point out that you have both.

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