Having a Schengen visa means you can visit your primary destination country and other countries in the Schengen zone without applying for another visa. While this privilege allows you to explore many European countries, it’s not indefinite. Your visa is valid for a specific period of time; in this case, a Schengen visa is valid for 90 days within 180 days. Often, this rule becomes overcomplicated, and visitors are unclear whether they’ve spent their 90 days or not, which is why it’s important to keep track of the days you’ve spent in the Schengen zone.
What Is the 90/180 Day Rule?
The 90/180-day rule is a Schengen policy that dictates that non-EU citizens cannot spend more than 90 days within 180 days in the Schengen area. This rule exists to monitor short-stay visitors and to make sure that no one overstays in the Schengen countries and ends up staying illegally.
90/180 Rule Calculator
Using the Schengen Short-Stay Visa Calculator
Sometimes calculating this period on your own can be very confusing, which is why you can use the Schengen short-stay calculator as follows:
- Enter your entry and exit dates. The calculator tool has two separate entry points where you can type your entry date into the Schengen area and your exit date. So, the correct date you entered and left the Schengen zone. If you have entered the area more than once, you will find a plus sign on the bottom left-hand corner of the calculator tool so you can add your other entries.
- Click on the calculator button. On the bottom left-hand corner of the calculator tool— next to the plus sign— you will see the calculator button. Once you’ve finished entering your entry and exit data, click on the calculator button and wait for the tool to do its job.
- Your remaining days are displayed on the screen. After the calculator has finished working out your information, it will display the number of days you have stayed and the final date until you’re allowed to stay in the Schengen area— if you still have remaining days left.
Please note that this calculator is only a guide in helping you calculate your visa validity. It does not permit you to extend your stay in the Schengen area.
Who Does the 90/180 Day Rule Affect?
The 90/180-day rule affects those non-EU citizens who can enter the Schengen area without a visa and those with a valid multiple entry Schengen visa. So, this rule also includes nationals of those countries who are eligible for ETIAS once it’s launched later in 2023.
Can Everyone Use the Schengen Calculator?
You can’t put to use the calculator if your visa has been issued for less than 90 days. Please check the visa sticker affixed to your passport; you will find the validity period of your visa stamped there— if you’re still unsure how long you can stay, then contact the embassy or consulate where you applied for your Schengen visa.
How Does the 90/180 Day Rule Work?
The 90-day part of the rule is fairly simple— you’re only allowed to stay in the Schengen Area for 90 days from when you enter. So, let’s say you entered the Schengen zone on January 1st of 2022; you’re allowed to stay for only 90 days from that date until 31 March 2022. The same logic applies to any calendar year, as long as you count your 90 days correctly.
The 180-day portion of the rule is the most confusing for most visitors, and many get it wrong, resulting in them overstaying. The 180 days are calculated as a rolling period which you can count backwards from your entry or exit date in the Schengen. Basically, count back 180 days and see how many of those days you’ve spent in the Schengen zone; if you’re over 90 days, you’ve broken the 90/180-day rule.
Example of the 90/180 Day Calculation Rule
You receive a multiple entry Schengen visa valid for a year (January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022). You travel to the Schengen Zone on these dates:
- January 10, 2022 to January 20, 2022 – 10 days in the Schengen Zone
- March 1, 2022 to March 30, 2022 – another 30 days in the Schengen Zone (40 days in total over the last 180 days).
- May 1, 2022 to June 9, 2022 – another 40 days in the Schengen Zone (80 days in total over the last 180 days).
On June 10, you only have 10 “leftover” days to spend in the Schengen Area because if you count back 180 days, you have stayed in Schengen for 80 days.
But, on June 30, 2022, you have 20 days to spend in Schengen. This is because the your 180-day period has moved forward, so the days you spent in Schengen from January 10 to January 20 no longer count.
Do I Have to Stay for 90 Consecutive Days?
No, you can stay for a few days, then leave the Schengen area and enter again, as long as you don’t overstay 90 days within a 180-day period. However, if you stay for 90 days consecutively, you can’t enter the Schengen area again until 90 days have passed.
Do I Need to Reapply for a Schengen Visa When I Can Visit Schengen Again?
If your visa is still valid, you don’t need to re-apply for a Schengen visa. However, you need to keep in mind the following things:
- If you’ve used your 90 days consecutively, i.e., spend a total of 90 days from the moment you entered the Schengen area within the zone within a 180-day period— you need to wait another 90 days before you can re-enter.
- If you haven’t used your 90 days completely within a 180-day period, you can re-enter the Schengen zone and stay for the remaining days without applying for another visa as long as it is still valid.
Can I Stay in Europe for 6 Months?
You cannot stay in Europe for six months if your Schengen visa is valid for only 90 days. You can stay up to 90 days within a 180-day period, which people consider a “six-month” period, but your visa is still valid for only 90 days. You will need a long-stay visa or residence permit to stay in Europe for more than six months.
What Happens When I’ve Used up My 90 Days?
If you’ve used your 90 days within the permissible 180-day period, you must leave the Schengen area. You can usually re-enter the zone once another 90 days have passed and your 180-day period has “reset.”
What Are the Penalties for Overstaying?
Some of the most common penalties that result from overstaying in the Schengen area include:
- Immediate deportation.
- Possible ban from the Schengen area.
This is why it’s important to know how the 90/180 days rule functions to avoid unintentional overstays.
Do I Need to Follow the 90/180 Day Rule in all European Countries?
The 90/180-day rule does not apply to Ireland and the following countries that have yet to join the Schengen agreement:
Will the 90/180 Day Rule Change?
There are currently no plans to change the 90/180-day rule. The rule this moment was put into effect in April of 2013, and it replaced the previous definitions of a “short-stay” of three months within a six-month period in the Schengen zone. This was done to create a more definite timeframe for visitors and make it easier to track the allowed period of stay for foreigners.