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Schengen Visa Question - Student Visa / Visitor Visa

My daughter is off to France for a semester in less than a month (her studies are for about 4 months). She applied to the French embassy for a student visa for 6 months, providing proof of the date she flies into Paris and out of Turkey (we live in Australia).

The French embassy in Sydney issued her visa. The date of entry is the date she flies into Paris. However, the end date of her visa is 2 weeks after her course ends, but 6 weeks short of the date she flies back to Australia.

The French embassy website states that for visa errors (including incorrect dates): (a) do not call the embassy as visa issues are not discussed on the phone; (b) you cannot come to the embassy without an appointment, and these are not given for student visas; and (c) all dealings with the embassy needs to be done by email, and you must only email them ONCE only (more than one email will mean your question is not replied to). The problem is that the embassy does not respond to emails – 3 weeks and no response.

The rest of the family have booked (and paid for) flights to join her in France for 2 weeks (hopefully Brittany and Loire Valley) and then Turkey for 2 weeks. We are due to arrive in Paris 2 weeks after her student visa expires. (We did know at time of booking that this was going to be an issue.)

So we seem to have few options. The obvious solution is to abandon plans for travel in France and either go to UK or travel in somewhere like Croatia, and then on to Turkey. In other words, limit our travel outside the Schengen zone.

Now someone has suggested that she can in fact remain in (return to from say London?) the Schengen area for a further 90 days as a tourist (i.e. without a visa). I have tried to look into this on the web, and whilst I am finding conflicting answers, things are really hazy. (All these problems could be avoided if the French embassy would just respond to our email).

My questions are:

  1. Is this possible, and if so, where do I get something concrete (proof) in case we run into an immigration official who may not have the same view.

  2. If it is possible, do the 90 days include ALL Schengen counties, or would France be specifically excluded (I have seen some things on the web that suggest this may be the case).

If anybody else has had a similar experience, or knows the Schengen rules, your input would be most appreciated.

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    I assume you are all Australian citizens? – Gala Sep 2 '15 at 9:21
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Assuming she is an Australian citizen, it is indeed possible for your daughter to stay for up to 90 days in the Schengen area, including France, after the expiration of her student visa.

You can refer to this question on the travel website for a reference to the applicable regulation and first-hand experience from people who did exactly this without issues. You will see that some questions on the travel website deal with working holiday visas or work visas but a student visa, even temporary, is treated in exactly the same way in this respect. Because they are defined in an EU regulation, the rules are also identical across the whole Schengen area.

I don't expect you will need it but you could print an extract from the relevant regulation and take it with you if you are concerned that border guards might make some trouble.

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