For the next couple years, my family and I are planning on traveling all through Europe with our camper. I am a Croatian (and US) citizen, as well as my kids. My husband is a US citizen with Croatian residency. Will the 90/180 Schengen rule apply to us? We will travel to each country in the Europe but will never stay longer than 3 months in each one. Thanks.

1 Answer 1


The 90/180 rule does not apply because your husband is a beneficiary of the free movement directive (2004/38/EC) under its article 3 when he travels with you (or to join you). He therefore enjoys the right of entry and the right of residence of up to three months outlined in articles 5 and 6. The only documentary requirement is to have a valid passport.

This means, among other things, that your husband is (perhaps surprisingly) not a "third-country national" for the purpose of border control when he is traveling with you. See the Schengen Borders Code at paragraphs 5(a) and 6 of Article 2:

  1. ‘persons enjoying the right of free movement under Union law’ means:

    (a) Union citizens within the meaning of Article 20(1) TFEU, and third-country nationals who are members of the family of a Union citizen exercising his or her right to free movement to whom Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council ( 1 ) applies;

    (b) ...

  2. ‘third-country national’ means any person who is not a Union citizen within the meaning of Article 20(1) TFEU and who is not covered by point 5 of this Article;

(Another consequence of the Schengen Borders Code is that you can use the "EU passports" lane together at Schengen border crossings; see Article 10(2), where those lanes are designated for "persons enjoying the right of free movement under Union law" rather than actual EU passport holders.)

  • Thank you for your response. I am having a hard time getting a clear answer from Europa.eu. The last time I asked this question they responded with the statement below. I find it strange they used the word "seems". Here is their response to me: "Based on the information in your message, it seems that your husband would still have to adhere to the 90 days in any 180 days rule even if he may not need a visa as he is from a visa waiver country. You can find general information here: europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-family/…"
    – Umarlene
    Jan 23, 2019 at 13:38
  • @Umarlene yes. We've had someone else (perhaps on Travel) post similar communication from Your Europe Advice, and I have got a thorough message from them that says as much, too. But it is clearly wrong as a matter of law, and I have been looking for some time to write to them again with a thorough debunking of their assertion. I'll try to get to it this week.
    – phoog
    Jan 23, 2019 at 15:50
  • @Umarlene among other things, they advised the US spouse to get a national visa from the country where she would be when the 90 days expire, regardless of the fact that this country has no national visa for which she would qualify.
    – phoog
    Jan 23, 2019 at 16:26

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