Is my understanding is for Schengen Visa correct? My original plan was to spend 3 months in Nice, France followed by a month in Italy. Followed by travel to Poland and Russia and lastly spend a month in Paris. In reading the visa requirements it is my understanding that the only way I can do this type of travel is to apply for a French Visa, live in France France for 6 to 8 months and travel to the other countries from France. Is this correct? I am a USA citizen so can stay in france for 90 days without a Visa per a 6 month period. Appreciate any information.
Yep spot on. The schengen Visa lasts for 90 days within a 180 day period. Once you enter the EU your schengen clock starts counting down. After 180 days since your first arrival, it resets and you get another 180 days. Some countries such as Croatia and others further west are NOT included in the Schengen zone. So your 90 days won't deplete by visiting those countries. However you can't cross the border for a day and then return to the EU and expect you 90 days to reset, because remember, it is within that 180 day window since your initial entry. Northern countries extremely strict with time limit (Germany, Switzerland, France, Czech) southern not so much (Spain, Greece, Italy) Greece may be thrown out of Schengen zone soon too. It's much more strict when you stay in one spot because they feel as though you are taking work away from their citizens. If your jumping from country to country it's not as badly examined. I know two girls who were backpacking and outstayed it by a month. When they got to the airport they had no idea about the schengen zone and got off scot free, no-one said a word to them. almost 8 years ago