timsinc Sinclair

Brexit with now Schengen rules and of course Covid are reshaping our
lives in every way. Down to such as where can we even find a pitch in
coming crowded days.

Locked up in lockdowns gives one time to reflect. In doing so, I've
decided to pull the plug on full-timing after three years. Mind you,
chasing bricks 'n mortar living involves equal Schengen-like
navigation! Whatever wherever, a camper will be on my drive. Ninety
days enough for me to escape south from our worst winter months.


On 15/03/2021, Carol Weaver <> wrote:
Friends have spent the weekend trying to get their heads around the new (?)
Schengen rule of 90/180 in Europe

They themselves are full timers in their 5th year so more important for
them. However it impacts on our normal twice annual trips for normally 8
weeks each at our chosen dates. As our 112days all fall within the 180
days. So need some looking at

I thought you might also like to read it


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Carol Weaver <>
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2021 at 18:33
To: <>
Cc: <>

share it

Mention the word Schengen to most people and it will be received with a
mixture of anger and frustration. We’ve been trying to come to terms with
our travel restriction for a few years, although on 1 January 2021 it
became real. Irrespective of your Brexit opinions it is here to stay and
Schengen rules now apply to us if we want to cross into Europe.

We have decided to put pen to paper after seeing far too much confusion on
our *Motoroamers’ Chat Room
<>* in particular. It’s odd,
I so thought we had ‘got it’ although one particular post challenged my
thinking and got me into a right old panic. So we had two days doing more
research, looking for blogs and trying to get clarity. Myles even built a
spreadsheet so he could get it clear in his own mind. The one thing that I
noticed was there was little by way of blogs relevant to motorhomers
looking to extend their stays in Europe. So the culmination of our tears,
tantrums and stress is this blog with the specific intention of providing
information for those of us who want to do the Schengen Shuffle without
risking getting a fine.

We realise that it’s a bit of a risk going public as you are so open to
criticism although we wouldn’t do it unless we were totally comfortable in
our information. So we offer our research, explanations and presentation in
an attempt to help you. With examples of how trips might look, we want to
give you knowledge and confidence in the Schengen processes. Although
please we ask you to do your own calculations relevant to your trips. This
blog is just to get us all clear on what we can and can’t do and all the
terminology that seems to set out to confuse and get us tearing out our

We also acknowledge that although Schengen is a reality for us right now
sat in 2021, because of Covid travel restrictions have created a double
whammy for us. So few of us as yet have been able to put all this into
action. Please refer to the examples as hypothetical as we are currently
not allowed to travel anywhere at the moment. (@March/2021). This is how
the blog will shape up.
*Table of Contents* hide

What is Schengen and what does it mean for us as motorhomers?
Schengen Terminology made simple
Schengen/Non Schengen Map
Schengen Shuffle Scenarios
Easy Schengen Trip – Out for 90 and back for 90
Schengen Shuffle – Travelling for 11 months out of UK
Schengen Allowance and Date Calculators
Schengen Top Tips

*What is Schengen and what does it mean for us as motorhomers?*
Schengen is the term used to describe the treaty that lead to a
passport-free zone that currently covers 26 countries across the European
continent. It was created on June 14 1985 resulting in individual countries
ending border controls between members. The vision was to build ‘a Europe
without borders’ creating a concept of free-movement. Five years later the
Schengen agreement was implemented although in reality the policies and
rules didn’t come into force until 26 March 1995. After this the Schengen
agreement grew with more countries joining the original five members. And
now 26 countries are part of the Schengen Area.

The essence of Schengen is that within the continent it abolishes border
controls and the need for passports to cross from one country into another.
This of course is favourable for those countries within the Schengen club.
For all other countries outside of the Area, restrictions are imposed to
the amount we can travel visa-free through the member countries. This has
implications for us as we have now left the EU meaning we become a third
nation country. We will be restricted to a 90 day limit in any 180 days.
More on this shortly. At borders after leaving the UK, our passage into
Schengen will be recorded either electronically and/or via a stamp on our
Passport. It means that we will need to plan our trips more carefully to
ensure that we don’t overstay our visit to the Schengen. At the moment we
don’t have any data to state what the fines would be for exceeding our
limit although we need to expect some sort of penalty. It is reported that
different countries impose different fines and that won’t become clear for
us until we are once again allowed to travel outside of the UK.

Currently 62 countries, including the UK can visit the Schengen zone for
business or travel reasons without the requirement of a visa. In order for
the Schengen countries to control security there is an electronic
application called an *ETIAS <>*
<>planned for launch by end of 2022.
This ETIAS enables citizens of third countries such as UK to enter Schengen
without the need for a visa. So the good news is that we are visa-exempt
for entering the Schengen area for up to 90 days. We will provide more
information on this when implementation dates are announced. Although for
the time being no ETIAS is required for our entry into Schengen.
*Schengen Terminology made simple*
*Schengen country *– Is a country who has signed up to the Schengen
Agreement and thereby allowing freedom of movement across their borders.
Visiting each of these countries means that we can only spend 90 days in
each rolling 180 day period.

*Non-EU Schengen country* – There are members of Schengen who are not part
of the EU such as Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein although
have for economic reasons decided to sign up to the Schengen Agreement.

*Non Schengen country* – There are *three* types of non Schengen countries.
The first is Ireland who has opted out of being in Schengen meaning that we
can visit without needing a passport or it affecting our 90 day allowance.
The second are countries who are part of Europe although who are not part
of Schengen such as Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Russia and
Ukraine. The third are countries outside of Europe that we are able to
access for up to 90 days that include Turkey, Cyprus and Morocco.

*Pending Schengen countries* – It’s important to set these countries apart
from other non-Schengen countries as their membership is currently pending
and under review. So Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia are expected to join at
some point in the future, although for now we are able to travel around
these countries for up to 90 days, without it affecting our Schengen

*Microstate de facto principalities* – Aside of all these categories there
are also four microstates that are principalities with a small population
and few natural resources that whilst in Europe are not in Schengen. They
are known as de facto countries and we are able to visit these countries
without it affecting our allowance. They are San Marino, Vatican City,
Andorra and Monaco.

*Third Nation* – This is the description used for countries that are
outside of the EU. UK is now recognised as a third country following our
exit from Europe on 1/1/21.

*ETIAS* – This is the European Travel Information and Authorisation System.
Similar to the system required to enter US, at the back end of 2022 it is
expected that we will have to register an Etias prior to entering the
Schengen zone. It will cost around €7 per application.

*Rolling 180 days* – This is one of the key elements of Schengen that is
most misunderstood and yet so critical to our plans to Schengen Shuffle.
Schengen is like an escalator; always moving, rolling. So not like a
calendar where the months are static. The 180 days will move according to
when you want to enter and exit from the area and it is a counting back
exercise from those dates. I will talk more about this, although see your
available time as moving and not static and this will ease your planning
pain immensely.

*Schengen entry and exit points* – These dates are really important to us
in getting our allowance accurate. Your *entry date* is the day you *leave*
UK (or a non Schengen country) and make your journey to a Schengen country
and this counts as *DAY 1* of your 90 days. Even if you leave the UK at
6.00pm at night, you must still count this as 1 day in Schengen,
irrespective of the hours you have stepped onto Schengen soil. Your *exit
date* is the day leave Schengen and move outside of the zone, either
returning back to the UK or moving into a non Schengen country. This is
also counted as *1 DAY,* irrespective of the time you leave the Schengen

*Schengen allowance* – This is the second key element that we have to get
our heads around. Understanding how our allowance works and more
importantly how to calculate days spent in the zone is vital, to both your
sanity and your noiseless navigation around Europe. So here we go. We have
90 days available within any 180 day period – as we know from above. We
also know that this 180 day period is a moving beast and not static. So
every time we enter and exit Schengen we must look behind us to see how
many days we have already used up. There are two ways to look at this;

*You want to visit Schengen although have no pre-determined duration for
your trip at this point* – you just want to go for as long as possible and
want to establish how long that might be. So you take your *entry* point to
Schengen, so let’s say 17 May 2021 and now work backwards 180 days, which
takes you to 18 November 2021. *How many days have you already had in
Schengen and therefore how many can you now use for your trip?*

*You have a specific period of time you want to visit Schengen, so let’s
say 60 days*. Now you know both your *entry* date and *exit* date. Using
the same example as above, this means that you want to leave the UK on 17
May and leave Schengen on 16 July 2021. Use your exit date and count back
180 days which takes you to 17 January 2021. Now you can see how much of
your 90 day allowance you will have used including this trip and therefore
see if being away for 60 days is achievable given your allowance.

*Schengen/Non Schengen Map*
Understanding which countries we can and cannot visit is imperative to us
as we plan our European road-trips. So hopefully this visual map will help
to grasp how to Schengen shuffle.

There are a few points to make on this map; the originator of the map
differentiate Andorra, San Marino, Monaco or the Vatican City I guess
because they were too small to annotate. So whilst these for all intents
and purposes look like they belong to the Schengen area – they don’t. We
can travel here Schengen free and save some days from our allowance. So for
skiers this might make Andorra a strong possibility.

Ok, so as you will see from this map, it clearly shows those areas that are
defined by the Schengen agreement and allows us to plan where we can and
can’t go travel to. So first of all those *countries that are purple* are
currently in the Schengen zone and means that we are restricted to 90 days
in our rolling 180 days and so careful planning is required here to avoid
any penalties for overstaying our welcome. More on this later.

*The blue countries* are those who are not in Europe although for economic
reasons have decided that being part of the Schengen Agreement is important
for their countries. So travel here impacts on our Schengen allowance and
must be treated in the same way as the purple countries.

*The green areas*; the first is Ireland which has opted out of Schengen and
the second are those countries currently with their application to Schengen
pending. So for now we can travel here *without* having to use our Schengen
allowance. Which is great news.

And finally* the grey countries *are those that are not part of Schengen
and are known as Third Nations. So in theory we can travel here without our
Schengen allowance being affected. Clearly we will have unlimited travel
through UK and Northern Ireland whilst a trip to Turkey and Morocco will be
allowed for up to 90 days. So this has some terrific opportunities for
those of us wanting to do the Schengen Shuffle especially during the

*Schengen Shuffle Scenarios*
I think to really bring Schengen to life in a clear and non-scary way, we
need to create some scenarios for you that will help you work out how your
trips might look. So below we illustrate some options and how to calculate
the days so you can dance your way around Europe without risking a Schengen
penalty. For each of these scenarios, let’s assume that because of
lockdown, none of us have been into the Schengen zone because of our
lockdown periods.
*Easy Schengen Trip – Out for 90 and back for 90*
The easiest Schengen scenario is where you simply decide to leave the UK
and head to Europe for up to 90 days and then come back to the UK for 90
days and then head out again for another 90 day block. There is little
complication here as there is no Schengen Shuffling going on. You simply
leave the UK on 17 May 2021 and enjoy your Schengen countries for a full 90
days and then return on 14 August. That means that you can return to
Schengen again for 90 days on 13 November. This calculator image below
demonstrates this nicely.

*Schengen Shuffle – Travelling for 11 months out of UK *
Now we start to dance our way through Schengen and begin our shuffle. So
you want to spend most of your time in Europe and perhaps not too much time
in the UK. Given that most us need an annual MOT, coming back to the UK is
necessary, although with some careful planning you can be out of the UK for
up to 11 months. We have shown you an example of how to do this using a
trip down to Greece, over to Turkey and then back through Bulgaria and
Romania. You could of course map the same sort of trip to include Morocco
or Croatia (until the latter’s membership is approved.)

You leave on 17 May and decide on just 80 days in Schengen so that you have
a 10 day buffer should you need to get back to the UK in an emergency.
(Bear in mind that if you did 90 in Schengen and then went to Turkey and
something happened back home then you have no days available in your
allowance to return to the UK. You would have to leave your van in Turkey
and fly back. So just as an insurance policy, it is worth having a little
buffer period if your circumstances back in the UK drive it.)

On 4 August you cross into Turkey and stay for up to 90 days. After which
you return to Greece and take two days to travel to Bulgaria where with
Romania you can tour for 90 days per country if you wish. For the purposes
of our exercise I have shown 90 days in total for the two countries leaving
Romania for Hungary where we re-enter the Schengen on 1 February. We now
have a totally of 88 days to return to the UK allowing us to meander
through Austria, Germany and France.

To illustrate this one further step; if you look at each of your exit dates
and go back 180 days you can calculate how many days you have spent in
Schengen. This is how it looks in practice;

- *4 August 2021 exit date* – go back 180 days takes you to *5 February
2021*. You have no Schengen allowance to consider in this period.
- Your next Schengen entry and exit points are 2 and 3 November 2021. Go
back from *3 November 2021*180 days takes you to *7 May 2021*. During
this period (which remember is a rolling 180 day period) you have used
days, so you have 10 left.
- Your next entry and exit points are 1 Feb and 29 April 2022. So again
from your *29 April* date go back 180 days, which takes you to *31
October 2021* where you have used 2 days, therefore your planned 88 days
can be used to return back to the UK.

There are obviously lots of other options we could illustrate, although
hopefully seeing how we could have 11 months out of the UK should give you
some confidence to begin planning your own trips. The bottom line to
remember is that if you shuffle your way from Schengen into Romania,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Morocco or Turkey, then you can have an extended trip
out of the UK and still get back in time for your MOT. Obviously in the
examples that we have given above, it doesn’t take into account weather
conditions that might influence your decisions and the dates are just
illustrative. Also as a disclaimer, we must stress that it is vital for you
to do your own calculations and planning to ensure that the trip you decide
upon is doable without penalty.
*Schengen Allowance and Date Calculators *
As we have navigated our way around this topic both for our own trips
abroad and also for this blog, we have come across some great tools that
will keep you sane, safe and in allowance, which we profile here.

The first essential tool is the *Visa Calculator.
<> *This is our preferred calculator tool as it
is clearer and easier to use. The calculator allows you to input your entry
and exit date to Schengen and then it calculates when you must have left
the area to prevent penalties. It also allows you to map in multiple trips,
which is great. So no paper calculations are needed as in our experience
they can lead to mis-planning. We strongly urge you to if not plan with
this tool at the very least use it to check your predictions.

The second tool we found incredibly helpful is the *Date Calculator.
<>* Trying to work out what 180 days back can
be tricky even using your Phone’s calendar. So make life simple and use
this site instead. It allows you to put in a date and then either add or
subtract the desired number of days. It is terrific and makes life simpler,
quicker and far less stressful than the classic ’30 days has September,
April, June and November’.

I have saved both of these websites on my phone and popped them into a
folder called Schengen so that I have easy access to them. You can do this
too by going into their websites and tapping the three horizontal lines on
the bottom right of your screen. Then you press *Add page to* and you can
put it on your home screen.

*Schengen Top Tips*
This final section is more of a hypothetic section given that at the time
of writing, we have not been able to travel and put our knowledge into
practise. That said I think for now, there are some planning tips that we
can offer you to help you navigate your Schengen Shuffle more easily.

1. Perhaps the flexibility of travel may be jaded by Schengen with
intuitive right turns limited under the restrictions. Although there is
reason why, certainly for now, we shouldn’t be able to enjoy full and
travels through Europe. We just need to plan a little more precisely
we have in the past. Travel is still possible and so keep your minds
positive and upbeat.
2. Avoid going to the edge of your allowance. 90 days might be alluring,
although in any plans we need to cater for the unforeseen such as family
crises, illness, breakdowns and incidents and our Schengen Shuffling is
different. Make sure you give yourself some scope for emergencies or
that you hadn’t catered for. Don’t risk getting penalties for having to
overstay because of that breakdown that cost you five days you hadn’t
allowed for in your plans.
3. Make sure if you visit Turkey and *Morocco
will need to get additional insurance. We have recently found out that
Comfort have suspended their Morocco and Turkey cover. So sadly unless
Aviva’s policy changes, we will be leaving for Saga in December. Make
that you provide the specific dates to your insurers of your stay in
two countries so that they can send you the Green Card that is a
requirement. For more information on Morocco, check out our free *Ebook

gives you more essential information about your entry to this exciting
African country.
4. Make sure that your passports have at least 6 months left on them
otherwise you may be prevented from travelling outside of the UK. Also
sure that you get a stamp from the Border Control to show your entry and
exit points. Whilst it should all be automated, for us this is still so
new, a stamp will prevent any disputes along the line.
5. When you use the calculator to plan your trips, especially if they
are multiple, take a screen shot and save it on your phone so if there
again any dispute you can demonstrate your dates using the calculator.
6. Remember when travelling to the continent there are restrictions on
the food you are allowed and prohibited to bring in. Check this *website

the specifics otherwise you risk these items being confiscated.
7. If you travel with pets, you should look to explore getting an EU Pet
Passport otherwise you will be restricted to just 4 months in Schengen
non Schengen countries using the UK’s Pet Passport scheme.
8. Keep your eyes open for Visa Extension information from each Schengen
country. Whilst there are visas that you can apply for, for work
there are few that cover tourism extensions. This may change as Covid
restrictions are lifted and countries want to encourage UK travellers
into their countries. Although at the time of writing there are no
immediate plans for this to be offered.

So this brings us to the end of our Schengen Shuffle guide. We hope that is
has helped demystify some of the terms used and the confusions that have
been building around what we can and can’t do. The bottom line that travel
is still possible and more than perhaps we thought possible. So we hope
that this will all feel hopeful and positive for you.

If you have any questions please drop us an email at and we will endeavour to answer them.

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