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Seagypsywoman 12-18-2004 03:17 AM

Staying longer in Europe
As a non-EU, is it possibleto stay longer than 3 months in Europe while cruising? I know the boat can stay up to 18 months, but what about the skipper/owner/crew?

928frenzy 12-18-2004 03:34 AM

Staying longer in Europe
I was told by both the US Embassy in Athens and the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC that a US citizen could stay in Greece (and other EU countries) for up to 6 months before requiring an extension.

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~

WHOOSH 12-18-2004 04:45 AM

Staying longer in Europe
Regrettably, those two embassies apparently don''t know about the Schengen Treaty and are handing out bum dope...which isn''t all that surprising. E.g. the Dutch Embassy in London provides specific coaching on how Canadians & Americans can avoid Schengen limitations, while the Dutch Embassy in D.C. specifically says this is all but impossible.

Virtually all of coastal Europe, from Norway down thru the Western Med including Greece, are Schengen signatories, and Schengen limits citizens of non-Schengen countries to no more than 90 days (total, including all countries) of visitation in any 180 day period. No ''resetting the clock'' as with VAT exclusion. In practice, this rarely surfaces as an issue unless the officials have some other reason to be upset with you, in which case Schengen is a handy way to fine you and then toss you out. And of course some countries (Belgium stands out in our experience) are more diligent about this than others. In one case, Greece fined a U.S. yachty $500 in 2003 for overstaying his 90 day limitation by one day.

For more info on this consider visiting and opening the Cruising in Europe section.


msl 12-18-2004 12:14 PM

Staying longer in Europe
Does England share the Schengen treaty 90 day restriction? Does VAT become due after 90 days in England and/or the European countries?
Mark L.

WHOOSH 12-18-2004 11:55 PM

Staying longer in Europe
Mark, you might want to review the article on VAT located at the same URL I posted above.

Immigration issues are distinct & different from Customs issues, so you always want to tackle the two issues separately.''s about ''you'' and then, separately, it''s about ''the boat''.

The UK is not a Schengen signatory, nor is Ireland. Since they are island nations, they really didn''t face the same border-crossing nuisances that the continental European countries did. That also explains why Schengen restrictions aren''t synonymous with the EU, as e.g. Norway is not an EU Member but still chose to participate in Schengen since they share a common border with Sweden.

Re: VAT, all non-EU boats are allowed 18 months of exclusion from VAT liability while within one or more of the EU countries. Once the boat steps into a non-EU country, the boat''s 18 month ''clock'' is reset which *should* allow them to re-enter the EU for another 18 months. (In addition, some countries routinely allow a boat to be put into bond for up to 6 add''l months - e.g. if you are returning home for a period of time, outside the EU, and the boat isn''t going to be used. Whether that add''l period is honored by a subsequent EU country one visits is iffy). Once you step outside the EU, the customs laws of the non-EU country(ies) you visit will apply.

Sorry for the long-winded answer; this stuff can get confusing and its easy to overly generalize.


Seagypsywoman 12-20-2004 04:59 AM

Staying longer in Europe
Thanks Jack for the info.
One more question: Has anyone tried successfully to get an extended stay visa in Portugal or Spain? Can you get it at the airport or do you have to apply from your home country?

WHOOSH 12-20-2004 05:43 AM

Staying longer in Europe
Barb, I don''t know the answer to your question but perhaps I can clarify the circumstances a bit. Countries usually offer only routine visa periods to tourists who are first entering their country. IOW they don''t as a rule ignore their own visa visitation limits right from the start. This means the tourist is later in the role of applying for an extension, and Immigration will proceed based on that request and the circumstances associated with it.

OTOH when applying for a visa from your home country (thru the other country''s embassy or consulate), you may find you have other options. One reason for this is that it is a deliberate process with time allowed to consider other circumstances, rather than a poor gal/guy at the Immigration booth at the airport with a big line of waiting passengers waiting to be processed.

If you are trying to sort out what will work best for you, I''d recommend you dig into the relevant countries'' D.C. Embassy websites (assuming you are American). This info will be in English, and it will offer you a base on which to build if you have questions, want to explore further, and need to talk to Embassy officials. That''s how I found the automatic extension process that existed for the Netherlands when we were considering wintering there.

Regrettably, none of this will replace the benefit of being on the ground, in a marina in Portugal or Spain, with access to the local officials who will make the decisions, and with other yachties nearby who can pass along their own experiences. It''s for this reason that the SSCA monthly Bulletins are so often helpful; I would encourage you to subscribe by joining SSCA if you haven''t.

Good luck and stop back and tell us what conclusions you''ve reached!


Seagypsywoman 01-25-2005 01:04 AM

Staying longer in Europe
I think I''ll just sail to Gibraltar. Thanks all.

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