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Staying in Europe for more than 90 Days

Backpacking in EuropeSpending a few years traveling Europe is only a dream for most of us. But you can make it work if you’re dedicated. If you’re worried about finances, click here for ways to earn money while you travel. The first thing you need to figure out is how long you’re legally allowed to stay. The Schengen Area encompasses most of Europe. You can travel within this area on a traditional passport for 90 days within a period of 180 days.

With a Schengen Visa, you can stay in the area for more than 90 days. Countries outside the Schengen Area all have different Visa requirements. You can learn about the requirements for US travelers from the US State Department.

If your parents or grandparents are European citizens, look into the process of obtaining an EU passport. Otherwise, here are some ways to prolong your stay without obtaining a Schengen Visa:

  • Visas: Working Holiday, Long-Term Tourist, or Self-Employment/Freelance
  • Stay in a variety of countries
  • Become a student
  • Teach English

To obtain a Working Holiday Visa, you must be a citizen of New Zealand, Australia, or Canada and be between the ages of 18 and 35. Unfortunately Americans are not able to acquire this Visa. Many European countries (such as France) offer a Long-Term Tourist Visa that is usually valid for one year. You will not legally be allowed to work during your stay and you will need to prove that you have the funds to sustain yourself for one year. You might be eligible for a Freelance Visa or a Self-Employment Visa if you are self-employed. Again, each country has its own list of requirements. Berlin, Germany is the most accommodating.

One of the easiest ways to stay in Europe for more than 90 days is to simply move in and out of the Schengen Area. For example, travel to Ireland when your 90 days are up. After 90 more days, you can travel back into the area.

IrelandIf you’re interested in furthering your education, consider applying to a European university. Full time students are presented with a Visa that allows them to travel anywhere in Europe. Universities often charge foreign students the same tuition as citizens (it’s cheap!). Some young people actually enroll, obtain their Visa, and travel Europe without attending class. If you’re just interested in learning a new language, you can find language classes that grant you a student Visa. These courses are full time and fairly expensive. There are many options available; some institutions allow their students to work part-time.

If you’re interested in teaching English, look into getting your TEFL certificate. Virtually every European country needs English teachers. There are also positions available as a language assistant in government-run programs. For this position, you should know the local language. Expect to make about $1,000 per month with ample time to travel.

Let’s be honest, some visitors simply don’t leave after 90 days. Penalties vary: some countries will ban you from Europe for years while other will simply give you a warning. Don’t risk it! If you “accidentally” stay in the Schengen Zone for more than 90 days, try to leave from Greece, Italy, or France. These countries are the most lenient.





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