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The 90/180-Day Rule for Non-EEA Nationals Traveling in the Schengen Area

Posted on May 7th, 2024

by Adriana ruiz

The Schengen Area, comprising 26 European countries, is known for its seamless borders and visa-free travel. However, for non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals, there are specific rules regarding the duration of stay. One of the most important regulations is the 90/180-day rule.

The Schengen Area

The Schengen Area, comprising most EU nations, excludes Cyprus and Ireland. On March 31, 2024, Bulgaria and Romania attained membership, marking the latest additions. This accession means individuals crossing internal air and sea borders face no scrutiny. Notably, non-EU nations like Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein have also integrated into the Schengen Area.

Understanding the Rule

What Is the 90/180-Day Rule?

◦ The 90/180-day rule stipulates that non-EEA nationals can stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days within any 180-day period.
◦ This means that travelers must keep track of their days spent in the Schengen countries to avoid overstaying.

How Does It Work?
◦ The clock starts ticking from the day you first enter the Schengen Area.
◦ Within any rolling window of 180 days, you can spend up to 90 days in total.
◦The 180-day period is not fixed; it shifts as each day passes.

The Schengen 90/180-Day Rule Explained:
◦ Staying for 90 days: As soon as you enter any country within the Schengen area, your 90-day clock starts. This counts for every country in the zone. For example, if you spend 30 days in Germany, then 30 days in France, and 30 days in Austria, you’ve spent 90 days in the Schengen zone. Your 90-day count stops the moment you leave the area.
◦ Spending your 90 days within 180 days: The 90 days you are allowed to spend in the Schengen zone are eligible for 180 days. This period is commonly called a “rolling timeframe” because it’s constantly moving—each day you spend in Schengen advances your 180-day period. This period is counted backward from your most recent entry or exit dates. For instance, if you enter the Schengen area on July 1, 2022, you count backward for 180 days from this date and calculate how many days you have spent in the Schengen area during these 180 days.

Practical Tips

Keep a Calendar:
◦ Maintain a record of your travel dates to ensure compliance with the rule.
◦ Use online calculators or apps to track your days in the Schengen Area.

Recommended Tools:
Schengen VisaInfo Calculator: This online calculator allows you to input your entry and exit dates, and it precisely calculates your stay within the Schengen Area. It shows your total days already stayed and the remaining days for the current 180-day timeframe. Remember that this calculator is a helpful tool but does not constitute a right to stay for a period resulting from its calculation.
Ninety180: A user-friendly tool that performs the “rolling-window” calculation for you, helping you optimize your travel dates to make the most of your 90 in 180-day allowance3.
Schengen Simple: Another calculator that maximizes your stays within the 90/180 rule. It instantly calculates your 90/180 travel allowance for every day in your calendar.

Exit and Reentry:
◦ Leaving the Schengen Area and reentering does not reset the clock.
◦ The 180-day period continues from your first entry.

Plan Ahead:
◦ If you need to stay longer, consider applying for a national visa or residence permit in a specific Schengen country.

Remember that violating the 90/180-day rule can result in fines, deportation, or future travel restrictions.


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