Overstaying The 90-Day Limit In Italy

Overstaying The 90-Day Limit In Italy

Travellers visiting Italy from a non-EU country have 90 days to explore the country unless they have a visa.

The 90-day rule has long applied to non-EU nationals which now includes British nationals since the UK exited the EU.

Non-EU nationals can stay for 90 days out of every 180 in the EU without needing a visa or a residency permit. This can be in the form of one long stay or several short stays.

The limit is for time spent within the EU which means visitors need to leave the Bloc altogether and go to a non-EU country.

This does not apply to people who live in Italy and have a residency card. 

If you want to stay longer than 90 days, you will need to get a visa. You must apply for a visa from your home country prior to your trip.  One cannot come to Italy and then apply for a visa in order to extend their 90-day stay.

Consequences For Overstaying

If you spend more than 90 days in the EU or Schengen zone without a visa or residency permit then you are officially an overstayer.

With the implementation of EU's Entry/Exit System next year, scanning of all passports on entry/exit of the EU makes it pretty easy to spot overstayers.

The EU lists a range of possible penalties although in practice some countries are stricter than others.

People who simply stay in an EU country without securing residency become undocumented immigrants. Within the system, anyone who overstays can be subject to the following penalties:

Deportation – EU countries are within their rights to either imprison you and deport you, or give you a certain number of days to leave. In practice, deportation is rare for people who aren’t working or claiming benefits, they are more likely to be advised of the situation and told to leave as soon as possible.

Fines – fines can be levied in addition to other penalties and vary per country. In Italy, those caught overstaying their visa on Italian soil theoretically face both an expulsion order and a fine of between €5,000 and €10,000. 

Entry Ban – countries can impose a complete ban on re-entry, usually for three years although it can be longer. A complete ban is usually only put in place for people who have overstayed for a significant amount of time.

Difficulties Returning To The Schengen Area – even if you avoid all of the above penalties, the overstay alert on your passport will make it more difficult for you to return to the EU, and this applies to any EU or Schengen zone country.  People who have this alert on their passport are likely to face extended checks at the border and may even be turned back. You will also likely encounter difficulties if you later apply for a visa or residency.

How Is Italy Enforcing 90 Day Limit

Among EU countries Italy has a reputation for being among the less strict, and deportations are rare for people who are not working or claiming benefits, unless they have been in Italy for many years without the correct papers.

If it’s a question of simply over-staying by a few weeks it’s very unlikely that police will come to your home and deport you.

Passports are stamped and scanned on entry, which means that border officials can see how long you have been in the country and if you overstay your welcome then you are likely to be flagged as an overstayer.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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