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Situation: I'm a U.S. citizen who studied abroad in France for a year using the type D long stay visa.

While studying in France on my visa, I traveled to other Schengen countries for around 90 days total during the final part of my visa duration. However, my passport was not stamped throughout my travels within the Schengen zone.

Now my visa is expired, and I am back in the States.

Do I have to wait 180 days before traveling back at all to the Schengen zone since I spent my 90 days already in other Schengen countries while on my visa? For example, let's say I want to visit as a tourist for 3 weeks.

Thank you!

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Does the time spent in OTHER Schengen countries on a D visa count towards the 90 tourist days?

Yes. In theory, if you spent the last 90 days of your French D visa in the Schengen area, but not in France, then you must wait 90 days (not 180) before reentering the Schengen area under the "short-stay" rules. Any day of the last 90 that you spent entirely in France, however, reduces the theoretical wait time correspondingly.

I say "theoretical" because there's no systematic enforcement of this rule. When you reenter the Schengen area, there is not generally going to be any way for the border officer to know whether you spent any time in other Schengen countries. The rule exists mainly so it can be enforced in unusual cases, such as when someone comes to the attention of the police for other reasons.

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